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ATO changes ABN registration process

ATO ABN registration

The ATO has changed the ABN registration process for SMSFs, requiring certain information to be provided through different channels.

The ATO has made changes to the Australian business number (ABN) registration process for SMSFs, removing the ability to include certain details in an application that are required to operate a fund and allow it to receive rollovers.

In an update on its website, the ATO stated it had removed the ability to add SMSF bank account details to the online and paper application for an ABN registration for a fund.

“New SMSFs will now need to provide us with their bank account details after they have registered through [either] their registered tax agent, Online Services for Business or calling us [on the ATO’s superannuation inquiries number],” the regulator said.

“This is another step we have taken to reduce the risk of fraud in the super system to help protect your retirement savings.

“If you are a new SMSF or a tax agent who sets up SMSFs on behalf of your clients, you need to ensure you notify us of the SMSF’s bank account details prior to members requesting a rollover. If you don’t, the rollover cannot be processed.

“You also need to ensure you have registered for an electronic service address and provided these details to us before your member requests a rollover, otherwise you will experience delays.”

In a related update, the ATO outlined the steps to be completed before registering a fund and applying for an ABN, noting incorrect details were the most common errors seen when establishing a new fund.

“Registering your SMSF isn’t the first step in setting up an SMSF. Before you register, you must already have considered appointing professionals to help you, chosen individual trustees or a corporate trustee, appointed trustees or directors of the corporate trustee, created a trust (including transferring an asset to the trust), checked that your fund is an Australian super fund and ensured the company can act as a corporate trustee,” it said.

“Once you have completed these steps, then you are ready to register. Obtaining an ABN is part of the registration process.

“Two common errors in applications to register an SMSF and get an ABN are the SMSF trust is not set up correctly before applying for an ABN, including setting aside an asset as the SMSF’s property, and the details of the members, trustees or directors of the corporate trustee are incorrect or incomplete.”

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