ATO, Compliance, Superannuation

ATO issues scam alert

Early superannuation release schemes

The ATO has continued to warn SMSF members of schemes and promoters that target their funds to engage in activities that breach superannuation laws.

The ATO has warned SMSF trustees and members to be aware of schemes targeting their funds, advising them to check if those promoting the scheme are licensed advisers.

As part of its warning, the regulator pointed to updated guidance it recently released highlighting schemes that use property investments and limited recourse borrowing arrangements to engage in illegal early release or tax avoidance schemes, as well as schemes that use illegal early release to purchase residential property for SMSF members.

“If you’ve been approached by someone who recommends you set up a SMSF or use your existing SMSF to participate in one of these schemes or a similar arrangement, you should check the ASIC financial register to make sure they have a financial licence,” it stated.

“If you’re in doubt, you should seek a second opinion from a licensed adviser who is independent from the scheme,” it said, adding anyone who had started to deal with a suspected promoter of an SMSF scheme should contact the ATO for help.

It warned SMSF members not to be tempted by ‘too-good-to-be-true’ schemes as penalties could apply for those breaching their obligations.

“You may risk losing some or all of your retirement savings and receive significant penalties if you enter into one of these schemes,” it said.

“You could also be disqualified as a trustee of your SMSF and may be required to wind up your fund.”

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