Auditing, Compliance, Documentation

ATO issues early audit reminder

SMSF auditor reminder

The ATO has reminded SMSFs of the need to appoint an auditor in the lead-up to lodging annual returns, noting practitioners may be busy during these peak periods.

The ATO has issued an early reminder for SMSF trustees to appoint an approved auditor to their fund prior to lodging their SMSF annual return (SAR), with some funds required to do the latter by the end of October.

In an update on its website, the regulator noted an SMSF auditor must be appointed no later than 45 days before the lodgement of the SAR, which should include the outcome of the audit.

“Your SMSF’s audit must be finalised before you lodge as you’ll need some information from the audit report to complete the SAR,” it stated.

“Your auditor will perform a financial and compliance audit of your SMSF’s operations before lodging.

“Remember, an audit is required even if no contributions or payments are made in the financial year.”

It noted correct auditor details must be provided in the SAR, the practitioner must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and their SMSF auditor number needs to be included in the annual return.

Following on from changes introduced in 2020, it also highlighted the need for an SMSF auditor to be independent, pointing funds towards a list of approved practitioners on the ASIC website.

“Auditors shouldn’t audit a fund where they hold any financial interest in, or where they have a close personal or business relationship with members or trustees, or work for a firm who provides your fund with other services, such as certain accounting services, tax, super or financial planning advice,” it said.

Newly registered SMSFs and those with overdue SARs for prior financial years that are self-preparing their return must lodge by 31 October, while all other self-preparing funds must do so by 28 February next year, which is also the lodgement date for SARs prepared by a tax agent.

“Approved SMSF auditors can be busy, so it’s a good idea to start this process early,” the ATO added.

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