Wednesday, 24 April 2013

SMSFs – rules

Drumroll … this is the topic you’ve all been waiting for ... SMSF rules and regulations.  Who doesn’t love a good rule or two or ten?

Today, I’ll cover:
  • Who are the SMSF regulators
  • Your role as trustee
  • Key SMSF-related laws and rules
  • The consequences of non-compliance

SMSF regulators

The Australian super system is regulated by three key government agencies:
  • Australian Taxation Office (ATO) – administers the relevant super laws for SMSFs and works with you to help you meet your obligations
  • Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) – regulates financial services to protect consumers
  • Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) – regulates large super funds other than SMSFs, and assesses applications for the release of retirement benefits on compassionate grounds from SMSFs
The role of each regulator is outlined briefly below, courtesy of the ATO publication How your self-managed super fund is regulated (http://www.ato.gov.au/superfunds/content.aspx?menuid=0&doc=/content/00162377.htm&page=1&H1).

ATO

The ATO aims to help you understand your duties and responsibilities as a trustee under the law and make it as easy as possible for you to comply with the law, for the future benefit of the members of your fund.  The ATO does check compliance to safeguard your retirement income, but it does not evaluate your investment choices.  It is responsible for administering the super and income tax laws, but not for developing the law or related policy.