A superannuation fund has been required to make good a member’s excess contributions tax and pay interest on the amount, after the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) found telephone advice provided by the fund led to her exceeding concessional contributions limits.
What is more the SCT has rejected a claim by the superannuation fund that the advice represented “general advice”.
An SCT determination (D18-19\084), handed down late last year, found that the superannuation fund needed to compensate the member because she had received misleading advice.
The determination said that the SCT “considers the Complainant has argued essentially, that because the Trustee’s representative advised her exactly how much she could contribute by way of non-concessional contributions, without exceeding the Contribution Cap, she was entitled to rely upon that advice”.
“That the advice was erroneous means that she is entitled to be compensated by the Trustee for the Excess Contribution Tax,” the determination said.
It said that while the superannuation fund had submitted that “information provided by phone consultants was of a general nature only and based on the relevant contribution limits at the time”, the SCT considered that “if the Trustee’s representative gave incorrect advice that was specific to the Complainant’s circumstances, and she relied upon it to her detriment, the Trustee is responsible for that failure”.
The SCT referred to telephone transcripts between the member and the telephone consultant and said it considered the consultant had given the complainant advice, taking into account her particular circumstances and that this represented personal advice.
The SCT ordered that the superannuation compensate the member for $16,275 plus interest payable at the fund’s cash rate from the data the member made her payment of Excess Contribution Tax to the Australian Taxation Office, 15 September, 2015.