New legislation that empowers the tax office to hand out reformist penalties to self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) trustees who inadvertently break the law has been praised by an industry organisation.
The laws give the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) the option of using administrative penalties from July this year - such as forced education programs - to trustees who do not qualify for more severe punishment.
The changes mean the ATO has more flexibility in its penalty regime and does not have to default to disqualification or enforceable undertakings, according to the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA).
“Our organisation supported the concept of administrative penalties for SMSFs when they were first proposed by the previous Government responding to the Cooper Review, and we are pleased to see the Coalition Government push the legislation through Parliament,” SPAA CEO Andrea Slattery said.
“SPAA believes that the education direction, where the ATO can ask a trustee to undertake a specified course of education within a certain time frame, is a good solution for SMSF trustees that have inadvertently breached the superannuation laws because of a lack of understanding,” she added.