ATO issues final warning to SMSF trustees

21 June 2005

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is making sure that the trustees of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) are left in no doubt about their obligations with respect to the ownership of assets.

The ATO has issued what it describes as a “final reminder” to SMSF trustees about keeping the benefits and other assets of their fund separate from personal assets.

The ATO’s warning comes ahead of what is expected to be a tougher enforcement approach in the new financial year and survey data indicating that the mixing of personal and fund assets has represented a problem area within the SMSF arena.

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The Tax Commissioner, Michael Carmody used a statement last week to point out that under the terms of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act, trustees are required to keep benefits and other assets of a fund separate from their personal assets and the assets held by employers who contribute to the fund.

He said the law was clear and that the requirement existed to ensure a fund’s assets were protected for retirement.

“Self-managed superannuation funds in breach of the separation of assets rule must move to rectify the breach by June 30 this year,” Carmody said.

He said the ATO was aware of instances where a fund’s assets had been seized in debt proceedings because its assets were not clearly identified as belonging to the fund.

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