Tax Office warning puts SMSF trustees on alert

TheAustralian Taxation Office(ATO) is threatening legal action against self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) which fail to comply.

Speaking at the recentResnik Communicationsself-managed superannuation fund conference in Sydney, the ATO’s Tony Keir said the ATO wants to see proper checks carried out on SMSFs and one area of particular concern was trust deeds.

The comments come at a time when a recent examination of SMFSs has revealed that 20 per cent are not properly audited and half had some audit problems.

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Also speaking at the conference wasINGFinancial Planning superannuation strategy manager Graeme Colley, who said the auditor must bring breaches to the attention of trustees, take action or notify the regulator, and if the breach is material, contact the ATO.

Keir’s comments coincide with those of tax commissioner Michael Carmody who told a recentCPA Australiaconference in Ballarat that the ATO would pursue criminal penalties against SMSF trustees for serious and deliberate abuse of tax concessions.

“Disqualification and removal of a trustee is an option, where that individual has contravened the law on more than one occasion or where the contravention is serious in nature,” he said.

Carmody said the ATO would no longer focus on education to ensure compliance, and would now put more emphasis on audits and enforcement.

Recent reports into the superannuation industry in general suggest that up to 42,000 employers may be failing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compulsory superannuation for their workers and 128 prosecutions are already underway.

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