Taxpayers Australia manager of superannuation products and services Reece Agland noted the ATO disqualified 585 SMSF trustees in 2014 and disqualified a further four this month for breaches of the SIS Act.
Mr Agland said that, by contrast, the number of disqualifications was less than 100 in 2010.
“It’s a clear indication that the ATO is taking [compliance] seriously and is taking action,” he said.
While Mr Agland said he expects to see a dent in the number of disqualifications this year, he also expects “a major rise in the number of other ATO actions taken” now that it has new penalty powers at hand.
“Early on, the ATO were about education for SMSF trustees; they’ve now done enough years of education and it’s time for them to get tough,” said Mr Agland.
“The ATO is going to give trustees less leeway than it did five years ago.”
Of late there has also been more “vigilance” in the courts with regard to SMSF trustees breaching the SIS Act, Mr Agland said.
The ATO also has access to much more information than it did previously, as well as sophisticated electronic means to find people’s assets and what names they are in, he said.
This will only increase when the ATO has completed the process of implementing standard business reporting (SBR).
“With SBR they’ll be able to get real-time data from people’s accounting systems so they’ll get information sooner and be able to act on it a lot quicker,” Mr Agland said.