ASIC made the announcement this afternoon, based on Mr Samarakoon serving jail time after pleading guilty to and being convicted of criminal offence.
The related offences include dealing with property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime, and attempting to obtain a financial advantage by deception.
Based on all these factors, ASIC concluded that Mr Samarakoon was not a fit and proper person to be an SMSF auditor.
You can read more about Mr Samarakoon’s case here.
More broadly, SMSF auditors are a focus area for both the ATO and ASIC.
Since SMSF auditor registration was mandated in 2013, independence has been a top compliance priority for both the ATO and ASIC.
“As co-regulators of SMSF auditors, both the ATO and ASIC consider the independence and competency of SMSF auditors, together with the quality of SMSF audits undertaken by registered SMSF auditors, paramount,” said Assistant Commissioner at the ATO Kasey Macfarlane in a recent address to tax professionals.
The ATO will be visiting 300 firms which provide SMSF audits in 2018 to “seek assurance” on items such as independence.
In the financial year to date, the ATO has now made 31 referrals to ASIC for concerns we’ve had over SMSF auditors, which is nine up from referrals made for all of the 2016-17 financial year.