Assistant Commissioner for SMSFs at the ATO, Dana Fleming, told delegates at the SMSF Summit in Brisbane last week that assurance activities to date have resulted in 98 referrals from the ATO to ASIC.
The ATO makes referrals to ASIC where it has concerns an auditor is not carrying out their duties appropriately, or is not a fit and proper person to be an SMSF auditor. It has recently updated guidance detailing how it determines whether a matter is fit for referral. You can access this new guidance here.
It has been in the five years since mandatory SMSF auditor registration was introduced, and independence continues to be a key focus of the ATO’s compliance activity with SMSF auditors.
“SMSF auditors must be independent, and also be seen to be free from bias, personal interest and association,” Ms Fleming said.
Auditor contravention reports (ACRs) form a critical part of the ATO’s risk rating system, making the integrity and quality of SMSF audits crucial.
About 10 per cent of ACRs fall into a high-risk category. They can include serious and repeated contraventions and no attempt by the trustee to rectify.
Earlier this year, the ATO said it will be visiting 300 SMSF audit firms in 2018 in an effort to seek assurance on key compliance requisites, including independence.