ATO assistant commissioner Dana Fleming said the Tax Office would be dealing with about 39,000 non-lodging SMSFs following its work with such funds last year.
“I can’t emphasise how seriously we take the lodgment obligation to lodge an SMSF's return annually – this provides us with the assurance that everything is on track and is the key way we have visibility or transparency in relation to the fund’s compliance with the superannuation laws,” said Ms Fleming at the SMSF Summit in Melbourne last week.
“Last year we undertook a review of what we call our persistent non-lodgers population which was about 49,000 who had two or more years of outstanding returns unlodged. By July this year, we had worked with them and about 45 per cent had either gotten back on track or have worked with us to exit the system because they felt the vehicle is no longer appropriate for them and this is often what the sign of non-lodgment is.
“We are continuing our focus for this financial year – we have a 39,000 population of non-lodgers to focus on which represents $15.5 billion assets under management.”
While 86 per cent of funds lodge on time, Ms Fleming said the ATO would continue its focus to ensure the integrity of the sector was upheld.
“We are starting with the key priority funds – those with high assets, those who are continuing to receive super guarantee contributions, those who have had audit contravention reports lodged with us or if they have never lodged a return and that’s a key flag for us of potential illegal early release,” said Ms Fleming.
“There are two things we pay really close attention to and that is the obligation to lodge on time and illegal early release.”
Accountants Daily understands that the ATO will not be utilising external collection agencies to undertake lodgment work for the SMSF sector. Last week, the ATO announced that external collection agencies would be employed for individuals who have overdue lodgment obligations.