Tuesday, 8 October, marked 20 years the ATO has spent as the SMSF regulator, during which time it has worked to protect the sector.
Over the last two decades, the ATO noted it has disqualified approximately 3,500 SMSF trustees, issued 2,400 undertakings to trustees and referred 145 SMSF-approved auditors to ASIC for further action.
“The importance of good governance of the sector cannot be underestimated. As the sole regulator of SMSFs, we are conscious of the significant responsibility of safeguarding 1.1 million Australians’ retirement savings,” said ATO assistant commissioner Dana Fleming.
“Many Australians want to take, and are taking, control of their retirement savings. Our aim is to help trustees to be able to make informed decisions by understanding their responsibilities and, of course, where necessary we will take action to maintain the integrity of the SMSF sector for all other SMSF members.
“We know most people in the sector want to do the right thing and operate within the rules and regulations. For this reason, our primary focus is to support trustees and their advisers by providing the tools, services, technical guidance and assistance to enable them to appropriately manage and protect their retirement savings.”
Looking ahead, Ms Fleming said the ATO will continue to protect the SMSF sector by utilising sophisticated data and intelligence to focus its compliance activities on key risks identified, such as the illegal early release of super.
“We know that our best success comes from working with SMSF trustees and advisers in a partnership with a common interest to ensure that SMSFs remain a key part of the superannuation sector,” she added.
“We thank the industry for their support in our shared successes. We therefore look forward to continuing our work with the SMSF industry to ensure the retirement savings of everyday Australians are protected and the integrity of Australia’s world-class superannuation system is maintained.”
SMSF Association CEO John Maroney offered a similar sentiment, noting the association has enjoyed a productive relationship with the ATO over the past 20 years and will continue to enjoy the mutually beneficial relationship between the pair.
“We believe its approach to regulating the sector has been both supportive and collaborative of all parties, with the end result being that SMSF members have benefited by enjoying better retirements,” Mr Maroney said.