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ATO updates SMSF alert messages to increase transparency

The ATO will now provide greater transparency of any changes made to SMSF information in its SMS alerts in order to better mitigate potential fraud behaviour.

SMSF Miranda Brownlee 14 December 2021
— 1 minute read

In an online update, the Tax Office stated that it has updated the content in its alerts for changes to SMSF information in response to feedback. The ATO issues these alerts by SMS or email when individuals register a new SMSF or change an existing SMSF’s financial institution account details, electronic service address, or authorised contact members.

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“The improvements to the alert messaging are a result of your feedback and will now provide greater transparency of any changes made,” the ATO stated.

“This will assist members make informed decisions and take action to mitigate potential fraud behaviour where changes were not requested by an authorised person.”

The ATO’s SMS alert service had previously received some criticism from the SMSF industry with the alerts not providing any detail on what changes had been made to the fund and potentially causing “unnecessary concern for SMSF trustees”.

The ATO warned SMSF members that where they receive an alert and they haven’t authorised those changes or are unaware of the changes outlined, there are important steps they need to take.

“If you’re not aware of a new SMSF registered in your name, or changes made to your existing SMSF as described in an alert we’ve sent you, you should contact the other trustees or directors of the corporate trustee of your SMSF and other representatives authorised to make changes to your SMSF, such as your tax agent,” the ATO explained.

Individuals can also phone the ATO, it said, if they’re concerned an SMSF has been established, or changes have been made to their existing SMSF incorrectly or without their knowledge.

“Our alerts will never ask you to reply by text or email, or to provide personal information such as your TFN or your personal bank account number or BSB,” the ATO added.

The ATO also reminded SMSF trustees that it would send an alert when a super fund uses the SMSF SMSF verification service (SVS) to verify an SMSF’s details, with the intent to roll super benefits into that SMSF. Funds may use this service multiple times for a single rollover request, so you may receive multiple alerts.

“If you receive an alert and are aware of the rollover request, there is nothing you need to do,” the ATO said.

Where SMSF members receive an alert and they didn’t request a rollover to be made, or more information is required, the ATO said the SMSF member should contact their existing super fund immediately as rollovers through SuperStream may be processed in only three business days.

ATO updates SMSF alert messages to increase transparency
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Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.

Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.

Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.

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