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ATO ramps up SMSF auditor compliance activities


After previously suspending its auditor review programs due to the impact of COVID-19, the ATO has announced it will start undertaking auditor compliance reviews again from this month onwards.

By Miranda Brownlee 9 minute read

In the wake of COVID-19 and the raft of stimulus measures implemented by the government back in March, the ATO signalled earlier this year that it would be adopting a flexible approach in the way it would be handling taxpayers’ affairs. This included suspending its usual SMSF auditor compliance reviews.

In a recent discussion with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, ATO SMSF auditor portfolio director Kellie Grant said with the ATO focusing on the stimulus measures and auditors dealing with a range of issues during the height of COVID-19, the ATO recognised it was not something auditors wanted to be put through at that time.

However, she outlined that the ATO now plans to recommence its compliance activities with SMSF audits from early next month.


“We hope by early November we will start doing some more auditor compliance reviews,” she said.

Ms Grant previously outlined that once auditor reviews recommence, the ATO will be focusing on some key risk areas specific to SMSF auditors which it will be monitoring through its top 100 auditor program, its high-risk auditor program and SMSF auditor number misuse program.

The ATO plans to audit the remaining auditors in its top 100 auditor list that weren’t reviewed by the ATO during the 2019–20 financial year.

“After that, we’ll be looking to move on to the next 100 auditors in the top 200 auditor group who are collectively responsible for auditing for around 44 per cent of funds,” she stated.

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

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