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Tax agents smash deadline despite last-minute scramble


The ATO revealed lodgement figures for SMSF annual returns were ahead of market expectations, after one of the busiest and most complex deadlines for high-net worth clients since the Howard and Costello era. 

By Miranda Brownlee 11 minute read

ATO assistant commissioner Tara McLachlan said at 30 July this year, 90 per cent of SMSFs had lodged on time. This is a slight drop on the financial year before, when the rate was 93 per cent. 

This lodgement figure is well ahead of expectations. Two weeks before deadline, 35 per cent of SMSFs were still to lodge their returns. 

Ms McLachlan also noted that around 3 per cent of funds received a deferral based on the individual circumstances of the fund.


“Further, approximately 44,000 SMSFs elected to apply the transitional CGT relief,” she said.

“Our early analysis indicated that one-third of SMSFs were impacted by the transfer balance cap and TRIS measures. Trustees had a choice of whether to apply the CGT relief or not to apply it if they didn't think it was in their best interests,” she explained.

She also encouraged SMSF professionals and their clients to prepare for the extension of SuperStream to SMSFs.

“We are working closely with industry for the design and implementation build, and it is expected to commence in late 2019,” she said.

“To date, only a rollover between two APRA funds could occur electronically using SuperStream. However, this reform will allow SMSF members to initiate and receive rollovers.”

The benefits of SuperStream, she said, include a reduction in compliance costs for both SMSFs and APRA funds, the ability to process the rollover in days rather than a month, and improvements to the integrity of the superannuation system with the mandatory use of the ATO's SMSF verification service, which will verify all SMSF data to the APRA funds before the rollover can occur.

“SMSFs that want to participate in this need to consider their ability to interact digitally, including obtaining an electronic service address,” she said.

“I think this is an important opportunity for all SMSFs to consider their digital capability. There is a lot of exciting work that is being done in this space to automate and streamline, recording processing which can deliver savings and costs and heighten visibility into the SMSF's operation.”

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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.

You can email Miranda
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