In a public update, the ATO stated that the COVID-19 early release of super program closed on 31 December 2020.
Payments for applications submitted by 31 December will be made throughout January, the ATO said.
The latest APRA statistics on the early release of super scheme show that at 13 December 2020, $35.8 billion in payments have been made since the inception of the scheme.
The ATO noted that while applications for the COVID-19 early release of super program closed on 31 December 2020, members may still be able to apply to withdraw some of their super based on other compassionate grounds.
“Compassionate grounds include needing money to pay for medical treatment and medical transport for you or your dependant, palliative care for you or your dependant, making a payment on a home loan or council rates so you don't lose your home, accommodating a disability for you or your dependant or expenses associated with the death, funeral or burial of your dependant,” the ATO explained.
It also reminded members that they may be able to withdraw their super due to severe financial hardship if they have received eligible government income support payments continuously for 26 weeks and are not able to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses.
The ATO previously warned it had identified some examples of individuals doing the wrong thing in relation to the COVID-19 early release of super scheme.
Some of the behaviours that have attracted the ATO’s attention include members applying when there is no change to their regular salary and wage information, artificially arranging their affairs to meet the eligibility criteria or making false statements or fraudulent attempts to meet the eligibility criteria.
Other behaviours include members withdrawing and recontributing super for a tax advantage and temporary resident applicants attempting to apply as a permanent resident or citizen after 1 July 2020.
In September, the ATO said it had identified 1,200 taxpayers who withdrew money under the COVID-19 early release of super measure and immediately recontributed it in a bid to claim a tax deduction.
The ATO previously said it would be investigating whether the general anti-avoidance rule for income tax should be applied in some cases in regards to COVID-19 early release of super, where a member or their representative has entered into a scheme mainly for the purpose of obtaining a tax benefit.
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.