This year, the ATO intends to increase its focus on problem areas such as trustees who are deliberately and persistently not complying with their obligations; trustees who are deliberating operating outside the system, for example, by avoiding lodgement and audit obligations; trustees who are adopting aggressive tax positions and trustees who are not willing to engage with the ATO.
The ATO’s Kasey MacFarlane told the Tax Institute’s superannuation conference this “shift in emphasis” has been made possible because of the new way the ATO is engaging with SMSF trustees and the auditing process.
“In the 2015 income year 22,000 contraventions were reported in 8,200 funds; of these, over 50 per cent of the contraventions had been rectified when reported in the ACR. Previously, following the receipt of an ACR, if we assessed a fund as high-risk, we would automatically select it for a comprehensive audit,” Ms MacFarlane said.
“However, this year we will be changing our approach. Instead, where trustees are willing to engage with us, they will be supported to self-correct and rectify compliance issues through the early engagement and voluntary disclosure service and/or from targeted mail-outs.”