Warning on SMSF taxation focus

Taxation and securities regulators are zeroing in on commission payments of up to three times recommended amounts being paid by developers to advisers, accountants and real estate agents for recommending apartments, mostly off-the-plan, to self-managed super fund investors.

The ATO is taking a more aggressive approach following a big rise in SMSF scheme participants making low or zero-interest loans into their own accounts. The ATO believes some members are breaching strict contribution caps thereby exposing them to the risk of fines equivalent to 47 per cent of a scheme’s assets. SMSF schemes are the largest sector of the nation’s retirement savings with more than $500 billion under management.

SMSF schemes are jointly regulated by the Australian Tax Office and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and generally regarded as compliant but the rapid increase in SMSF funds under management is raising concerns, particularly with property investments.

ATO assistant commissioner Matthew Bambrick said from July 1 the ATO will be ”more aggressive and assertive in investigating questionable schemes”. ASIC is also believed to have stepped up reviews of commissions being paid to those recommending property as a SMSF investment.

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