What Does an SMSF Accountant Do?
An SMSF accountant does the administrative and accounting needs of your self-managed super fund to ensure it maintains compliance with the ATO’s regulations.
SMSF Australia has assembled a niche team of accredited superannuation specialists who are ready to help you with all your SMSF accounting needs from basic to very complex funds.
Our SMSF accountants are experts in all things super and they’re dedicated to providing a suite of stress-free and affordable SMSF services, including SMSF set up, tax returns and preparation for the annual external audit.
Your dedicated SMSF Accountant uses the Class Super platform which is an Australian owned award-winning cloud-based SMSF platform in conjunction with our own automation to deliver seamless, real-time upkeep of your data and investments.
We also provide our clients with a free Electronic Service Address (ESA), ‘smsfdataflow’, which is an identifier required by the ATO to track super contributions. An active ESA is necessary for your SMSF to receive contributions, including rolling over any existing money.
Failure to provide an employer with an active ESA will cause any super contributions delayed or redirected, and your employer will receive an error message informing them of this issue.
SMSF Accounting Services
SMSF Australia provides a range of accounting services required to keep on top of the ATO requirements for self-managed super funds.
Standard services include:
- Ongoing reconciliation of investments and bank accounts in the Class Super platform
- Preparation of yearly SMSF tax returns and financial statements
- Lodgement of all reports to the ATO, such as IAS, PAYG, BAS and TBAR
- Maintaining your invest records and pension accounts
- Preparation of compliance documents including declarations and members’ meeting minutes
- Organising the mandatory annual audit, to be performed by an external party, and ensuring fund compliance
At SMSF Australia, we’re lucky enough to have a practising SMSF Lawyer on board to help clients tackle difficult questions and complex files. Combined with the experience of our SMSF specialists, our accountants can provide advice on some of the more complicated aspects of running an SMSF.
Some of these complex issues may include:
- Utilising an SMSF Lawyer to ensure your SMSF Deed is up-to-date and action any amendments to maintain compliance
- Process changes to the corporate trustee and members
- Sorting out any Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangements, or LRBAs
- Assistance with SMSF Wind Up, be it through personal choice or the result of a deceased estate
Your SMSF Australia accountant is also here to help should any problems arise. We’re experienced in rectifying compliance breaches so talk to us today if something goes wrong with your self-managed fund to see how we can help.
SMSF Tax Return
Every year, self-managed super funds must complete and submit a tax return to the Australian Taxation Office. In principle, this is no different to the requirement of any other tax paying entity, such as businesses or individuals, however the process is more complex and time consuming.
The ATO imposes a great deal of regulations on SMSFs to ensure that funds, member contributions and investments remain compliant. This is why your SMSF must also undergo an external audit, which is to be completed prior to lodging your tax return.
Your SMSF Accountant is here to help you navigate these obligations, including assisting with preparation for the audit and lodging your SMSF Tax Return.
There are two key dates for SMSF tax returns:
- 28th February for new SMSFs in their first year
- 15th May for all other standard funds
These returns relate to the preceding financial year. For example, first year funds lodging their tax return on 28th February 2023 are doing so for the 2021/2022 period.
Because preparation for the audit can take time, your SMSF Accountant may recommend starting the process at the end of the financial year. This will allow sufficient time for the compliance documents to be compiled and checked ready for the independent auditor.
Remember, that your fund must be signed off by the auditor prior to lodging your tax return. Ideally, this should be completed no later than January 31st for first year funds, and March 31st for others, to ensure that there is sufficient time to prepare the return.
It is of the utmost importance that this is completed prior to the relevant deadline. Should you miss the date, the ATO may remove your fund’s registration details due to non-compliance.
In the event that this happens, your SMSF will not be able to receive any contributions, even from your employer.
Most SMSFs are taxed at a lower rate of 15% provided a fund is compliant with the ATO’s regulations. If your fund is non-compliant, all income earned by the fund will be taxed at the highest marginal rate of 45%.
One of our main duties as an SMSF Accountant is to ensure the compliance of your fund to help clients avoid paying excessive tax rates.
SMSF Wind Up
Another key role your SMSF Accountant will do is facilitate the SMSF Wind Up process. This may be a difficult time for you and your members, and so your accountant will make this process as streamlined as possible.
Regardless of the reason behind your fund’s closure, your SMSF accountant will review your SMSF Deed, which is the legal backbone of your fund, to see if there are any specific requirements regarding the fund’s wind up procedure.
Following meetings between all trustees and obtaining signatures on documents confirming the decision to wind up the fund, your accountant will begin the wind up, which may include disposing of the fund’s assets under the requirements set out by the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.
In addition to ASIC, ATO and other government fees associated with deregistering your corporate trustee and closing your fund, you will also need approximately $1500 plus GST to cover the cost of the accounting and administration work involved in winding up an SMSF.
As SMSFs can be quite complex, the exact steps involved in an SMSF are unique to your specific situation. Your accountant will review your needs, such as fund rollovers into a non-self-managed fund, and advise on the process accordingly.
Prior to commencing an SMSF wind up, it’s worth remembering that the fund cannot be reactivated and should you decide you wish to return to a self-managed fund, you will need to undertake a brand new set up.
Do you need help from an SMSF Accountant?