ATO spotlight on SMSFs not all bad

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The ATO has announced that it will increase its focus on SMSFs, auditing tax and regulatory compliance for more than 16,000 funds.

SPAA senior manager, Technical and Policy, Jordan George says that this highlights the need for SMSF trustees to get professional advice, and advisers might see an influx their way.

“If the ATO comes knocking on their door, you’ll see people turning to advisers for the information and for the advice to make sure their funds are running correctly.

Clients will be targeting SMSF specialists, so the need for planners to specialise is now more important than ever, says George.

“In this environment, SMSF trustees need to ask themselves are they getting the best possible advice and if they aren’t is it worth risking their fund’s complying status?”

Advisers’ continuing education is the most important aspect for specialisation, according to George, including attending conferences, webinars and keeping up to date with the latest SIS law and tax law changes.

“We’ve been pushing SMSF specialisation for a long time – it’s the point of our organisation – and we think that’s really crucial to making sure SMSF sector continues its strength and vibrancy.”

Regardless of its intention to increase monitoring, the ATO Overview also highlighted the fact that the SMSF sector is complying with the law, with 98% of SMSFs compliant in the 2012-13 financial year.

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