SMSF Trustees – what are your roles and responsibilities? Part Two

Why do I need to know?

While having a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) can enable greater control over your superannuation; being a trustee brings with it extra responsibility and accountability requirements.  It is crucial that trustees understand these and the implications of non-compliance.

 

Part Two

This is the second part in a multi-part series on SMSF and an overview of the roles and responsibilities of trustees.

 

If you missed part one, then please read it here. It covered topics including the sole purpose test, separation of assets and investment strategy requirements.

 

In this blog post, we continue to explore key areas that trustees need to understand and comply with.

 

Loans to members forbidden

The trustee needs to ensure they do not allow SMSF assets or funds to be used by the members, their relatives or a related business.

While this can be tempting in times of poor cash flow (e.g. a short term loan in an unexpected situation), this is a serious breach and remains a high compliance focus of the regulatory authority.

 

Accepting Contributions

There are minimum standards to follow when accepting contributions into the SMSF to ensure that these contributions are made for retirement purposes only.  Your fund’s trust deed may specify further rules regarding accepting contributions, in addition to the minimum standards.

Allocation of contributions to a member’s account needs to occur within 28 days after the end of the month in which they were received.

Mandated contributions can be accepted at any time regardless of the person’s age or working hours (e.g. superannuation guarantee contributions).  Non-mandated contributions are those over and above the superannuation guarantee requirements and can include personal contributions made by the member or on their behalf, spouse contributions and government co-contributions.

Certain circumstances determine whether you can accept non-mandated contributions and these are impacted by the person’s age, whether a tax file number has been quoted and their employment status.

There are also contribution caps that you need to be aware of and these limits can change from year to year.

If you require further guidance in this regard, please contact us for more information or see the guidebook produced by the ATO – https://www.ato.gov.au/uploadedFiles/Content/SPR/downloads/spr46427n11032.pdf

 

Acquisitions from related parties

Generally speaking, SMSFs are not able to acquire assets from related parties; however there are a few exceptions, where the asset is:

  • a listed security such as a share listed on an approved Stock Exchange or widely held unit trust e.g. public unit trust, acquired at market value
  • business real property (e.g. land and buildings used wholly for business purposes) acquired at market value
  • an ‘in-house asset’ where its acquisition would not result in the level of in-house assets of the SMSF exceeding 5% of the SMSF’s total assets.

When acquiring an asset from a related party, the acquisition must be on an ‘arms-length’ commercial basis, and the purchase price must reflect its true market value.

 

Borrowing

There are only very limited circumstances in which you can borrow money and these usually have very strict conditions in terms of the timeframes as well as the proportion of the borrowing relative to the fund’s assets.  For further information, please contact us or refer to the ATO publication – https://www.ato.gov.au/uploadedFiles/Content/SPR/downloads/spr46427n11032.pdf

 

Coming Soon….

Keep an eye out for the next instalment in this series which will cover topics such as benefit payments, limited recourse borrowing arrangements, administration and audit requirements.

 

CB AUDIT

Should you have any concerns/queries, our staff can assist with education and advising the types of documentation that can be collated throughout the year to ensure that all relevant information is available at the time of the audit.  Our focus is on providing a high quality service to our clients and if we can value add by facilitating greater understanding of the relevant principles and strategies to be best prepared for an audit, then we’d love to assist.  Please contact us to discuss any queries on 1300 CBAUDIT.

 

If you are not a current client and would like more information on our services, please contact Matt Williams through [email protected].