Contravention risk surfacing for SMSFs with complex assets
Following two litigation cases this year, SMSF auditors next year will be more likely to file contravention reports where the SMSF fails to provide enough evidence showing the recoverability of investments, warns a technical expert.
In light of the two SMSF auditor cases this year, Cam & Bear Pty Ltd v McGoldrick and Ryan Wealth Holdings Pty Ltd v Baumgartner, SuperConcepts executive manager of SMSF technical and private wealth Graeme Colley said that SMSF practitioners and their clients will need to be much more thorough with the type of information they provide on investments to auditors.
These cases concerned the thoroughness at which auditors look at the underlying investments made by the super fund, he said.
“Next year, advisers and trustees will be required to provide more thorough and comprehensive information to auditors so that they’re satisfied that the fund has made an investment which is recoverable,” Mr Colley said.
“That’s really important, because if the auditor is not satisfied or they can’t see that it’s recoverable, then they’ll likely qualify the accounts of the fund, fill out a contravention report and let the ATO work out whether the investment is recoverable under the operation of the SIS legislation.”
Mr Colley said that a lot of practitioners and trustees probably aren’t aware that more complicated SMSF investments such as related party arrangements or syndicate arrangements, where it’s difficult to determine the underlying assets, may require more work in terms of justifying the investment to the auditor.
“We’re already starting to see auditors become much more thorough in what they’re doing. We recently had one auditor that wanted a feasibility study from a developer concerning a land development arrangement that the superannuation fund was going to enter into,” he said.
Some SMSF auditors may also potentially become pickier about which SMSF clients they will provide audits for.
“Some may want an easier life and decided not to take on funds with [these types of] investments because of the extra difficulty,” he said.
“Or they may continue to take on those arrangements, but they’ll be more likely to qualify the accounts and bring it to the attention of the commissioner if the liquidity or recoverability of the investment is difficult to determine.”
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.