ATO ‘spread very thinly’, says AIST
The ATO is “spread very thinly” in terms of monitoring SMSF compliance given the size and evolution of the sector, according to the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees.
AIST’s executive manager, policy and research, David Haynes told SMSF Adviser that since the Wallis Inquiry, SMSFs have grown to represent a “far larger proportion” of the superannuation system.
The Stronger Super program of reforms has led to increased responsibility for government agencies, including the ATO, APRA and ASIC, he added.
“It is necessary in that context to then review the relationship between all of the regulatory entities to make sure that they operate efficiently in relation to each other and to the industry and that there’s not unnecessary duplication or overlap or indeed gaps in the operation of the system,” Mr Haynes said.
Mr Haynes said he also believes APRA-regulated funds are subject to greater levels of scrutiny and regulation than ATO-regulated funds.
“Our position generally in relation to SMSFs is that they need to operate on a level playing field with the rest of the super industry,” he said.
“So our position is not one of opposition to SMSFs, it’s all about supporting measures that support the integrity of the system.”
Mr Haynes also reiterated calls for a “minimum level” of education akin to RG146 for SMSF trustees. He said it has “long been” AIST’s position that education requirements for trustees should go further.
“We think just as there is education starting with [RG146] in relation to people who work in the superannuation industry there should be a minimum level of trustee obligation,” Mr Haynes said.
“It’s one thing for people to get the benefit out of the system, but they also need to understand the responsibilities that are associated with it. So there needs to be some level of training that’s [commensurate] with that,” he added.