New ATO penalty regime welcomed
The passage of legislation that implements the new ATO penalty powers regime has been welcomed by the SMSF sector.
As reported by SMSF Adviser, these measures were initially introduced into the House of Representatives on 29 November 2012 under The Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Reducing Illegal Early Release and Other Measures) Bill.
The Bill did not pass the House of Representatives under the former Labor government and the measures did not come into effect on July 1 last year, as originally anticipated.
It was reintroduced to parliament as a new Bill under the Coalition, with a revised start date of 1 July 2014.
The measures have received widespread support from the industry, including from the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA).
“Before now the ATO only had the limited options when an SMSF contravened the law of making the SMSF a non-complying fund, disqualifying the trustee, applying to court for a civil penalty or requiring the trustee to enter an enforceable undertaking,” said SPAA’s chief executive Andrea Slattery.
“This has been unsatisfactory with these penalties often out of proportion to the relevant breach of the superannuation laws,” she added.
AMP SMSF’s Peter Burgess also previously told SMSF Adviser the changes were supported by AMP because they will “strengthen” the sector.
“The idea behind these new penalties was to give the ATO an easier way to take action against trustees that doesn’t require court action,” Mr Burgess said.
“It makes sense to us that the ATO has more powers to work with trustees.”