Cooper slams criticism of ATO

In light of several Financial System Inquiry (FSI) submissions which have criticised the ATO’s performance as the regulator of SMSFs, Jeremy Cooper has come out in defence of tax office’s role in the sector.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Mr Cooper, the chairman of retirement income at Challenger, said SMSFs “first and foremost” are a tax vehicle.

“The philosophy is that you take responsibility for building up your retirement savings and you take that responsibility yourself,” Mr Cooper said.

“They’re primarily tax rules that you’ve got to comply with in order to have that privilege, and it’s really the tax office that ought to administer that.”

Mr Cooper also dismissed suggestions stemming from several FSI submissions that APRA would be a more appropriate regulator of SMSFs than the ATO.

“To think that going back to APRA is somehow a solution is just not sensible,” Mr Cooper said. “I strongly disagree with that.”

Mr Cooper added the ATO is doing a “better and better” job as the sector grows.

“They understand the SMSF sector, they understand… where the problems are and I’m really impressed with the job that they’re doing,” Mr Cooper said.

“The number of SMSF applications that they actually reject and the number of SMSFs that they’re closing down is actually quite dramatic.

“So these submissions that say it’s all terrible and SMSFs need to be cracked down on, there’s an ulterior motive in a lot of it.”

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