‘Haven’t seen the end’ to excess contribution tax changes

While the reform of excess contributions tax has been largely welcomed by the industry, AMP SMSF’s Peter Burgess believes changes may still be on the horizon, with “live” issues such as commissioner’s discretion still requiring government attention.

As reported in SMSF Adviser, the exposure draft legislation covering reform of the superannuation excess non-concessional contributions tax has been released and largely welcomed by the SMSF sector.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Mr Burgess said that while the move to allow taxpayers to refund their excess non-concessional contributions is positive, it is unlikely to be the last change to the regime.

There are still issues with commissioner’s discretion, Mr Burgess said, which is still very much a “live” issue.

“Yes, refunding is a good proposal and it will help, but we still don’t have adequate protection there for individuals who inadvertently breach the caps,” Mr Burgess said.

“We’ve still got to remember that individuals incur penalties under a refunding situation, so they’re still better off trying to get discretion if they can.”

Mr Burgess drew attention to the inspector general of taxation’s (IGT's) report on superannuation excess contributions tax earlier this year, which commented on the limited scope for commissioner’s discretion to be exercised.

“The scope of the present commissioner’s discretion to disregard or reallocate excess contributions appears very narrow,” the report stated.

“The IGT has recommended that the government consider whether the law accommodates taxpayers appropriately in these circumstances.”

Mr Burgess said addressing commissioner discretion does not appear to be on the agenda at the moment, and it is likely the government will see how the new refunding rules are working before assessing if adequate taxpayer protections are in place.

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