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ATO getting tougher on ‘serial non-compliers’

Katarina Taurian
23 July 2015 — 1 minute read

The ATO will take a tougher stance against persistently non-compliant SMSF trustees and will increasingly make use of its new penalty powers in the new financial year.

On top of targeting “serial non-compliers” in the 2015-16 financial year, the ATO will specifically be chasing SMSF trustees who fail to deliver on agreements in enforceable undertakings.

“In these circumstances, the powers we gained on 1 July 2014 will increasingly come into play,” assistant commissioner for SMSFs at the ATO, Kasey Macfarlane, told SMSF Adviser.


The powers, introduced in July last year, allow the ATO to impose administration penalties on trustees for certain SIS Act breaches. In addition, the powers allow the ATO to direct SMSF trustees to fix a breach and direct trustees to undergo education in the event of a breach.

The ATO will also be taking a harder look at individuals who enter the SMSF sector with poor personal taxation lodgement histories, and no income or limited income.

Further, SMSFs that have significant changes in assets and income, outside the previous pattern of the fund and without obvious reason, will be on the ATO’s radar, Ms Macfarlane said.

SMSFs with overdue annual returns will also be on the agenda, as well as SMSFs that have breaches reported in auditor contravention reports that have not been rectified.

As previously reported, the ATO will keep an eye on SMSF pensions, particularly inappropriately-claimed deductions when a fund is in pension phase.

“We work with colleagues [at ASIC] to detect and take action against individuals and organisations promoting unacceptable arrangements and schemes,” Ms Macfarlane said.

“In particular, those people spruiking arrangements via cold calling or high-pressure sales environments when the promoters have little to no understanding of, or regard for, superannuation rules.”

ATO getting tougher on ‘serial non-compliers’
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