SMSF registration process set for shake-up

The ATO is planning to change and streamline the process for SMSF registrations, and is considering where the role of the “trusted adviser” can potentially help in the set-up process.

In the context of the ATO’s “reinvention” program, the regulator is looking to address the processes around SMSF registration that can lead to unnecessary hold-ups, ATO assistant commissioner Kasey Macfarlane told SMSF Adviser.

“Currently a lot of things go on in the background, and there can be delays, so we’re looking to fix,” she said.

As part of the revamp, the ATO is considering what role professionals can play in the process of “integrity checks” for new registrants – which involves the ATO investigating the prior compliance history of the individual.

“We’re exploring and intend to undertake further consultation with industry on the idea of the role of trusted advisers in the sector, and whether or not we can provide a more streamlined process for some of those upfront checks in the case where people are working with trusted advisers,” she said.

“If they come through as a trusted adviser it doesn’t mean that we will not undertake those checks, but what we are proposing is we would allow their fund to be up and running from the start and then do those checks in the background post that event,” Ms Macfarlane said.

“[At the moment] there can be a delay in the registration process and for funds to be up and running while we undertake those checks upfront,” she added.

“We’re not in any way looking to undermine any of the integrity processes that we do, it’s about making it more streamlined for people.”

Overall the ATO is looking to make the registration and wind-up process more “seamless”, with Ms Macfarlane acknowledging the ATO’s systems “aren’t always intelligent”.

“If we have more intelligent systems, we can tell people at that very upfront stage ‘well, you need to provide this specific bit of information before your registration can progress’,” she said.

“It’s about streamlining some of those things."

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