New super changes ‘bring back an old problem’
While the removal of the $500,000 lifetime cap has been widely welcomed, other elements of the government’s significant changes to its proposed superannuation reforms have frustrated the SMSF community.
In place of the $500,000 lifetime cap on non-concessional contributions will be a $100,000 annual cap, with taxpayers under 65 eligible to utilise the three-year bring forward.
However, as The SMSF Academy’s Aaron Dunn explained, where an individual has an account balance above $1.6 million, they will no longer be able to make any further non-concessional contributions from 1 July 2017.
SuperConcepts broadly supports the removal of the lifetime cap on NCCs, but it pointed to some technical limitations that may affect a small group of taxpayers.
“A potential limitation for the SMSF sector in relation to the requirement for the member’s balance to be less than $1.6 million, assessed 30 June prior to the year the contribution is made, is that valuations for some assets held by SMSFs are not readily available and may not be known until well after the new financial year has begun,” SuperConcepts general manager, technical services and education, Peter Burgess, said.
“The delay before SMSF investors know whether or not they can make a non-concessional contribution is, from a planning perspective, not ideal.”
The government will also delay the start of the five-year rolling concessional contribution caps for taxpayers with a super account balance under $500,000 by one year until 1 July 2018.
Further, the government will remove the measure to extend the eligibility to contribute to super through to age 74, which as Mr Dunn noted, effectively keeps the ‘work test’ requirements for individuals who want to make contributions between 65-74 years of age.
“It’s unfortunate they are not proceeding with the proposal to abolish the work test, it brings back an old problem,” Perpetual senior manager for strategic advice, Colin Lewis, told SMSF Adviser.
“We’re going back to the old shenanigans where if people want to get money into superannuation they’re going to have to work,” he said.
The financial planning community is particularly opposed to the work test remaining in play.
Verante Financial Planning’s director Liam Shorte told SMSF Adviser the removal of the work test was one of the more positive proposals in this year’s federal budget.
“I feel that we need to get away from using 65 as an age… especially with longer life expectancies,” Mr Shorte said.
Mr Shorte also expressed frustration over the latest round of superannuation policy backflips.
“The government cannot claim they are in line with the mandate they received as they have backflipped on so many issues. The mandate argument is now dead and gone.”