With Parliament expected to consider superannuation reforms as early as next week, one trustee lobby group has urged the government to slow down the pace of its reforms and take time to carefully consider the legislation.
SMSF Owners’ Alliance (SMSFOA) executive director Duncan Fairweather says the draft legislation should be referred to parliamentary committees for review.
Mr Fairweather said submissions should be taken from Australians whose retirement savings will be affected, the associations that represent them and superannuation experts.
“The government’s consultation on the draft legislation released so far has been hasty with just a few working days allowed for comments on three tranches of complex new law,” he said.
Mr Fairweather added that the legislation introduces a new definition for superannuation, new structural concepts, new rules on contributions and new tax applications.
“They are the most significant changes to superannuation in a decade since the reforms Peter Costello made in 2006,” he said.
“They will have an impact not just on the 4 per cent the government says will be directly affected now, but on many more who are in mid-career and aiming for a financially independent retirement.”
Mr Fairweather said the Senate especially needs to consider whether it is prepared to pass tax law with retrospective effective when it has been reluctant to do so in the past.
“The changes take many pages of legislation to explain. There is a risk of unintended consequences if the legislation is rushed,” he warned.
As well as giving Parliament the opportunity to give proper consideration to the new superannuation laws, the government should consider extending the start date of the legislation.
“Superannuation fund trustees, including the trustees for half a million self-managed funds, face important decisions. Their financial advisers, accountants, lawyers and auditors will have to quickly get across the detail of the legislation. That’s not to mention the task of modifying systems that faces the major funds and the ATO,” Mr Fairweather said.
“We appreciate there will be a revenue cost if the start date is pushed back. However, it is important to make sure the new law will be workable and that Australians are given reasonable time to understand what the law means to them.”
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