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ATO braces for errors as new reforms roll out

Katarina Taurian
20 February 2017 — 1 minute read

The ATO is rolling out new tools and guidance for the SMSF sector ahead of key lodgement deadlines, and is preparing for the inevitability of errors as professionals and trustees continue to come to terms with the spate of recent reforms.

Most measures in the recent spate of superannuation reforms which affect SMSFs will take effect from 1 July this year, and the ATO accepts that there will be errors as the industry comes to terms with the new rules, said James O’Halloran, deputy commissioner for superannuation at the ATO.

However, in an address to the SMSF Association’s nation conference in Melbourne, Mr O’Halloran stressed it is the ATO’s mission to collaborate with industry professionals to encourage favourable outcomes for their clients, even in instances of potential non-compliance.


“Come and talk to us when you think you’ve made a mistake. We do want early engagement. We may have discretion, or conversely it may not be a mistake,” Mr O’Halloran said.

Even with particularly troublesome areas at the moment, like CGT, good intent combined with early engagement on the part of the trustee will give a greater chance of a favourable outcome.

“We think there has been some misunderstanding around CGT relief and also how to apply for it. Good intent and genuine application of the relief is the important bit that we look for,” he said.

“We think most people will in fact apply quite appropriately and judiciously the CGT relief,” he said.

In the coming weeks, the ATO plans to issue a range of calculators – either in the form of a checklist or a “decision tree” – to assist the SMSF community in its interpretations of the new legislation.

Calculators are set to be available for non-concessional contributions, concessional contributions carry forward and concessional contributions and total super balance.

A dedicated service is also in the works to display an individual’s super balance, as well as other facilities to support self-service.

“We recognise the appetite for these kind of tools and support and of course we are keen to share them,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“We want to help promote consistency and also draw together a greater common understanding of how to get things right in the first instance,” he said.

ATO braces for errors as new reforms roll out
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