ATO tipped to scrutinise backdated pensions

The ATO will be carefully analysing data on the commencement of pensions before 9 November 2016 to identify where documents may have been backdated in order to access relief, one mid-tier firm has cautioned.

BDO national leader of superannuation Shirley Schaefer says in order to get the capital gains tax concessions on assets, the SMSF needed to have been in pension phase by 9 November 2016.

“So if, funnily enough, everyone starts a pension on the 8th of November, I’m sure the ATO will be concerned that really you’ve gone back and backdated that documentation, rather than having actually commenced a pension,” Ms Schaefer told SMSF Adviser.

Ms Schaefer said this doesn’t mean there weren’t people who legitimately did start pensions between 1 July 2016 and 9 November 2016, but the ATO will be monitoring how many people did actually start pensions in the week before 9 November.

“You were either in pension phase then or you weren’t. It’s not really a case of, Well I should have been so I will be,” she said. 

“There may be some SMSF practitioners out there who aren’t strong or insistent with clients about this sort of stuff.”

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