Tax terminology causing trustee confusion
References to tax-exempt investment returns as ‘tax-free pensions’ have led some SMSF trustees to mistakenly assume their pension money will be subject to the 15 per cent PAYG tax, according to Australian Executor Trustees.
Australian Executor Trustees senior technical services manager Julie Steed says many retirees who are over the age of 60 are in receipt of a tax-free pension by virtue of the fact that they’re over 60 and there is no PAYG tax.
“Some of those people have been confused and thought they were going to be taxed at 15 per cent, and not understood that it’s taxed at the fund level,” Ms Steed said.
“It’s the exempt current pension income that appears above the $1.6 million. They simply thought that by virtue of being over 60 that PAYG was going to be impacted.”
Ms Steed said she has also come across advisers who believed it was the 15 per cent tax offset that a member receives on their income stream between preservation age and age 60 that was going.
“I think [we need to be] consistent with the terminology of tax-exempt investment returns versus tax-free pensions,” she said.
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.