ATO reveals penalties for real-time reporting failures

While the ATO will initially take an educational compliance approach in relation to event-based reporting for SMSFs, it has provided details on what penalties will apply for non-compliance past this point.

ATO assistant commissioner Kasey Macfarlane reminded SMSF professionals that there will be a transitional approach to event-based reporting to SMSFs in 2017/18 and that the ATO’s focus for the first 12 months will be supporting and assisting SMSFs to move to the new model.

“We won’t be out looking to slap late lodgements on people, it will be more about assisting them to move to it,” Ms Macfarlane told delegates at the Class Connect Conference.

SuperConcepts general manager of technical services and education Peter Burgess said the ATO has provided an indication of what penalties will apply where there is non-compliance with event-based reporting requirements.

“If a super fund fails to report by the required date, a ‘failure to lodge’ penalty may be imposed by the ATO,” said Mr Burgess.

“Generally, for SMSFs, this penalty is calculated at the rate of one penalty unit for each period of 28 days (or part thereof) that the event remains unreported, up to a maximum of five penalty units (one penalty unit is currently equal to $210).

Speaking at the conference, Ms Macfarlane said the ATO recognises that these changes will alter the dynamic between a lot of SMSF professionals and their clients.

“Particularly for tax agents who might commonly only see their SMSF client once every year when their client comes in with their excel spreadsheet or a shoebox,” she said.

One of the biggest risks of not reporting, she stressed, is from the individual member’s perspective in terms of “the tax liability that they might incur through delayed reporting and not realising that they’ve exceeded their transfer balance cap”.

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