ASF Audits’ general manager for technical services, Shelley Banton, believes the tax office’s statistics suggest SMSF auditors could take a more professional and commercial approach to their reporting processes.
She stressed this shouldn’t be in lieu of compliance in any instance — rather, a general avoidance of red tape and unnecessary documentation.
“Statistics show there are nine major contravention types which include multiple reportable sections and regulations, and at least eight lumped into an ‘other’ category that represents only 3.7 per cent of the total number of contraventions lodged,” Ms Banton said.
“When these eight reportable sections and regulations account for less than 1 per cent of the value of all reported breaches, SMSF auditors might need to rethink how they’re applying the reporting matrix under which they work,” she said.
“When the hidden time and cost of dealing with SMSF documentation adds no direct value to the retirement outcomes of SMSF trustees, finding a commercial balance between ensuring a fund is compliant and drowning in paperwork becomes a challenge for SMSF auditors,” she added.
Further, although clients often use silence to buy themselves some time, Ms Banton reminded trustees and professionals alike that it’s particularly unhelpful if clients are evasive throughout the audit process.
“We need to ensure that SMSF trustees are reported to the ATO when they are unresponsive or act in a hostile and uncooperative manner, particularly when there are other high-risk reportable breaches present,” Ms Banton said.
You can read Ms Banton’s assessment in its entirety here.