SMSF auditors to face $2K registration fee
The government has backtracked on its proposal to raise registration fees for SMSF auditors by over 3,000 per cent, opting for a slight reduction, but doubts continue to be raised over its potential to stymie competition.
Draft legislation released yesterday reveals that under the proposed fee-for-service model for ASIC, SMSF auditors will have to pay a one-off registration fee of $1,927, up from $107.
The new fees are a drop from the previously proposed $3,429 amount during the government’s first consultation period late last year.
Approved SMSF auditors applying to exit the sector will be hit with a deregistration fee of $899.
The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has hit back at the revised fee, believing it will continue to deter new entrants into the sector.
“It’s in the right direction at least and it is subject to further consultation and we’ll be arguing the same points that it is still a heck of a rise,” said IPA general manager of technical policy, Tony Greco.
“[The government] told us that the initial fee for SMSF auditor registration will be coming down to a lesser figure - we say that’s a step in the right direction but we still think given the number of auditors that are out there, we don’t want less auditors.
“There’s already a concentration of those services amongst large firms, we don’t want that concentration- we don’t want more barriers to entry for new auditors, we don’t want this trend to continue and having a fee of that magnitude restricts that,” he added.
“Auditor registration fees of that size might deter new entrants and further the concentration going forward and we've got to ask ourselves is that a good outcome for the SMSF sector?”
Last year, IPA chief executive Andrew Conway slammed the proposed fees as “exorbitant” and unnecessary, citing how the ATO already collects $259 from each SMSF to finance the SMSF monitoring role the ATO conducts on behalf of ASIC.
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) also criticised the proposed fee increase and instead suggested a tiered model where fees are only higher for incomplete or controversial applications.
Compulsory auditor registration was introduced in 2013 for all SMSF auditors, with the intention of booting auditors who dabble in SMSF-based services.