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Trustee behaviour in focus as ATO wins in Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Katarina Taurian
21 June 2018 — 1 minute read

The tax office is stressing the importance of trustees being a fit and proper person, following a favourable ruling in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Last month, the AAT affirmed the commissioner properly exercised his discretion to disqualify a trustee, George Hart, from acting as a trustee, investment manager or custodian, or a responsible officer of a body corporate that is a trustee, investment manager or custodian of a superannuation entity.

The ruling, which you can access in full here, illustrates various examples of deliberate and reckless breaches which affirmed the commissioner’s disqualification call.


The “fit and proper person” test is of particular importance to the ATO, and deputy commissioner James O’Halloran told SMSF Adviser this case should serve as a reminder of the behavioural obligations of SMSF trustees under the SIS Act.

For example, in disqualifying Mr Hart, the commissioner noted concerns about his “lack of candour” in his dealings with the tax office.

“Being a trustee is an obligation, it's not just cavalier attitude,” said Mr O’Halloran in an ATO podcast this week.

The magnitude of obligations a trustee has, as set out in the trustee declaration form, should be reiterated to current and prospective clients at this time of year, Mr O’Halloran said.

“It’s a timely reminder about the ongoing importance of a trustee’s role in the creation of an SMSF,” he told SMSF Adviser.

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Trustee behaviour in focus as ATO wins in Administrative Appeals Tribunal
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