‘Hit and miss’ access to TSB data continues to cause gripes
The SMSF industry continues to face hurdles with access to total superannuation balance information with some clients without MyGov accounts and professionals encountering a circuit of phone transfers when attempting to access the information.
Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Pitcher Partners managing partner for Newcastle Michael Minter said obtaining access to information about a client’s total superannuation balance is critical for providing certain types of advice, such as whether the client should make non-concessional contributions, but accessing this information remains difficult.
“If you’re the individual’s tax agent, then you may be able to get some information. But if you’re not the individual’s tax agent, then it becomes more difficult because you’re relying on the individual members to get the information off MyGov,” explained Mr Minter.
The reforms to super have added an additional layer of complexity to the system, and without checking the total superannuation balance for a client, SMSF professionals, he said, could provide the client with the wrong advice.
“It could just be a small super account that no one ever told you about or that you weren’t aware of that could trip you up. You may have given the client advice to make a non-concessional contribution and then suddenly you find out that they weren’t actually allowed to make that contribution,” Mr Minter warned.
“Given the fact that all this complexity has been added into the system, access to information that is fundamental for providing advice, needs to be made as easily available as possible.”
Mr Minter acknowledged that while the ATO is working on the issue and planning to make improvements, the system as it currently stands is less than ideal.
In some cases, Mr Minter said his firm has had to email the ATO or call them over the phone to obtain the information.
“We’ve found it’s a bit hit and miss at times depending on who you ring,” he said.
“We’ve had instances where we have rung the ATO and asked for the information and then you seem to be on a never-ending circuit of it being transferred from person to person until you end up with someone. That’s just from calling the number that they want you to call. It’s time consuming to actually have to go and do that. If we were able to actually access it off the ATO portal easily and just bring it up and interpret that information ourselves, that would be so much easier.”