There’s hope for yearly audits, says ATO
The contentious three-year audit cycle proposal has copped significant opposition, and the ATO believes the current annual cycle is a more popular option.
In the federal budget last year, the government took the industry by surprise in announcing an intended move to three-year audit cycles from the standard annual audit.
The government has yet to reach a decision on whether it proceeds with the measure. However, the ATO said that it has “very clearly” heard the significant backlash from the SMSF profession.
“We don’t know what the government is going to do about audits, but it has heard the concerns of [the] industry very, very clearly,” said assistant commissioner at the ATO Dana Fleming at the Accounting Business Expo in Sydney.
“I think annual lodgements are here to say,” she said.
Belinda Aisbett from Super Sphere said that superannuation annual returns were insufficient for assessing eligibility for three-year audits, given that they are lodged directly by the trustee of tax agent and are not reviewed by the auditor.
Concerns have also been raised about the fact that the three-year audit cycle may exacerbate the amount a client has to fork out if they face compliance issues.
Others fear that the proposal could also see increased activity by unscrupulous advisers and promoters targeting SMSFs with early release schemes.
“We have seen many examples of trustees facing a personal or business crisis who all of a sudden borrow large amounts of monies from an SMSF bank account,” TriSuper Auditors director Joel Curry previously told SMSF Adviser.