ATO taking tougher action on late lodgements
While late lodgements have been a key compliance focus for the ATO for a while, it has ramped up its approach in recent months in terms of withholding fund details from Super Fund Lookup, an SMSF auditor cautions.
Speaking to SMSF Adviser, BDO partner, superannuation, Shirley Schaefer said that in the past few months, the ATO has been much more active in terms of removing registration details from Super Fund Lookup where the fund has more than two years of late lodgements outstanding.
Where this occurs, it can make things very difficult for the client, Ms Schaefer said.
“All of a sudden they won’t be able to get SuperStream contributions through or clearing house contributions through or rollovers done, particularly where they’re rolling in or out of an APRA-regulated fund,” she said.
Once the lodgements are brought back up to date, it will still take a minimum of 21 days for the fund’s registration details to be put back up, she said, which can be problematic for funds that already have transactions pending.
“They’ve certainly been a lot more active around this than they have been in the past, and I suspect that will continue,” she said.
The ATO has been closely monitoring the late lodgement of SMSF returns for a number of years, warning SMSFs back in 2014 that it would be taking action against funds with two or more years’ worth of overdue returns.
Since the launch of its non-lodgement program last year, the ATO has seen a reduction in the number of non-lodgers across the SMSF population, with the number of overdue lodgers falling from 87,000 down to 66,000 in February this year.
The ATO has had a strong focus on SMSF professionals that have fallen behind on their obligations in particular, with the Tax Office taking action against hundreds or tax agents and SMSF auditors outstanding SMSF returns.
Last month, ATO assistant commissioner Dana Fleming said following the ATO’s activity in this area, over 1,000 late returns were lodged by tax agents.
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.