ATO reveals jump in contraventions reported for FY20
The number of contraventions reported in auditor contravention reports for the 2019–20 financial year jumped by 31 per cent from the previous year, according to recent ATO figures.
ATO director Kellie Grant stated that during the 2018-19 financial year, the ATO received auditor contravention reports (ACRs) reporting 27,925 contraventions for around 10,361 SMSFs.
“As of 30 June 2020, we actually received ACRs reporting 36,716 regulatory contraventions by 12,664 SMSFs, so it really has jumped there,” Ms Grant stated at the Tax Institute National Superannuation Conference.
“On average, the most common contraventions reported in the ACRs received up until 30 June 2020 involved loans at 24.4 per cent, in-house assets at 17.9 per cent of the ACRs lodged and separation of assets at 12.7 per cent.”
Ms Grant said these contraventions also accounted for the highest proportion of total dollar value of contraventions reported.
For the 2019–20 financial year, the ATO imposed $4.1 million in administrative penalties, compared with $3.1 million the previous financial year and $1.7 million for the 2017–18 financial year.
The ATO also imposed 79 enforceable undertakings, issued 133 education directions, 87 rectification directions, 25 notices of non-compliance and disqualified 221 trustees.
“[These figures] show that we’ve been a lot more proactive also in imposing administrative penalties and issuing directions to trustees to rectify and receive education so that they can be remediated and remain in the system,” she said.
In this current environment, Ms Grant said the ATO’s focus is to provide support and assistance to trustees.
“We recognise that now is not the time to continue our usual audit programs, so we’re only engaging with clients who initiate contact with us and that’s mainly through our voluntary disclosure program,” she said.
“If [SMSF professionals] have any clients with unresolved compliance issues, the best advice I can offer them is to reach out to us and take advantage of our voluntary disclosure service.
“Where SMSF trustees who’ve made genuine errors come forward and engage with us through this service, we will endeavour to resolve the issues reported, and that will minimise the financial penalties that might otherwise apply if we commence an audit on these funds at some point in the future.”
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.