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Tax Office statistics point to uptick in SMSF establishments

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Miranda Brownlee
13 October 2020 — 1 minute read

The ATO’s most recent SMSF statistical report indicates that net establishments of SMSFs for the last financial year were at their highest since 2015–16 income year.

The ATO’s SMSF Quarterly Statistical Report for June 2020 indicates that net establishments for SMSFs for the 2019–20 income year could be as high as 18,540, which would bring the total number of SMSFs to 593,375.

This was the highest number of net establishments since the 2015–16 income years when net establishments reached 19,325.


The ATO acknowledged that there can be a time lag between when the establishment or wind-up occurs and when it receives notification from the SMSF, and it anticipates that the number of both establishments and wind-ups will increase as more notifications are received.

The figure for 2019–20 represents a significant jump in net establishments from the prior financial year when net establishments stood at 4,694.

The September quarter saw the greatest number of establishments of SMSFs. 6,350 funds were set up while 625 funds were wound up. The March quarter also saw a significant number of establishments, with 5,621 funds established and 917 funds wound up.

The ATO statistics also estimate that there are around 1,107,268 SMSF members in total now.

Despite the government’s plans to increase the number of members allowed in an SMSF, the number of three and four-member funds has actually seen a slight decline.

In 2014–15, three and four-member funds made up 3.8 per cent and 4 per cent of total SMSFs, respectively.

In 2018–19, the percentage of three-member funds had fallen to 3.4 per cent while four-member funds fell to 3.6 per cent. This data was extracted on 14 August 2020.

Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee


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.

You can email Miranda on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tax Office statistics point to uptick in SMSF establishments
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