Government pushed to rule out 3-year audits
While there have been no announcements regarding the proposed three-yearly audit cycle since June last year, one technical expert has urged the government to confirm that the measure is firmly “off the table”.
As part of the 2018–19 federal budget, the government announced plans to change the annual audit requirement to a three-yearly requirement where SMSFs have a good history of good record keeping and compliance.
The proposed measure was met with considerable industry backlash, with many SMSF specialists highlighting various practical issues with changing the audit cycle.
After the Treasury released a discussion paper and completed consultation on the measure back in August 2018, the government did not issue draft legislation.
In June last year, senator Jane Hume said the government was still considering the outcomes of the consultation on the measure.
Deloitte partner and national SMSF leader Liz Westover said while the measure did not appear in the budget papers this year, she would still like to see the government provide certainty that the measure it now completely ruled out.
“I’m not aware of the government actually saying that it’s off the table,” Ms Westover said speaking at the SMSF Adviser Technical Strategy Masterclass.
“I would certainly welcome some absolute clarity on that to ensure it’s not back on the radar.”
Since the measure was first announced, the proposal to implement three-yearly audit cycles has been controversial, with a number of specialists in the industry criticising the idea.
KPMG warned that extending the audit cycle to three years may exacerbate compliance issues and the amount clients need to pay in penalties.
Others raised concerns that the proposal could also see increased activity by unscrupulous advisers and promoters targeting SMSFs with early release schemes.
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.