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Renewed calls to scrap ‘nonsense’ exit fee for auditors

aaron dunn new smsf
Miranda Brownlee
03 June 2022 — 1 minute read

The recent cancellation of 10 SMSF auditor registrations has seen renewed push to remove the cancellation fee for SMSF auditors.

In a public statement released last week, ASIC said it had cancelled the registration of 10 SMSF auditors after they repeatedly failed to lodge annual statements.

Speaking on a recent podcast, Smarter SMSF chief executive Aaron Dunn said the exorbitant deregistration fee for SMSF auditors is leading some auditors to decide to simply stop lodging their annual statements in order to be removed from the system automatically, rather than pay the $899 fee.

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The fee for cancelling an SMSF auditor registration was first imposed in 2018, with ASIC also imposing a $1,927 registration fee for SMSF auditors.

Mr Dunn said he is aware of auditors who simply refuse to pay the cancellation fee.

“There are auditors who have thought, ‘well, I don’t see the need to pay. I can just not lodge and then I’ll be booted out of the system because I no longer have any interest being an SMSF auditor’,” Mr Dunn noted.

“The reality is that some of those registration cancellations aren’t a representation of them actually doing anything underhand; it’s simply just a case of economics and saying, ‘well, why do I need to pay nearly $1,000 to no longer be an SMSF auditor’.”

Mr Dunn questioned the need for ASIV to impose a fee on auditors just so they can exit the system.

“I understand the statutory obligations, but [why] impose an amount of money that needs to be paid in order to be removed from the system,” he stated.

“It’s an absolute nonsense and needs to be fixed.”

The exit fee for SMSF auditor registrations has been a significant gripe for the industry since its introduction, with the accounting bodies and SMSF Association all calling for its removal.

In its pre-budget submission, the SMSF Association stated that the fee was a barrier to exiting the sector.

“Someone who is seeking to cancel their registration and exit the sector should be encouraged to do so and not encouraged to maintain their registration due to the cost,” the submission stated.

It also noted there was a significant disparity in the fees for individuals registered as company auditors versus those registered as SMSF auditors.

“We recommend that the cancellation fee that applies for approved SMSF auditors is removed, providing a clear pathway for individuals seeking to exit the sector. This should be implemented as a priority,” it stated.

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 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: [email protected]momentummedia.com.au
Renewed calls to scrap ‘nonsense’ exit fee for auditors
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