Government to make huge reduction to auditor cancellation fees
Following intense campaigning from the SMSF industry, the government plans to reduce the fee for cancelling SMSF auditor registrations by almost 80 per cent.
The government on Thursday issued draft regulations which remake the operation of the Superannuation Auditor Registration Imposition Regulations 2012.
These regulations prescribe fees that are payable to ASIC by SMSF auditors for services provided by ASIC including registration as an approved SMSF auditor, undertaking a competency examination and cancelling an SMSF auditor registration.
The draft regulations significantly reduce the fee for applying for registration as an approved SMSF auditor to be cancelled from the current $899 fee down to $193.
It also slightly reduces the fee for applying for conditions imposed on a registration to be varied or revoked under section 128D of the SIS Act.
However, the regulations slightly increase the fee for registering as an approved SMSF auditor up to $2,191. The current fee is $1,927.
The draft regulations are currently open for consultation. The regulations will commence on the day after registration.
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 a pre-budget submission earlier this year, 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.
Smarter SMSF chief executive Aaron Dunn previously stated that 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.
“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.
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.