Trustee disqualifications see fourfold increase
Over 300 SMSF trustees have been disqualified this financial year so far year as the ATO steps up its compliance action on illegal early access and non-lodgment.
For the 2022–23 financial year so far, the ATO has disqualified a total of 330 individuals from acting as a trustee or director of a corporate trustee for contravening super laws, based on published notices in the Government Notices Gazette.
In the September quarter alone there were 261 individuals disqualified. This is more than the total number of disqualifications for the 2021–22 income year which saw 252 individuals disqualified.
This also represents more than a fourfold increase from the previous September 2021 quarter which saw 54 trustees disqualified.
There has been 79 individuals disqualified this quarter so far.
Last month, ATO assistant commissioner, SMSF risk and strategy, Justin Micale warned that there would be an increase in the number of trustee disqualifications due to trustees illegally accessing their super.
Non-lodgment also remains a big focus for the regulator, he said, with the ATO continuing to deploy its three strikes letter campaign.
“We have just disqualified 104 trustees who failed to respond to our first batch letters,” he cautioned.
“We also have a specific focus on tax agents and auditors who have their own personal SMSF lodgment obligations outstanding.
I realise it is a busy industry, but we do hold professionals to a higher standard when it comes to meeting their tax and regulatory obligations.”
Mr Micale said the ATO has issued red warning letters to this group and will soon be acting on those who have failed to respond.
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.