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SMSFA concerned around indexation in budget

By Keeli Cambourne
May 14 2024
2 minute read
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While an amnesty on legacy pensions is top of the budget wishlist of the SMSF Association, there is also concern about the future of indexation around transfer balance caps.

CEO Peter Burgess said the association hopes to see an amnesty around legacy pensions to tie into the $3 million super cap legislation.

Last month, the SMSFA again urged the government to consider an amnesty, following an original announcement concerning legacy pensions in the 2021 Coalition budget.


“In the 2021 budget the then government said legacy pensions would be able to be commuted, converted or cashed out,” Burgess said.

“The way the $3 million cap will apply to those is messy and we would like to clean out as many of those issues before 2025 to give people time to restructure.”

Burgess said a new issue that will arise is how the government will now deal with reserves and taxation, which were not addressed in the 2021 budget.

He also expressed concern, describing himself as "nervous" about how the government will address indexation and TBCs. This concern arose following the Senate inquiry's revelation that it's not uncommon for caps not to be adjusted in response to inflation.

“Given that the $3 million cap won’t be indexed and given that TBC will move to $2 million and possibly higher we are nervous that the government may freeze indexation of that cap,” he said.

Tony Negline, superannuation and financial services leader for CA ANZ, said on the latest SMSF Adviser podcast he believes there may be announcements made around last year’s retirement consultation paper and the push for larger funds to carry more pension products for members.

“When we see an announcement about other product ideas the government is going to permit or allow funds to develop, it may also announce it will review pension valuation factors, or minimum factors for pensions overall,” he said.

“[That includes] account-based pensions which the government may adjust slightly so people are forced to take more money out when they’re younger, but maybe less money as they get older.”

Aaron Dunn, CEO of Smarter SMFS, said the Objective of Super legislation could be one issue that takes precedence in Tuesday’s budget announcement.

“The Objective of Super is still floating around and there have been elements to that, from the terminology point of view, that the government has referenced if we think about the right for retirement, so there could be a slant on that in terms of things like First Home Super Saver or tightening up the way money can be used for different surgeries,” he said.

Negline said he suspects the budget will make some announcements around superannuation, specifically around accessing funds for medical or dental treatments.

“The leakage in relation to those, whether or not the government is ready to release something about that in the budget is yet to be seen or maybe they might flag it and say, we're going to look at these rules and reform them,” he said.

“However, there are other issues. The SMSF Association has said it would like an amnesty for legacy pensions so that may get a run too.”

However, he believes the government has prioritised other "important" aspects of superannuation policy but plans to revisit these issues if successful in the next federal election.

“It’s no secret that I think the government needs to put some bones around superannuation, especially things like payday super, so we may see something in relation to that,” he said.

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