2022-23 Federal Budget Update – A quiet night for SMSFs

This year’s Federal Budget cost-of-living relief, job growth and women’s security. The key measures that you should be aware of as an SMSF trustee are outlined below. Should you wish to discuss how these may impact your personal circumstances or retirement plans please contact me to arrange a time to chat.

Extension of the temporary reduction in superannuation minimum draw down rates

The Government has extended the 50 per cent reduction of the superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products for a further year to 30 June 2023. The minimum drawdown requirements determine the minimum amount of a pension that a retiree must draw from their superannuation in order to qualify for tax concessions.

Given ongoing volatility, this change will allow retirees to avoid selling assets to satisfy the minimum drawdown requirements.

Digitalising trust income reporting and processing

The Government will digitalise trust and beneficiary income reporting and processing, by allowing all trust tax return filers the option to lodge income tax returns electronically, increasing pre-filling and automating ATO assurance processes. The measure will commence from 1 July 2024, subject to advice from software providers about their capacity to deliver.

Trust income reporting and assessment calculation processes have not been automated to the same extent as individual or company tax returns, resulting in longer processing times and limited pre-filling opportunities. This measure will reduce the compliance burdens on SMSF trustees (taxpayers), reduce processing times and enhance ATO processes. The Government will consult with affected stakeholders, tax practitioners and digital service providers to finalise the policy scope, design and specifications.

 

DIN (Director Identification Number) – SMSF Association

Director Identification Numbers (director IDs). The requirement to obtain a director ID also applies to individuals who have an SMSF with a corporate trustee. With over 60% of all SMSFs having a corporate trustee, the directors will need to apply for their own director ID before the prescribed deadlines. The SMSF Association has provided regular, member-only updates and resources to help you communicate this change with your SMSF clients.

What is a Director Identification Number (director ID) and do I need one?

You may have heard about the new rules which require directors of Australian companies to obtain a Director Identification Number (director ID). The new requirement to obtain a director ID also applies to individuals who have an SMSF with a corporate trustee, which is why I wanted to bring this new requirement to your attention. All directors of your corporate trustee will need to apply for their own director ID by the prescribed deadline.

An application for a director ID must be made individually and only by those who are applying for the director ID. As you are required to prove your identity as part of the process, our firm, or any other third party, is not able to apply for a director ID on your behalf.

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What is a Director Identification Number (director ID) and do I need one?

You may have heard about the new rules which require directors of Australian companies to obtain a Director Identification Number (director ID). The new requirement to obtain a director ID also applies to individuals who have an SMSF with a corporate trustee, which is why I wanted to bring this new requirement to your attention. All directors of your corporate trustee will need to apply for their own director ID by the prescribed deadline.

This document provides some important information about Director Identification Numbers, including how to apply for one and by when.

An application for a director ID must be made individually and only by those who are applying for the director ID. As you are required to prove your identity as part of the process, our firm, or any other third party, is not able to apply for a director ID on your behalf.

What is a Director Identification Number (director ID)?

A director ID is a unique identifier that directors need to apply for, like a tax file number. If you are a director of multiple companies, you are only required to have one director ID that will be used across all companies. You will keep your director ID forever even if you change companies, resign altogether from your director role(s), change your name, or move overseas.

Why do I need a Director Identification Number?

As part of the Government’s Digital Business Plan, it is rolling out a Modernising Business Registers program which includes the introduction of director IDs. The main purpose is to prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities as well as to improve the efficiency of the system by making it easier to meet registration obligations and trace director activity and relationships. By improving the integrity and security of business data it is expected to reduce the risk of unlawful activity. (more…)

Boutique Accounting Business of the Year 2021 – Eastern Australia, Client Service Excellence Award 2021

Winner!


We have won the Boutique Accounting Business of the Year 2021 – Eastern Australia, Client Service Excellence Award 2021 (Small Business Awards 2120 by Corporate Vision).


This represents our hard work and dedication. Their merit led selection process narrows down nominees in order to seek out exclusively the very best that the Small Business industry has to offer on a global scale.

Setting up an SMSF – What do you need to consider?

Setting up an SMSF can be complicated.  Not getting it right can materially affect your financial situation and retirement plans.

The first question you need to be sure about is whether an SMSF is the right fit.  Seeking specialised financial advice can help you determine this answer. Some considerations include:

Low balances

You must ensure you have an appropriate superannuation balance before considering an SMSF. While a low balance can be a red flag, it is not always a barrier to entry.  Establishing an SMSF with a small balance may not be in your best interests. This is because SMSFs tend to be more cost-efficient with larger balances. Therefore, before rolling over your superannuation balance to an SMSF, you should establish and justify that by doing so you are likely to end up in a better position in retirement.

Motivation

You must also understand your motivation for establishing an SMSF. The most common motivation SMSF trustees indicate is control. Control of an SMSF allows individuals to have a wide range of investment choice, flexibility and engagement with their superannuation. However, superannuation law is complex and you need to ensure your ambitions are allowed under the law and will be able to achieved in an SMSF.

Costs and time

SMSFs incur a wide range of costs in establishment and the day to day running of the fund. Ensure you are across the estimated establishment, accounting and audit costs that will be incurred by your SMSF. Speak with your advisers so you are across all other incidental costs, which unlike large super funds generally occur with fixed rates rather than as a proportion of your balance.

SMSFs also require dedicated attention from trustees which will take time out of your daily life to manage. Understanding from the outset your legislated responsibilities and obligations before establishing an SMSF is important.

Establishment process

Once you have decided that an SMSF is right for you, the process of establishing the fund can commence. A Specialist SMSF adviser is the best person to help you with this process which generally involves choosing a trustee structure, selecting a trust deed, completing the ATO registration,  opening a unique fund bank account, getting an electronic service address and arranging for rollovers to the fund to occur.

Investment Strategy and Insurance

Upon establishment you must also create an investment strategy which must be regularly reviewed.

Your investment strategy should be in writing and must consider:

•             Diversification (investing in a range of assets and asset classes).

•             The liquidity of the fund’s assets (how easily they can be converted to cash to meet fund expenses).

•             The fund’s ability to pay benefits (when members retire) and other costs it incurs.

•             The members’ needs and circumstances (for example, their age and retirement needs).

•             Whether to hold insurance in your SMSF.

Property investment

It is also common for SMSF trustees to be motivated by investing in property when establishing an SMSF. You should be sure that any investment in property, particularly when gearing is involved, is appropriate for your circumstances. Holding properties in an SMSF can also require some complex structures to ensure the law is being followed and specialist advice may be needed before making an investment choice. A lack of diversification, low balances and inappropriate property investments can have a detrimental impact on your retirement savings.

How can we help?

If you are considering an SMSF, please feel free to give me a call to arrange a time to meet so that we can discuss your particular requirements and circumstances in more detail.

Superannuation death benefits – Review succession plans

1 July 2021, saw the Transfer Balance Cap (TBC) indexed for the first time to $1.7 million from the original $1.6 million limit which was introduced on 1 July 2017. Indexation of the TBC means there is no longer a single cap that applies to all individuals. Instead, every member has their own personal TBC of between $1.6 million and $1.7 million, depending on their circumstances. If you are already in receipt of a pension, it is important to review your personal TBC and seek help if you unsure how to calculate, or locate, your personal TBC

The TBC not only imposes a limit on the amount of capital that you can transfer to the retirement phase of super, but it also has an impact on what happens to your superannuation when you die. The $1.7 million TBC applies to pensions paid to your dependants after you die (called death benefit pensions or reversionary pensions) meaning it has a substantial impact on estate planning. 

When it comes to the TBC, the main issues that you need to plan for in the event of death include:

  • If your death benefit will be paid as a death benefit pension, your beneficiary’s TBC will be relevant in determining how much can be paid as a pension to them. Any excess death benefit above their TBC must be paid as a lump sum to them.  This limits the amount of money that can now be retained within the superannuation environment upon your death.
  • Where your dependant has already used some of their TBC, you may need to consider strategies which maximise the amount of your benefits that can remain in the SMSF on your death and minimize the amount that would need to be paid to your beneficiaries as a lump sum.
  • The special rules which delay when the reversionary pension counts towards the new recipient’s TBC and the differences between how reversionary and non-reversionary pensions are counted towards the new recipient’s TBC.
  • The special rules that operate to modify the TBC of a child in receipt of a death benefit pension to ensure that their personal TBC is not exhausted.
  • The ability for a recipient of a death benefit pension to rollover the pension to another super fund (note, to satisfy the regulatory rules, a new death benefit pension must be commenced in the new fund or the amount must be withdrawn from the superannuation environment as a lump sum death benefit).

Given the significant shift in the landscape with respect to SMSFs and estate planning, we also strongly recommend that trustees have their SMSF trust deed reviewed to ensure maximum flexibility when dealing with excess TBC amounts, rollover of death benefits, reversionary pensions and child pensions. This should be done alongside the review of any binding death benefit nomination(s) you have in place to ensure that they too are valid and provide the certainty in how your death benefits will be dealt with upon your death.

The payment and tax treatment of death benefits paid from an SMSF has traditionally been a complex area, with the need to obtain advice from a specialist. With the recent introduction of the TBC, the need for specialist advice has never been more important.

Moving from Working Holiday Maker to Temporary Skills Shortage 482

When you are moving from Working Holiday Maker (WHHM) Visa to a Temporary Skills Shortage 482 (TSS482) you need to ensure that you complete the attached Withholding Declaration form and give it to your employer.

The ATO receives your tax status from your employer, so without doing this you could end up under or over paying tax. It could come as quite a shock when you are completing your end-of-year tax returns.

“If you’re on a working holiday visa, you’ll be taxed at 15% for the first $37,000 you earn. If your residency status changes during the financial year, you’ll need to notify your employer by completing a withholding declaration to notify them of the change in your residency status and you elect to start claiming the tax-free threshold.

When your residency status changes partway through a financial year, you’ll be entitled to a pro-rata tax-free threshold based on the number of months you’ve been a resident of Australia. If you’re concerned you won’t have enough tax withheld based on your situation, you can request extra tax to be withheld by completing an upwards variation form.”

(https://community.ato.gov.au/t5/Working-visa/Tax-moving-from-a-417-to-482-TSS-Visa/td-p/13622)

Should you have any queries in relation to your working visa please contact our office at foxton@foxtonfin.com.

SMSF Trustee Program

An SMSF is a very important financial planning decision. When operated within the rules they provide a powerful wealth creation tool, however too often SMSF trustees drift ‘outside the flags’ and end up in need of rescue.

To ensure you ‘stay between the flags’ complete our comprehensive SMSF Trustee Program, which comprises 7 lessons. This course is suitable if you have received an education direction from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and are required to complete an approved ATO education course.

Foxton Financial is up for an Award – IPA Practice of the Year Award

We have some exciting news, Foxton Financial is up for an Award!

We are a member of the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) and each year they sponsor two very important awards, namely the IPA Member of the Year Award and the IPA Practice of the Year Award.  I am proud to tell you that we have been nominated for the 2021 Practice of the Year Award.

The nomination recognises the contributions we have made to Accounting Industry as well as our community service work.

We are hoping we can count on your support by way of an endorsement, we know you are busy, but you have helped us win this award in 2020 and 2019. It would be a HUGE achievement if we could make it 3 years running!

If you could kindly take 2-3 minutes to complete a brief survey supporting our nomination that would be greatly appreciated.

To complete the short survey please click here.

If you would like to learn more about the IPA, please click here.

Please do not hesitate to ask should you have any question or concerns.

Thank you in advance for your support and time.

Is your SMSF ready for the End of the Financial Year (EOFY)?

With the end of the financial year fast approaching, now is the perfect time to make some final checks and ensure everything is in order for your SMSF before 30 June. The following are some matters that you might want to know more about, particularly if you have taken advantage of some of the COVID-19 relief measures.

If there is anything in this paper that you are unsure about, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your specific circumstances in more detail.

Contributions

From 1 July 2020, if you were under the age of 67 you were able to make voluntary contributions without meeting a work test. This was previously restricted to people below age 65. In addition, if 2020-21 is the first year that you no longer satisfied the work test, you may still be able to make voluntary contributions under the work test exemption if you had a total superannuation balance (TSB) of less than $300,000 on 30 June 2020.

Therefore, it is important to review your contribution strategies before 30 June 2021, to make sure you maximise your contribution opportunities whilst ensuring you are below your contribution caps.

Non-concessional (after-tax) contributions are limited to $100,000 for the 2021 financial year and only available if your TSB was less than $1.6m on 30 June 2020. 

If you were under 65 at any time during the 2020-21 financial year, you can potentially contribute up to three times the non-concessional cap (or $300 000) at once. The maximum bring forward non-concessional contribution amount you can make will depend on your TSB on 30 June 2020. Please note that draft legislation to allow older individuals to make up to three years of non-concessional superannuation contributions under the bring forward rules, has yet to be passed.

Concessional (before-tax) contributions are limited to $25,000 for the 2021 year. You may also be eligible, subject to your TSB, to make larger concessional contributions if you have any unused concessional contribution cap from the 2019 financial year onwards.

Where you have made personal contributions and intend to claim a tax deduction in 2020-21, it is important that you reconcile all employer contributions and salary sacrificed amounts to superannuation to make sure you do not breach the annual concessional contributions cap. It is also important to ensure that the relevant notice requirements are met so that you can claim a deduction.

These annual limits will increase on 1 July 2021 to $110,000 for non-concessional contributions and $27,500 for concessional contributions.

The Government also announced in the latest Federal Budget that the work test will be removed altogether to allow voluntary non concessional contributions and salary sacrificed contributions to be made up to the age of 75. If passed, these changes are expected to be available from 1 July 2022.

Investments & COVID Relief Measures

SMSF trustees are required to value the fund’s assets at their market value as at 30 June each year in the annual financial accounts. Although it can be a straightforward process to value assets when it comes to term deposits or listed shares and managed funds, it can be quite difficult to ascertain the value of real estate or private companies and units trusts. When valuing SMSF assets, you must comply with the ATO valuation guidelines for SMSFs. Contact us if you have any questions or require assistance.

For the 2020-21 financial year, getting the value of the fund’s assets correct is important in assessing the impact of COVID-19 on your superannuation benefits. It is even more important for SMSFs relying of the ATO’s in-house asset COVID-19 relief. These SMSFs will have till 30 June 2022 to ensure that in-house asset levels are reduced to less than the allowable 5% limit.

For those SMSFs that took advantage of the property relief measures the ATO implemented to reduce rent in 2020-21, any form of rental relief must end by 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021, COVID-19 will not be a valid reason for any rental relief and SMSF trustees will need to ensure that all rent is at an arm’s length rate.

For those SMSFs with a limited recourse borrowing arrangement (LRBA), there are additional considerations.  Where your SMSF was provided with COVID-19 loan repayment relief to assist in meeting loan repayment obligations, this relief should cease by 30 June 2021. From 1 July 2021, any LRBA should revert to the original terms of the loan to ensure that the arm’s length requirements continue to be met. Where the COVID-19 loan relief has resulted in a variation to the original term of the LRBA, provided that interest continues to accrue on the loan and you repay any deferred principal and interest repayments in accordance with the varied terms, the LRBA will be considered to be consistent with an arm’s length dealing.

Meeting new pension requirements

To help manage the economic impact of COVID-19, the Government reduced the minimum drawdown requirements by half on account-based pensions and market-linked pensions for 2020-21. The Government recently announced the 50% reduced minimum pension drawdown requirements will be extended for 2021-22.

Whether or not you have taken advantage of this reduction, it is important that you reconcile all pension payments received to ensure you do not underpay the minimum pension payment required by 30 June 2021. Where this requirement is not met, SMSFs will be subject to 15% tax on pension investments instead of being tax free.

All pension withdrawals for 2020-21 must be paid in cash by 30 June 2021 and cannot be accrued or adjusted using a journal entry so it is important to attend to this as soon as possible. For example, if you are making pension payments via an electronic transfer, you need to ensure that online transfers show the money coming out of the fund’s bank account by no later than 30 June.

$1.6 million transfer balance cap and total superannuation balance

Ensuring that member’s benefits are shown at market value is important in calculating each member’s TSB and in determining whether a member will exceed their transfer balance cap (TBC).

The $1.6 million TBC applies to SMSF members who are receiving a pension and limits the amount of tax-free assets that can support a pension. To track the relevant events against your personal TBC, SMSFs are required to lodge with the ATO a transfer balance account report (TBAR). The TBAR is separate to an SMSF’s annual return and TBAR lodgment obligations, depend on members’ TSBs.

With the general TBC set to index to $1.7million on 1 July 2021 it is more important than ever to ensure that all your TBAR lodgments are up to date and that you seek help in correctly calculating your entitlement to any proportional indexation of the TBC.

How can we help?

If you have any questions, require assistance or would like further clarification with any aspect of your end of year superannuation matters, please feel free to contact us to discuss your particular requirements in more detail. Alternatively, you can refer to the SMSF Association’s trustee education platform, SMSF Connect.