1 July 2022 – Superannuation contribution changes

Several key super changes which may impact your ability to contribute to your SMSF, are set to take effect from 1 July 2022. These changes create opportunities for all SMSF members, young and old, to grow their retirement savings.

What are the changes?

Originally announced in the 2021 Federal Budget, the following changes apply from 1 July 2022:

  • Individuals up to the age of 74, will no longer need to meet a work test to make voluntary, non-deductible, contributions
  • Individuals up to the age of 75, with a total super balance under $1.7 million, will have the opportunity to make large non-concessional contributions (possibly up to three years’ worth) in a single year
  • The minimum age to make downsizer contributions will reduce to 60, allowing more individuals to use the proceeds from the sale of their home, to fund their retirement
  • The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) rate will increase to 10.5% p.a. for all and the $450 minimum income threshold for SG contributions, will be removed
  • Under the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) eligible individuals will have access to an extra $20,000 of voluntary contributions to fund a home deposit.

How can you benefit from these changes?

(more…)

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.

 

Understanding self-managed super fund performance

New research released

When used in the right circumstances a self-managed super fund (SMSF) can provide important benefits for individuals looking for greater levels of investment flexibility and control over how their super savings are invested.

New research released by the University of Adelaide shows an SMSF may be a suitable option for individuals with lower superannuation balances than previously thought.

In its report, titled “Understanding self-managed super fund performance” the University of Adelaide used data from over 318,000 SMSFs between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2019, to identify the minimum amount of capital required for an SMSF to achieve comparable investment returns with much larger funds.

(more…)

A Wonderful Write up Regarding our new 2021 Awards

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

Accredited with two awards that are both truly representative of the culture and values of the business, Foxton Financial is an accounting firm like no other. Working tirelessly to ensure clients are not only satisfied but are thoroughly impressed with the exemplary service, the firm has nurtured an almost peerless reputation. With all of this in mind, we took a closer look at the history, ethos and future of Foxton Financial to find out more. (more…)

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.

Is your SMSF adequately diversified?

SMSF trustees need to truly understand diversification and better diversify their portfolios.

The benefits of a well-diversified portfolio are numerous but the key ones that SMSF trustees should focus on are the benefits of mitigating volatility and short-term downside investment risks, preserving capital and the long-run benefits of higher overall returns. By spreading an SMSF’s investments across different asset classes and markets offering different risks and returns, SMSFs can better position themselves for a secure retirement.

However, did you know that 82% of SMSF trustees believe that diversification is important but in practice many do not achieve it?

This is because half the SMSF population cite barriers to achieving diversification. The top being that it is not a primary goal for SMSF trustees, and they believe they have a lack of funds to implement it.

Furthermore, 36% of SMSF trustees say they have made a significant (10%) asset allocation change to their SMSF over the last 12 months. This demonstrates that SMSFs may not be actively restructuring their portfolio on an annual basis to respond to changing market conditions.

Another clear problem regarding diversification is the amount of SMSFs with half or more of their SMSF invested in a single investment. SMSF trustees say they primarily invest in shares to achieve diversification in their SMSF, while just a quarter say they invest in at least four asset classes to achieve this.

The bias and significant allocation to domestic SMSF equities conversely may highlight the fact that SMSFs are not adequately diversified, especially across international markets and other asset classes.

So what can you do?

Some of the steps you, with the help of an SMSF Specialist, can take to diversify your retirement savings and control your investments in a disciplined and planned way include:

  • Ensuring there is a clear and demonstrable retirement purposes in the choices you make.
  • Ensuring you have an investment objective and a strategy to achieve that objective in place.
  • Reviewing your portfolio and assessing it against the objectives you have set as often as you feel is necessary.
  • Minimising concentration to any one asset class.
  • Ensuring your Australian share portfolio is sufficiently diversified.
  • Considering the benefits of geographic diversification.
  • Ensuring your cash allocation is appropriate.
  • Considering the benefits of exchange traded funds, listed investment companies and other digital investment platforms that allow low cost access to different markets.

Always remember to document your actions and decisions, as well as your reasons, and keep them as a record in order to demonstrate that you have satisfied your obligations as a trustee.

Given the importance of having an appropriately diversified portfolio and its impacts on quality of life in retirement trustees ought to consider professional assistance in managing this important aspect of an SMSF.

How can we help?

If you need assistance with diversification with your fund, please feel free to contact us so that we can discuss your particular circumstances in more detail, or refer to the SMSF Association Trustee Knowledge Centre.

When did you last review your SMSF’s investment strategy?

You may be aware that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has issued letters to nearly 18,000 SMSF trustees as part of a campaign to ensure trustees are aware of their investment obligations.

Of key concern is ensuring that trustees have considered diversification and liquidity of their assets when formulating and executing their fund’s investment strategy.

Importantly, it must be noted that the ATO letters are not an attempt to regulate and limit the control and freedom that SMSF trustees have but rather ensuring that if trustees wish to invest their assets in a certain way that they must clearly articulate their reasons for doing so.

An investment strategy should be considering the SMSF’s blueprint when dealing with the fund’s assets to ensure the SMSF’s investment objectives and members’ goals are met. It provides the parameters to ensure you invest your money in accordance with that strategy. This is where the ATO has a primary function to ensure that trustees act in accordance with these obligations.

An SMSF investment strategy must take into account the following items:

  • The risks involving in making, holding and realising the SMSFs investments, their expected return and cash flow requirements of your SMSF.
  • The diversification and composition of your SMSF investments.
  • The liquidity of your SMSF investments, having regard to expected cash flow requirements.
  • The SMSFs ability to pay your current and future liabilities, including benefits to the members.
  • Considering whether to hold insurance cover for each member of your SMSF.

An important requirement for you as trustee of your SMSF is to have an investment objective and a strategy to achieve that objective in place, before you start to make decisions about how you want to invest your SMSF money.

Of equal importance is that the investment objective and strategy is not set in stone. You can choose to change the investment objectives you have set for your SMSF at any time.

It’s not uncommon for SMSFs with lower member balances to find diversification a challenge as there is limited money to invest. Nonetheless, you are still required to demonstrate that you adequately understand and mitigate the associated investment risks.

If you find yourself in this position, it is important your investment strategy reflects these risks.

For example, if you have invested in a large illiquid asset such as real property which may form the majority of your fund, it is timely to ensure your strategy reflects the concentration and liquidity risk associated with this investment.

Where you have in place an adequate investment strategy that deals with these risks and can provide the necessary evidence to support your investment decisions, no further action is expected.

Where your fund has not complied with its investment strategy requirements under superannuation law, you may be liable to administrative penalties being imposed by the ATO, as Regulator of the SMSF sector.

Your investment strategy does need to be reviewed at least once a year and this will be evidenced by your approved SMSF auditor. It is also important to review your strategy whenever the circumstances of any of your members change or as often as you feel it is necessary. The following practical tips will help you keep on top of your obligations:

  • Put your investment objective and strategy in writing
  • Set an investment objective that you can comfortable achieve with the underlying investments you are comfortable to invest in
  • There is no template for an investment object and strategy, but make sure they reflect how you intent to invest your SMSF money
  • The investments you actually make must be accommodated by the investment strategy you have set
  • Most importantly, document your actions and decisions, as well as your reasons, and keep them as a record in order to demonstrate that you have indeed satisfied your obligations as a trustee in this important area

How much money do you need to start an SMSF?

New research released

SMSFs are not for everyone, but for those individuals where an SMSF is entirely appropriate for them, the benefits can be considerable.

In the context of ongoing public debate regarding the appropriate minimum size for an SMSF, new research has been provided to provide insights into the true costs of running an SMSF. And the research shows SMSFs are cheaper to run than many people may think.

The findings allow SMSF trustees and potential SMSF trustees to compare appropriate estimates of fees for differing SMSF balances with institutional superannuation funds (commonly referred to as APRA regulated funds).

The costs include establishment, annual compliance costs, statutory fees and some investment management fees. Direct investment fees have been excluded.

What does the research tell us?

SMSFs with less than $100,000 are not competitive in comparison to APRA regulated funds (SMSFs of this size would generally only be appropriate if they were expected to grow to a competitive size within a reasonable time).

SMSFs with $100,000 to $150,000 are competitive with APRA regulated funds (SMSFs of this size can be competitive provided the Trustees use one of the cheaper service providers or undertake some of the administration themselves).

SMSFs with $200,000 to $500,000s are competitive with APRA regulated funds even for full administration. (SMSFs above $250,000 become a competitive alternative provided the Trustees undertake some of the administration, or, if seeking full administration, choose one of the cheaper services).

SMSFs with $500,000 or more are generally the cheapest alternative regardless of the administrative options taken. (For SMSFs with only accumulation accounts, the fees at all complexity levels are lower than the lowest fees of APRA regulated funds).

This research highlights that SMSFs with a low complexity can begin to become cost-effective at $100,000. This is a significant departure from what many had believed to be the case. For simple funds, $200,000 is a point where SMSFs can become cost competitive with APRA regulated funds or even cheaper if a low cost admin provider is used. With the proposed expansion to six member SMSFs, we may see many more take up this option at this threshold.

Comparing 2 member funds

From a cost perspective, the real benefit of an SMSF is when it achieves scale in balance and this can occur when members pool their superannuation savings.  The below comparison can be used to grasp the ranges you might fall into.

Combined BalanceSMSF Compliance Admin (2 members)APRA regulated fund Low fees (2 members)
$50,000$1,689$503
$100,000$1,690$863
$150,000$1,691$1,216
$200,000$1,693$1,566
$250,000$1,694$1,942
$300,000$1,696$2,301
$400,000$1,699$3,013
$500,000$1,703$3,725

But it’s more than cost

When determining whether an SMSF is right for you, your analysis must go further than just a simple comparison of the costs versus APRA Regulated Funds. It should also factor in your retirement and income goals and whether you have the desire, time and expertise to take on the role of an SMSF trustee. It’s also worth factoring in SMSF members may not receive the same level of protection in the event of theft or fraud that members in APRA regulated funds do.  

WINNER – IPA 2020 ACT Practice of the Year

WINNER – IPA 2020 ACT Practice of the Year Award!!!!

This is the second year running we have been recognised with this prestigious award.


The IPA received high quality endorsements from our clients, colleagues and community members and we want to thank you so very much. The fact that you took your time to say such wonderful things means so much to us.


We look forward to working more with you in the future.

Bill to increase the maximum number of allowable members in an SMSF to 6 has been introduced into Parliament.

The Government has, on the 2nd September 2020, introduced a Bill into the Senate that will increase the maximum number of allowable members for SMSFs from four to six. This measure was first announced in the 2018-19 Federal Budget.

The Explanatory Memorandum explains that this change will help large families to include all their family members in their SMSF.

If passed by Parliament, the changes are to commence from the start of the first quarter (being the first 1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October) that begins after the day the Act receives Royal Assent.

We now wait to see if the Bill has support from the ALP and cross-benchers. We will provide further updates and developments as they are announced. 

Explanatory Memorandum: https://parlwork.aph.gov.au/Bills/s1269?_cldee=YmhlcGJ1cm5yb2dlcnNAZ21haWwuY29t&recipientid=contact-2270291ec278e61180d1000d3ad070fe-780c82f8f5a149cbb0b8586ac5544025&esid=ad55eb36-e2ec-ea11-a815-000d3acae753

Alert issued from the SMSF Association.