Archive for the ‘Superannuation’ Category

First Home Super Saver scheme: ATO guidance

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Law Companion Ruling LCR 2018/5, issued by the ATO on 15 August 2018, provides guidance on the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme.
TIP: The FHSS scheme is designed to help eligible first-home buyers by allowing them to make voluntary superannuation contributions and then withdraw those amounts and associated earnings to use when purchasing a first home.
People who meet the eligibility criteria can access the scheme by applying to the ATO for a determination and a release authority. They must make superannuation contributions that are eligible for release under the scheme, namely voluntary concessional or non-concessional contributions that come within the relevant contributions cap.
There are limits on the amounts withdrawn ($15,000 per financial year and $30,000 in total, subject to the contribution caps).

Protecting Super Bill: Senate Committee report

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

The Senate Economics Legislation Committee has released its report on the Treasury Laws Amendment (Protecting Your Superannuation Package) Bill 2018, and has recommended that the Bill be passed.
The Bill, which is still before the Senate, contains the following measures to prevent the erosion of super balances:
• super fees capped at 3% per year for balances less than $6,000;
• exit fees banned for all super accounts, regardless of the balance;
• an insurance opt-in rule for:
- account balances less than $6,000;
- new members under age 25;
- accounts that have not received a contribution for 13 months; and
• inactive low-balance accounts (ie balance less than $6,000) will be transferred to the ATO.

APRA’s response to Productivity Commission draft report

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released its submission in response to the Productivity Commission’s draft report on superannuation efficiency and competitiveness. APRA agreed with a number of the Commission’s findings and the direction of many, but not all, of the recommendations in the draft report.
However, APRA has rejected the Commission’s claim that APRA’s powers and role, and their significant overlap with the powers and role of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), have resulted in “confusing and opaque” regulatory arrangements, poor accountability and a lack of strategic regulation. APRA Deputy Chair Helen Rowell said APRA’s role is to administer the prudential and retirement income provisions of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993. In that context, APRA is primarily responsible for ensuring that registrable superannuation entity (RSE) licensees manage their business operations to deliver quality member outcomes. By comparison, ASIC’s role is to oversee specific conduct obligations that apply to RSE licensees dealing with individuals in relation to disclosure, financial product advice and complaints.

Tax return required for excess super non-concessional contributions

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

The ATO has reminded taxpayers that they need to lodge a tax return for any financial year in which they exceed their non-concessional contributions cap, and that making excess contributions may lead to having to pay extra tax.
The annual non-concessional cap for individuals is $100,000 (or $300,000 over three years for people aged under 65), provided you have a total superannuation balance of less than $1.6 million at 30 June of the prior year. The ATO determines if you have exceeded the non-concessional cap by looking at your date of birth and the information reported by your super funds and in your tax return.
Taxpayers who go over the non-concessional cap can withdraw the excess non-concessional contributions (plus 85% of the associated earnings). The full amount of the earnings (100%) are then included in the taxpayer’s assessable income (and subject to a 15% tax offset). If an individual does not withdraw the excess contributions they are taxed at the top marginal tax rate (plus the Medicare levy).

Super sector must address trust deficit

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

In a speech to the Financial Services Council Summit on 26 July 2018, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Chair James Shipton said the superannuation sector must restore the “trust deficit” and be more mindful of the responsibilities that come with being the custodians of other people’s money. Mr Shipton said the super industry has been exploiting opportunities to make money from members, citing examples of conduct that could lead to poor member outcomes, including poor advice, treatment of customers and defensiveness when it came to transparency about fund operations.
Mr Shipton said there is an urgent need for super funds to invest in systems, procedures and policies that can quickly identify emerging conduct and systemic issues. A recent ASIC review of 12 banking groups found that it took an average of four years between an issue occurring and being identified internally for investigation, before a significant breach report was finally lodged with ASIC.

Super funds deliver healthy returns for 2017–2018

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

The median “growth” superannuation fund delivered a healthy investment return of 9.2% for 2017–2018, with the top spot going to Hostplus with a return of 12.5%, according to superannuation ratings firm Chant West. Growth super funds are those with a 61–80% allocation to growth assets.
Every fund in the growth category had positive returns, with even the lowest performer delivering a 6.5% return. Growth funds have delivered nine consecutive years of positive returns, averaging about 9% a year, said Chant West senior investment manager Mano Mohankumar.

Retirement income covenant needs more flexibility: KPMG

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

KPMG has released a submission in response to the Treasury position paper on the proposed retirement income covenant announced as part of the 2018–2019 Budget. The proposed covenant will require trustees of superannuation funds (including self managed superannuation funds) to formulate a retirement income strategy for fund members. This requirement is aimed at supporting the government’s development of a comprehensive income products for retirement (CIPR) framework.

Illegal early access to super: ATO warning about scammers

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

The ATO has issued a warning to be aware of scammers who promise to organise access to people’s retirement savings for a fee. Unscrupulous promoters encourage people to illegally access their super early to help with expenses such as the purchase of a car, paying off debts, sending money to overseas relatives and taking a holiday. The ATO has seen promoters, mostly in western Sydney, targeting people with small to medium super balances, those involved in local community groups, and those who may not have engaged with their super before being approached.

SMSF compliance: don’t slip up

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

With the self managed superannuation fund (SMSF) annual return lodgment deadline upon us, minds should have already turned to meeting compliance requirements. The 2016–2017 financial year includes a few twists and turns which trustees should factor in to avoid late lodgment.
The major super changes from 1 July 2017 mean that SMSFs members with a pension balance of more than $1.6 million may need to consider reducing any excess, resetting CGT cost bases and getting actuarial certificates. This is in addition to the usual issues such as calculating taxable income and what expenses are deductible for the SMSF.
With all of these changes to be considered, the ATO has allowed an extension to lodge returns by 2 July.

Recordkeeping reminders
Good SMSF compliance hinges substantially on good recordkeeping. Some SMSFs have resolutions and minutes for every investment transaction while others don’t go into much detail at all. But what level of detail is really necessary? The answer lies in the fund’s trust deed, investment strategy and what is required by the tax and superannuation legislation.
For example, a fund with a single balanced option is unlikely to have to meet each time a contribution is made to decide where the money should go. In contrast, if the fund’s investment strategy is couched in broad terms and a member wishes to select specific investments as permitted by the fund’s trust deed, then documents indicating whether the selection is consistent with the overall investment strategy of the fund are likely to be worthwhile.
The superannuation law requires that some records must be retained for various periods. For example, the fund’s accounting records, annual returns and other statements must be kept for at least five years. Minutes of meetings for purposes such as reviewing the fund’s investment strategy, changes of trustees, member reports and storage of collectables and personal use assets need to be kept for at least
10 years. The fund’s trust deed and other essential documents should be retained if the trustees consider the fund may be subject to challenge.
Keeping records for an SMSF serves many purposes to provide a “corporate memory” for the fund, which may be required for compliance purposes as well as to protect trustees from any unfounded challenges.

Superannuation system: Productivity Commission draft report

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

The Productivity Commission has released a draft report that recommends a range of changes to improve Australia’s superannuation system.
With default funds being tied to the employer and nsot the employee, many people end up with another super account every time they change jobs. Currently, a third of accounts (about 10 million) are unintended multiples, meaning that Australians pay excess fees and insurance premiums totalling $2.6 billion every year. According to the Commission, fixing these problems would lift retirement balances for members across the board – for example, a new workforce entrant today could earn around $407,000 more by the time they retire in 2064.
TIP: The end of the financial year is a good time to take a closer look at your super arrangements. Do you need to roll together accounts or change funds? Could you make salary sacrifices to reduce your tax payments and boost your retirement balance? Let us know if you’re considering these super questions.


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