Oops! Top 10 SMSF boo-boos for 2015 financial year

Note: Every year, the ATO publishes the top compliance mistakes made by SMSF trustees. This article contains data up to 30 June 2015 (latest available as at January 2016). The next update, for compliance data up to 30 June 2016, will be available in late 2016.

The ATO has published the top 10 compliance mistakes that SMSF trustees make when running their self-managed super funds. The list in the table below is based on the general type of contraventions reported by SMSF auditors since the start of contravention reporting in 2005 (and up to 30 June 2015).

The percentage of the SMSF population with auditor contravention reports is approximately 2% of all SMSFs each year, according to the ATO. In the year ended 30 June 2015, more than 8,000 (8,200) SMSFs had ACRs lodged with 22,000 contraventions, with just under half of these contraventions reported as rectified.

An interesting observation to make from the top 10 compliance mistakes is that 3 types of contraventions represent more than two-thirds (68.8%) of the value of assets involved in the top 10 contraventions, namely:

  • In-house assets
  • Separation of assets
  • Loans to members/financial assistance

While just under two-thirds (64%) of all contraventions, when looking at number of breaches, involve only 4 types of contraventions, namely:

  • Loans to members/financial assistance
  • In-house assets
  • Separation of assets
  • Administrative-type contraventions

Types of contraventions reported to the ATO (up to 30 June 2015)

Contravention typesNumber (%)Value (%)
Loan to member/financial assistance21.5%15.0%
In-house assets19.4%28.8%
Administrative-type contraventions10.3%1.4%
Separation of assets12.8%25.0%
Operating standard-type contraventions7.8%5.9%
Sole purpose8.2%4.5%
Investment at arms length7.7%7.9%
Acquisition of assets from related parties1.3%2.4%

Note: The column titled ‘number %’ means the percentage of contravention reports that involved this particular type of breach, while the column titled ‘value %’ relates to the value of assets involved in this particular type of breach.

Source: Self-managed superannuation funds: A statistical overview 2013-2014

For an explanation of the rules mentioned in the top 10 list above, you can refer to the ATO website, or to Trish Power’s book DIY Super For Dummies, 3rd Australian edition (Wiley).You can find more details about this book by clicking here.

For more information on what happens if your SMSF commits one of the SMSF boo-boos see the following SuperGuide articles:


  1. Daniel Hung says:

    Can a SMSF buy an old LMR house site ( with no borrowing ) and build four town houses on it and sell it for profit?

  2. What are the best investments for a SMSF to invest to avert becoming an ATO statistic?

  3. Steve Foulds says:

    Quick Q – Can a SMSF pay for financial advice? For example, if I was to see a financial planner for advice on how to allocate my SMSF funds best, could I use the funds from the SMSF to pay for it or would I have to pay for it from own pocket?

Leave a Comment