SMSF administration

SMSF administration has a specific definition, but the term is also used to describe all of your SMSF compliance and reporting obligations, including the administration requirements of a SMSF. A helpful way to understand SMSF administration in its specific definition is to consider that running a SMSF is all about steering your own super CART.

Trish Power, author of DIY Super for Dummies, has created the term C-A-R-T for SMSF trustees and it stands for Compliance, Administration, Reporting and Tax management responsibilities. CART is a term that Trish Power has coined to help SMSF trustees manage the mandatory aspects of running a SMSF, including the task of ensuring that everything gets done when it should, such as meeting reporting deadlines. Collectively, C-A-R-T can arguably be known as SMSF administration, and SMSF trustees can outsource these tasks to service providers (SMSF administrators).

Driving your super CART involves the following elements:

  • Create a Compliance culture. Life is easy when you get it right from the start. The superannuation rules create excellent opportunities for most Australians without the need to put your retirement savings at risk by breaking the super rules, or missing deadlines or not managing your investments properly.
  • Get active on Administration. The key decision you need to make for your SMSF’s administration requirements is whether you do it yourself or you delegate this task to a professional administrator. Note that if you choose to outsource, then you only delegate the task, not the responsibility.
  • Be rigorous on Reporting. Are you particular with details? Do you keep your accounts up-to-date? Are you a stickler for punctuality? The answer needs to be ‘yes’ to all of these questions if you choose to run a SMSF, or you need to appoint a service provider who can answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions. You are legally required to keep accounting records, lodge returns and forms, and appoint an auditor to review your accounts.
  • Take advantage of super’s Tax treats. Tax-free super for over-60s is a juicy carrot for superannuation savers but super also offers many other tax incentives. As a SMSF trustee/member, you have total control over how you manage your affairs. It can be a financially devastating decision if you choose to ignore the tax rules, and how your super fund complies with those rules.

For more information on SMSF administration, see the following SuperGuide articles:

Set out below are all SuperGuide articles explaining SMSF administration.

SMSF pension: How do I start one?

Q: How do you change your self-managed super fund (SMSF) from accumulation phase to pension phase (husband aged 60, and retired) and transition-to-retirement pension phase (myself aged 57 and still working part time)? If an accountant has to do it, what costs could be involved? Your site has been a … [Read more...]

SMSF pension: What happens if I don’t withdraw the annual minimum pension payment?

Q: I have my own super fund and when it came to the end of the year I was supposed to withdraw $11,000. I only withdrew $6000 and I can catch up this year. Is this a reportable breach to the Tax Office?For the benefit of other SuperGuide readers, I’ll first explain the background to your … [Read more...]

Liberals to ban anti-detriment payments from July 2017

On 3 May 2016 (2016 Federal Budget), the Coalition government announced that it intends to abolish the anti-detriment provisions from July 2017.From 1 July 2017, subject to legislation, a super fund will not be able to pay a refund of a member’s lifetime superannuation contributions tax payments … [Read more...]

10 super planning tips for 2015/2016 year-end

Although many people are still reeling from the unexpected superannuation announcements in the 2016 Federal Budget, it’s important to note most of the planned changes will not affect your superannuation decisions for the 2015/2016 year. The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) rates remain the same, … [Read more...]

SMSF investment: Trading shares is OK

Q: How often or by what criteria can you buy and sell listed shares to obtain a financial gain without being classed as a trader? I understand the trader/investor criteria outside the fund and the tax treatment but is it any different inside the fund? Is there a problem if shares are bought and sold … [Read more...]

Do you fit the latest profile of a ‘typical’ SMSF trustee?

Note: We regularly update this article with the latest data on self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) issued by the Australian Taxation Office. This article contains the latest data available as at March 2016 (for data up to December 2015).The latest ATO statistics on SMSFs (representing SMSF … [Read more...]

A 10-step action plan for your SMSF

Any Australian who accumulates enough superannuation to justify the cost of setting up and running a self-managed super fund is progressing well with their retirement plans. Looking after your own retirement needs, by using a SMSF, is certainly an empowering move, but such a decision also comes with … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

SMSFs: How much does a DIY super fund cost? (updated figures)

Note: Article updated in January 2016, and includes an extra table outlining fees for small and large SMSF account balances. This article includes the latest SMSF cost data released in December 2015 by the ATO, and selected cost data released by ASIC in September 2013. The next SMSF cost update is … [Read more...]

Are SMSF audits too expensive?

Note: Every year, the ATO publishes the average audit fees incurred by SMSFs. This article contains data for financial year ending 30 June 2014 (latest available as at January 2016). We have retained all comments from earlier versions of article. The next update, for compliance data up to 30 June … [Read more...]

SMSF Pension Guide: ATO’s top 20 tips

Note: We have created this valuable guide to assist those readers running SMSF pensions, or for any reader considering starting a SMSF pension.In a recent speech to an accountants’ conference, Kasey MacFarlane, ATO’s Assistant Commissioner SMSF Segment, clearly articulated the key SMSF pension … [Read more...]

SMSFs: ATO supervisory levy must be paid in advance

The ATO supervisory levy payable by SMSFs each year has been increasing in leaps and bounds over the past few years. The levy payable each year now sits at $259 and this amount is payable in advance. For a new SMSF what this means is that you would pay double the SMSF levy in your first … [Read more...]