SMSF pensions

A member of an SMSF can choose from only two types of pensions – an account-based pension or a transition-to-retirement pension (what we call a ‘TRIP’). (If you retired before 20 September 2007 however, you may be receiving another type of pension from your SMSF.)

An account-based pension gives you unlimited access to your account balance but how long your money lasts depends on the investment returns that your pension assets deliver, and the amount you withdraw each year. You also must withdraw a minimum amount each year, based on your age. A transition-to-retirement pension (TRIP) is available to those who have reached preservation age (at least age 55 or 56), but have not retired from the workforce. You can also arrange for your account-based pension to be paid as a reversionary pension to your spouse after you die.

You must follow special rules when running a SMSF pension, including minimum pension payments and reporting exempt current pension income. If you plan to run an accumulation account and a pension account within your SMSF, then you need to segregate the assets supporting the SMSF pension, or obtain an actuarial certificate.

For more information on SMSF pensions see the following SuperGuide articles:

Set out below are all SuperGuide articles explaining SMSF pensions.

Superannuation death benefits and the $1.6 million transfer balance cap

We have received many questions from readers about how the new $1.6 million transfer balance cap will operate when a fund member dies, especially if the fund member has arranged for his or her spouse to receive a superannuation death benefit pension, including a reversionary pension. This article … [Read more...]

Burden for retirees: Monitoring $1.6 million transfer balance cap

Note: Moving towards July 2017, most retirees will need to monitor two lifetime superannuation amounts – their transfer balance cap, and their transfer balance account. The proposed policy will apply to both existing and new super pension accounts from 1 July 2017, which effectively means the policy … [Read more...]

SMSF pension: After making super contributions, when can I convert to another pension?

Q: I am 67 and work part time, so I qualify to make concessional contributions to our SMSF. I am already receiving an account based pension from my SMSF. The new contributions I make will have to go into an accumulation account. How long do I have to wait before our SMSF can pay another account … [Read more...]

Retirement and tax: What are the minimum pension payment rules?

Q: I am 63. I want to retire next year but I am not sure if I want to access my super benefits yet. I have heard that when I retire, I must withdraw some super benefits each year, otherwise I won’t receive tax-free super benefits. Can you please clarify the rules for me?A: Your question is … [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...]

Age Pension: 300,000-plus Australians lose entitlements from January 2017

Note: Changes to the Age Pension assets test are now law, and will take effect from 1 January 2017. The successful passage through parliament was due to the Greens supporting the changes announced by the Coalition government in the 2015 federal budget. Although the ALP opposed the changes, the ALP … [Read more...]

New income test rules mean less Age Pension

Note: This article explains the current Age Pension income test rules. (If you are seeking information on the changes to the Age Pension asset test rules taking effect from January 2017, then see the SuperGuide article Age Pension: 300,000-plus Australians to lose entitlements from January … [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...]

Tax-deductible super contributions: Timing start of pension is essential

Q: I put money into my SMSF in June 2015 from a capital gain. I wasn’t able to tell the fund at that time what it was for as my accountant hadn’t completed the figures so that notice was sent to them in August 2015. As I understood the rules, so long as the money was in the fund at June 2015, I … [Read more...]

Less Age Pension, and paid to fewer Australians

The change to the Age Pension rules is a bad example of ‘back to the future’ it seems, with a harsher Age Pension asset test taking effect from January 2017. The federal government expects 300,000 retired Australians will lose some, or all, Age Pension entitlements overnight.Before September … [Read more...]

ALP to tax pension earnings above $75,000 a year, if wins election

Note: Based on the ALP’s own election documents, this policy will be applied retrospectively, and will apply to all super pension earnings above $75,000 a year, from 1 July 2017. The ALP claims this measure is not retrospective, that is, it only applies to superannuation pensions started from 1 July … [Read more...]

Super pensions: Is there an upper limit to how much we can withdraw?

Q: I am aware that the minimum amount of super pension withdrawal is 4% (for under 65s) of the pension account balance. Is there now any MAXIMUM amount of pension required to be drawn from a super fund? If no maximum payment is required, is this still the case for account based pensions, transition … [Read more...]