Note: SMSF record-keeping checklists appear at the end of this article.
Although record-keeping and reporting may not seem like the main game when running a self-managed super fund, recording and reporting on trustee decisions, investment transactions and member contributions is fundamental to the proper operation of an SMSF.
Are you aware that if your SMSF (more specifically the SMSF trustees who run your super fund) fail to sign the SMSF trustee declaration, each trustee could be hit with an administrative penalty of $2,100? Or, if you fail to keep proper trustee minutes and records, you can expect another administrative penalty of $2,100 each? (for more information on SMSF penalties, see SuperGuide article SMSF trustees now face bigger penalties (from 2017/2018 year)).
As an SMSF trustee, you are required to undertake the following tasks:
- Sign and store important documents. For example, you must keep minutes of trustee meetings and decisions for at least ten years.
- Maintain accurate fund records, including accounting records.
- Properly record investment transactions and ownership of assets.
- Record benefit components and comply with benefit payment standards.
- Create financial and tax reports.
- Report to members. You must keep copies of member reports for at least ten years.
- Report quarterly on the transfer balance cap, if applicable (see SuperGuide article Compliance alert! 85% of SMSFs exempt from quarterly event-based reporting)
- Appoint an approved SMSF approved auditor, and provide the auditor with the necessary documents to conduct the fund audit.
- Lodge annual returns, on or before the due date, and keep copies of lodged annual returns for at least five years.
Note: A self-managed super fund’s financial records must be kept for at least five years, and a fund’s non-financial records, such as trustee minutes, must be kept for at least 10 years. The tables below summarises the main documents that your SMSF must retain, including the length of time that you must keep the records. If you don’t want to be hands-on with your fund’s reporting or record-keeping, you can delegate this task (but not the responsibility) to a service provider (see SuperGuide articles SMSF expertise: 3 ways to run your DIY super fund and SMSF expertise: How do I find a SMSF provider?).
SMSF record-keeping checklists
SMSF record-keeping checklist 1 outlines the timeframes for storing compliance information and administrative records.
SMSF record-keeping checklist 2 outlines the timeframes for storing financial and tax records.
Important: The tables below, along with this article, and all articles and tables on the SuperGuide website, are the copyright of Trish Power, and SuperGuide holds the exclusive licence to the use of this table (unless otherwise negotiated for specific use by selected organisations). In line with our approach with all SuperGuide articles, any illegal copying or illegal use will be vigorously pursued through legal channels.
SMSF record-keeping checklist 1: Compliance and administrative records
|Compliance or administrative document||Store for the following timeframe:|
|Trust deed and deed amendments||Life of fund, plus 10 years|
|Registration documents (ABN, TFN and GST)||Life of fund, plus 10 years|
|Minutes of trustee meetings and decisions||At least 10 years|
|Written consents to act as trustee||As long as SMSF trustee, plus 10 years|
|Trustee declarations||As long as SMSF trustee, plus 10 years|
|Record of change in fund trustees||At least 10 years|
|Investment strategy||Life of fund, plus 10 years|
|Death benefit nominations||As long as member, plus 10 years|
|Notice of fund compliance (ATO sends this after lodgement of first year’s return)||Life of fund, plus 10 years|
|Letter of engagement for approved auditor||Duration of appointment, plus 10 years|
|Letter of engagement and service contract for professional administrator/accountant||Duration of appointment, plus 10 years|
SMSF record-keeping checklist 2 below outlines the timeframes for storing financial and tax records.
SMSF record-keeping checklist 2: Financial and tax records
|Financial or tax record||Store for the following timeframe:|
|Accounting records||At least 5 years|
|Annual operating statement (profit & loss)||At least 5 years|
|Statement of financial position (balance sheet)||At least 5 years|
|Records used to prepare annual returns and accounts||Depends on records, but at least 5 years, usually longer|
|Annual returns||At least 5 years|
|Records that explain your fund’s assessable income and deductible expenses||At least 5 years, and possibly longer|
|Documents showing ownership of assets||Life of fund, or at least 10 years after disposing of asset|
|Bank account statements||At least 5 years|
|Records to show contributions, rollovers and payments to members||At least 5 years, and possible longer|
|Record of each member’s account||As long as member, and then at least 10 years|
|Record of each member’s TFN||As long as member, and then at least 5 years|
|PAYG payment summaries||At least 5 years|
|PAYG withholding payment summary||At least 5 years|
|Actuarial certificate||At least 5 years|