SMSF trustees have a lot to remember. Along with trustee meetings and minutes, trustees need to keep up to date with current superannuation legislation and review their investments regularly. There are annual returns to lodge, auditor reports to arrange and actuarial reports to book as well if your SMSF is paying a certain kind of pension.
To help you with all this we’ve put together the following helpful calendar that you can use as a guide. It includes due dates for important documents but also suggestions around when you might want to consider holding trustee meetings and reviewing your investment strategy and other important strategic issues that face your SMSF.
Happy new financial year! It’s time to start thinking about your SMSF’s strategy for the year ahead. What do your investments look like? Do you need to consider rebalancing if your allocations are out of whack? Will the SMSF need to start paying anyone a pension in this financial year? Are there any other big events – new trustees etc. – that might be on the cards for this year?
You’ve just closed off one financial year so no need to jump on to these things straight away but do start and put them on the radar.
Corporate trustee annual review fee. If your SMSF has a corporate trustee, you will have to pay an annual review fee. This is usually the anniversary of the date of registration. We’ve slotted it in here, early in the financial year, to remind you to check when that was and to make a note of it. There may be a late fee if you don’t pay it on time.
It’s time to sit down and implement any investment decisions that need to be carried out. Has an equity market glitch resulted in a shifting of your asset allocations? Are you now seriously overweight financials and need to sell some and rebalance towards another sector such as retail?
Think about reallocating in accordance with your investment strategy, or revising your investment strategy if that is necessary too. Keep all trustees in the loop with a trustee meeting and don’t forget to minute any major decisions you make for the SMSF and keep a record of it. Remember, the ATO requires you to keep the following records for a minimum of five years:
- Accurate and accessible accounting records that explain the transactions and financial position of your SMSF
- An annual operating statement and an annual statement of your SMSF’s financial position
- Copies of all SMSF annual returns lodged
- Copies of Transfer balance account reports lodged
- Copies of any other statements you are required to lodge with us or provide to other super funds.
And these records for a minimum of 10 years:
- Minutes of trustee meetings and decisions (if matters affecting your fund were discussed, for example you reviewed the fund’s investment strategy)
- Records of all changes of trustees
- Trustee declarations recognising the obligations and responsibilities for any trustee, or director of a corporate trustee, appointed after 30 June 2007
- Members’ written consent to be appointed as trustees
- Copies of all reports given to members
- Documented decisions about storage of collectables and personal use assets.
Learn more about SMSF reporting and record-keeping.
If you established your SMSF last financial year, or if you did not lodge your annual return on time the previous financial year, you need to lodge your annual return by the 31st October. That means you need to start thinking about appointing an auditor for the audit report that needs to be lodged with your annual report.
You need to appoint your SMSF auditor no later than 45 days before you need to lodge your SMSF annual return.
You can search for a registered SMSF auditor on the ATO website here.
You need to have appointed an auditor by now if you are required to lodge your annual return by 31 October.
You need to provide your auditor with all the relevant information for them to audit your fund. This includes all information around your accounts, transactions and investments.
The auditor needs to have the SMSF balance sheet, the SMSF income statement and an SMSF member statement.
They may ask for additional information, which you need to supply within 14 days from their request, so the sooner you get onto this the better.
The auditor is also required to report any contraventions they see to the ATO.
Is your fund paying any pensions? Do you have a transfer balance account? Have there been any transfer balance events to date or do you expect any for the rest of the financial year?
When you have to report transfer balance events depends on the size of your SMSF. If a fund has member superannuation balances of no more than $1 million when they start a pension, they only have to report events that could effect the size of the transfer balance account annually with their SMSF annual return (see the kinds of events that need to be reported in SuperGuide article TBAR – Transfer balance account reporting for SMSFs).
However, if your fund has member balances of more than $1 million, reporting must be done within 28 days of the end of the quarter in which the event occurred. So if you had a transfer balance event in the first quarter, you need to report it by this date.
You need to lodge your annual return and auditor’s report by this date if you are a first timer or were a late filer from last year.
You also have to pay your SMSF’s annual supervisory levy by this date. This now has to be paid in advance so if your SMSF was only established last financial year, you will have to pay double i.e. twice the annual amount of $259, or $518.
If you are lodging your annual tax returns yourself you need to have appointed an auditor by this date at the latest. If your fund has just started paying a pension, and there are members still in accumulation phase in the fund, you will also need an actuarial certificate with your annual return. When you appoint your auditor is a good time to start organising this certificate to ensure it is ready with your annual return.
Your fund will continue to need an actuarial certificate each year you have members in both pension and accumulation phase if you are using the proportionate method to calculate exempt current pension income (ECPI) for tax purposes. As earnings on pension assets are tax-free ECPI is the proportion of the SMSF’s income that is tax-free.
Since the 2017/2018 financial year funds are now required to use the proportionate method if at least one member is in retirement and if a fund member has a total superannuation balance of more than $1.6 million immediately before the start of the relevant income year and also if that member is receiving a retirement phase income stream from any source including the SMSF.
If you’ve only had one trustee meeting this year, now is a good time to have another one and to get into the practice of having six-monthly documented reviews of your SMSF.
It’s time to take stock of how the fund is performing and review your investment strategy. Also, consider reviewing the insurance needs of members. They may have experienced life events that could prompt a reconsideration of the life and TPD insurance they have in the SMSF.
If you didn’t do it earlier in the year, review your trust deed. It’s something that could do with at least an annual once over. There may have been legislation changes in the past year that could affect the deed you have or perhaps you are looking at making a new type of investment for which your trust deed will have to be updated for.
Are you considering purchasing a property in your SMSF at some point, for example, and does your trust deed allow this?
Also, your trust deed needs to allow the payment of an income stream so if a member is about to go into pension phase for the first time you need to make sure this is up to date.
You need to lodge your SMSF annual return by this date if you are lodging it yourself.
As the end of the financial year approaches, consider the capital gains tax position of the fund. Are there any assets you could consider selling to offset realised capital gains? If so, start to arrange these sales now in time for the end of the financial year.
Budget night is usually the second Tuesday in May and while there aren’t always announcements relating to SMSFs, it’s a good idea to take note of any changes that may impact superannuation. In the 2018/2019 Budget, for example, it was suggested that SMSFs that had good audit records might only need audit reports every three years. Although this has since been widely panned, keep an eye out for any potential SMSF changes on Budget night.
If you are using a tax agent you won’t need to lodge your fund’s annual return until this date. But your tax agent will still need all the same information of the earlier lodgers and will need to appoint an auditor at least 45 days before lodging date (or by the end of March).
Is your SMSF paying a pension? Has it paid the minimum pension amount yet? If not, you now have 29 days to make sure payments are up to date. See below for minimum pension requirements.
Percentage of account balance factors, by age (2013/2014 onwards)
|95 or more||14%|
The member’s age is determined at either:
- 1 July in the financial year in which the payment is made, or
- the commencement day of the pension or annuity, if that is the year in which it commences.
Contributions check. Do you have any unused concessional contributions amounts for the previous year? If you do, and your superannuation balance is less than $500,000, you can make additional concessional contributions. 1 July 2019 is the first year you can do this, so if for any reason you weren’t able to make contributions in the previous financial year, you can now make up to a maximum of $50,000 in concessional contributions.
And don’t forget your non-concessional contribution cap, which is outlined below. If you haven’t reached your limits yet and have some after-tax dollars to contribute, consider doing this now too.
Contribution and bring forward available to members under 65
|Total superannuation balance||Contribution and bring forward available|
|Less than $1.4 million||Access to $300,000 cap (over three years)|
|Greater than or equal to $1.4 million and less than $1.5 million||Access to $200,000 cap (over two years)|
|Greater than or equal to $1.5 million and less than $1.6 million||Access to $100,000 cap (no bring-forward period, general non-concessional contributions cap applies)|
|Greater than or equal to $1.6 million||Nil|
Around this date it may be worthwhile working out what your Total Super Balance is (read SuperGuide article What is included in my Total Superannuation Balance, and when does it apply? for some help). If it looks like you will be just over one of the non-concessional contribution thresholds (outlined above) you might want to consider drawing an additional amount of pension or a lump sum to get you under the threshold so you can make a larger NCC in the next financial year. You need to do this before the end of the financial year.
Value your fund’s assets at this date for your annual tax return. Listed assets are valued at their closing price at 30 June. If you have a real property in your SMSF, you may need an independent valuation if you feel the value has materially changed during the past financial year. Collectables also need an independent valuation when you are disposing of them.
The ATO also says that “it may be wise” to seek an independent valuation for some other assets – such as unlisted securities and unit trusts – if the valuation of the investment is likely to be complex.
Learn more about SMSF administration in the following SuperGuide articles:
- SMSF compliance: A guide to trustee responsibilities
- SMSF housekeeping: Trustee checklist for 2019/2020
- How to prepare financial statements for an SMSF Auditor and fill in your SMSF tax return
- SMSFs: How to start a pension
- SMSFs and property: A Super Guide
- How to create an SMSF investment strategy (including examples)
- Guide to SMSF administration, reporting and record-keeping