Already managing your own superannuation or thinking about utilising the self-managed super fund (SMSF) structure? Whilst opting for an SMSF allows greater control of your own retirement savings, think long and hard before deciding on it. According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), an SMSF is no do-it-yourself; you will need the help of professionals to meet your fund's legal obligations.
When establishing your SMSF, for instance, registration with the Australian Business Register is a must. To avail of tax benefits, you'll have to be regulated by the ATO. There are additional tasks after sign-up such as registering for an SMSF Messaging Provider and securing your member's Tax File Number. For all the processes during this stage, an SMSF professional can help you prepare and submit the appropriate documentary requirements so that you can be eligible for receiving contributions as well as tax concessions.
Annual audits, which should be done at least 45 days before lodging your SMSF's annual return, also require the services of an SMSF specialist. During an audit, the SMSF auditor checks the financial statements and other aspects of your fund to ensure compliance with super law.
When appointing an SMSF auditor, choose with care. C. Borg & Co. Accountants suggest that you ask the following before you hire one:
- Is my SMSF auditor registered? Only auditors registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission can conduct SMSF audits. Be sure to check his/her SMSF auditor number.
- Is he/she independent? Independent means that he/she is neither a trustee/member of the fund nor the person who prepared your SMSF account. It also means that he/she does not have any business relationship with you other than as an auditor of your fund.
- Is he/she updated? Your appointed SMSF auditor should know about the latest changes from the ATO to reduce any risks.
Is he/she trustworthy? Remember that you'll be entrusting your life savings to someone else. Make sure that your data is safe with your appointed SMSF auditor.
SMSFs involve a huge amount of accountability as well as additional support in order for it to succeed. When your chosen SMSF specialists are proficient and truly professional, managing your own super could turn out to be one of the best decisions you've ever made. For more tips about hiring the right SMSF professional, call C. Borg & Co. Accountants.