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Useful Resources

We’ve put together a list of links and other useful resources to assist you. For more information, reach out to us!

Other useful links:

ABN searches and registrations

AusIndustry

Australia Post postcode search
Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)

Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

Fair Work Online

NSW Office of State Revenue
Small Business NSW

Planning For The Future

With the global financial crisis, Eurozone bailouts, and the roller coaster ride of the share market getting regular front-page coverage in the press, many of us cannot help but wonder what is going on and what will happen next. Some people feel that the average person in the street is not really affected by all this uncertainty but the reality is quite different.

For most of us, our biggest investment is our home, and the way that can move interest rates can change what we have to pay each month on our mortgages. What many fail to consider is probably the next biggest investment, namely our superannuation. For most, this sits in a large superfund that gets added to each time we get paid and a nameless fund manager makes decisions on how that is invested.

Sure, you can choose the breakdown of how your money is invested in relation to risk, for example, 50% into shares, 30% in cash, and the rest in the property.

However, you can generally only make a set number of changes in a year and the detail of where your money goes sits with the super fund. There is an alternative option where you get to make all the decisions, known as a Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF).

At first glance, this might seem like one for the too hard basket. Isn’t superannuation heavily regulated and you would need a team of lawyers and a corporate headquarters to untangle all that red tape? Really when you break it down superannuation is a long term saving scheme designed to give you an income after retirement. It does have rules around how the money can be accessed in order to protect it for retirement. But on the flip side, it also has generous tax concessions that can help maximise the return of your hard earned cash. You become the trustee and fund manager, and you decide the investment strategy. You are also the beneficiary of the fund as you have control over the performance.

Benefits and Requirements of SMSF

At a glance, there are a number of benefits in setting up your own super fund, but there are also responsibilities that you must fulfil and certain requirements that you must meet while managing the fund.

Benefits

Control of the Investment – Members get to define their own investment strategy. There is a wide range of investment choices open to those managing their own fund.

Manage the Risk – Because the trustees of the fund control all the assets, they can balance the risk against the investment strategy.

Tax Concessions – The income from the investments of a complying fund is generally taxed at a concessional rate of 15%.

Responsibilities and Requirements

Investment Strategy – The investment strategy for the fund must be formally decided and reported on.
Annual Audit – An approved auditor must be appointed for the fund to provide the annual audit to ensure it is compliant. The ATO is the regulator of Self Managed Super Funds and needs to be provided with the annual audit report.
Annual Reports and Accurate Records – Minutes of meetings and decisions, reports of transactions, copies of member reports and operational statements are some of what need to be recorded.
Sole Purpose Test – The sole purpose of an SMSF is to provide for the retirement or death benefit of its members. All investments or actions of the fund must satisfy this rule to remain compliant and thus enjoy the tax concessions for super funds. Failure to meet this rule can result not only in higher taxes but also mean penalties.

Self-Managed Super Funds FAQs

How can I work out if an SMSF is right for me?

An SMSF is not for everyone. Trustees must understand what is required and have the time to fulfil these obligations. Also, the fund must have enough assets to be viable.

Is an SMSF just for my funds alone?

No. There can be more than one member of a self-managed super fund. Members must agree to the investment strategy, but the benefit of multiples is sharing the costs.

What does being a trustee mean?

Being a trustee means you are legally responsible for ensuring that the superannuation fund is run as a ‘complying fund’ when looked at by the ATO. This is important as only complying funds can access the generous tax benefits. A trustee must sign a legally binding declaration to ensure they are aware of their duties.

How much do you need to set up your own SMSF?

There is no statutory amount needed to set up an SMSF, but probably a total of over $100,000 is ideal when looking at the annual cost of running the fund. Retail funds vary in what they charge, but around 2.5% is likely a comparison rate.

What are the costs of running an SMSF?

These may vary depending on who does the audit and how much advice is needed. But on average, the annual cost is around $2000 to $3000.

What is an approved auditor and why do I need one?

The Australian Tax Office is the regulator of self-managed funds, so the ATO must receive an annual audit report from an auditor that it approves. The cost of this report is carried by the fund.