Self-Managed Super Fund
In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF) in this country. Statistics identify self-managed super funds now accounting for 99 per cent of the number of super funds in Australia. In the past five years the total number of SMSF’s have increased dramatically from 440,094 as at 30 June 2011 to 577,236 as at 30 June 2016.
New data from the Australian Taxation Office found that self-managed super funds now account for 622 billion, which is 28 per cent of the $2.2 trillion in super assets across the country.
What is a Self-Managed Super Fund?
A self-managed superannuation fund is a do-it-yourself superannuation fund of 1-4 members where each member acts as a trustee of the fund. All members must be the trustees, and all trustees must be the members. It is possible to have a ‘single member fund’ that requires two individual trustees or a corporate trustee.
Your SMSF must have its own bank account and a trust deed. The deed is basically the rules of operation and sets out who can be a member, how they’re admitted as a member, what the fund can invest in and who can receive a death benefit. Your own SMSF requires an annual audit plus they need to lodge a tax return with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Establishing your own self-managed superannuation fund is a very important financial decision but before you decide to go down this pathway you need to know the costs and understand your legal obligations. While managing your own SMSF can offer many benefits, they are subject to considerable compliance and regulation.
One of the primary reasons why self-managed superannuation funds have grown in popularity in recent years is the fact the members have an idea on how their money is invested, greater visibility of their retirement savings which allows more confidence when making investment and lifestyle choices.
When contemplating the establishment of your own self-managed superannuation fund you need to weigh up the advantages and the added responsibilities. For many Australians, SMSFs offer 4 major advantages:
- A wide range of investment options.
- Ability to utilize appropriate tax strategies and maximize savings.
- Flexibility; whether it be accumulation accounts, pension accounts or both.
- Transparency, aligning personal goals with investment decisions.
- Associated costs engaged are capped and not based on percentage of super balance.
More Control & Flexibility
As a trustee of your own SMSF, you can control where your retirement savings are invested. Compared to alternate superannuation funds, you have a wider choice of investment options which include listed shares, bonds, listed investment companies (LICs), exchange traded funds (ETFs) and direct property. You can also transfer personally owned listed shares and managed funds directly into your SMSF. It is also possible to own ‘business real property’ (property used wholly and exclusively for business).You can devise your own investment strategy, assisting with consistently managing the range of investments and adjust your portfolios as markets change.
Tax Strategies & Concessions
A SMSF offers the members several tax concessions including:
- They have a flexible structure so members can take advantage of estate planning opportunities to effectively transfer wealth from one generation to the next with minimum tax exposure. They also offer maximum asset protection at the same time.
- Earnings in your SMSF are taxed at the concessional rate of 15%.
- Capital gains on investments held in your SMSF are taxed at an effective rate of 10% if they are held for longer than 12 months.
- Unlike many industry and retail super funds where the 15% contributions tax is deducted when the contribution is paid into your superannuation fund, contribution tax payments in a SMSF are deferred until after lodgement of the annual tax return.
- Maximum flexibility in establishing and managing pensions, including account based, transition to retirement and term allocated pensions.
- Greater flexibility for accessing Centrelink benefits such as the Age Pension.
Having a SMSF lets you take full advantage of tax and superannuation law changes as soon as they come into effect. They also provide families with a vehicle to pool their resources and grow their wealth together. You can effectively transfer wealth between generations and these estate planning benefits may not be available through conventional superannuation products.
A SMSF arguably offers even more tax benefits when you consider the ability to segregate accounts and share imputation credits. Finally, your own SMSF also provides portability because your account stays with you wherever you go provided you remain within the framework of Australia’s superannuation laws.
A SMSF enables members to run a mixture of both accumulation and pension accounts. Trustees can adjust their investment combination as they wish and how it suits them financially. The flexibility of SMSF’s allows for a rapid response to market conditions and changes, super rules and personal situations.
A SMSF provides respected transparencies that allow trustees to align their personal goals with their investment decisions. Whether it be shares, international markets or property that you’re interested in, SMSF’s allow a better understanding of where your money is invested and a complete visibility over performance and tax treatment of the super fund.
Lower Management Fees
Unlike retail and industry based superannuation funds, the members of a SMSF (up to 4 and usually family members) can combine their assets to accumulate retirement funds. This can provide a more cost effective outcome because a SMSF with pooled assets in excess of $200,000 can generally reduce the average cost of managing the fund to below 1.0% per annum.
The Commonwealth Government report, ‘A Statistical Summary of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds’ released in December 2009 (based on ATO and APRA data) found that SMSF members generally paid lower fees in the 3-year period to June 2008. The report also indicated that on average, SMSF investments performed better than all other super funds over the same period.
Establishment & Administration of Your SMSF
The administration and compliance of your SMSF is very important. We can help you with:
Establishment – including all the requisite forms and paperwork to establish your SMSF. You can then administer the fund yourself or you can use our SMSF administration service. The steps generally involved in setting up a SMSF include:
- Obtaining a Trust Deed.
- Appointing Trustees with each Trustee to sign a ‘Consent to Act’ Form.
- Each Trustee to sign the ATO Trustee Declaration.
- Electing to become a Regulated Fund – Trustees must elect to be ‘regulated’ under SISA to receive concessional tax treatment within 60 days of establishing the SMSF.
- Obtaining a Tax File Number (TFN) and Australian Business Number (ABN).
- Establishing a separate Bank Account for the SMSF to ensure that money belonging to the SMSF is held separate from accounts of the members, trustees and related employers. This is a SISA requirement but also helps SMSF trustees to preserve and protect their retirement income.
- Preparing and implementing an Investment Strategy for the SMSF.
Our service offering includes all of these functions:
- Preparation of your SMSF Trust Deed.
- Completion and Lodgement of all the ATO Application Forms.
- Providing Trustee Declarations – Note that under the SIS Act, Trustees must consent in writing to their appointment and all new SMSF Trustees (and Directors of Corporate Trustees) must sign an ATO Declaration confirming that they are aware of their duties and responsibilities. This is required within 21 days of becoming a Trustee or a Director of a Corporate Trustee.
- Establishment of a Bank Account in the name of the SMSF.
- Completion of binding death nomination forms that provide guidance on how members want their assets distributed in the event of their death.
Administration – we can assist you with the ongoing administration of your SMSF including:
- Managing all the ongoing paperwork for your SMSF.
- Preparing the Annual Financial Statements for your SMSF.
- Preparation and lodgement of the annual Income Tax Return and Regulatory Returns.
- Preparation of requisite Minutes of Meetings.
- Maintaining the Asset List for your SMSF.
- Arrange the Annual Audit of your SMSF.
- Preparation of the paperwork to start and administer Pensions within your SMSF.
SMSF Investment Strategy
SMSF Trustees must prepare and implement an investment strategy for the fund. All investment decisions must be in accordance with that strategy and it should be regularly reviewed. It must reflect the purpose of the fund taking into account:
- Investing to provide sufficient member returns (factoring in the investment risk).
- Appropriate diversification and the benefits of investing across various asset classes (i.e. shares, property, fixed interest) in a long-term investment strategy.
- The ability of the SMSF to pay benefits to members as they retire and pay other costs incurred by the SMSF.
- The age, income, employment and retirement needs of the members.
Geelong Superannuation Accountants – How We Can Help You …
The establishment and ongoing maintenance of your SMSF can be both complex and time consuming. We offer you a range of tailored Geelong superannuation accounting, administration and compliance[MM1] [MM2] solutions including:
- Administration Services – We can assist you with the administration of your SMSF including all the paperwork. In addition, you have access to our technical team who are responsible for compliance with all the current superannuation legislation.
- Ongoing Investment Advice – You have access to a professional advisor who will assist you to grow and monitor the investment portfolio. While you have complete control over your portfolio, your advisor will provide pro-active advice regarding financial strategies, estate planning, wealth protection and property investment.
- Access Current Information – We closely monitor changes to SMSF landscape and the regulations so you have access to current information at all times so you can make informed investment and tax planning decisions.
- Where necessary, we can also provide a ‘repair’ service to bring your current fund up to date and satisfy compliance requirements.
- Wind up your SMSF where required.
Our service can be customised to suit your needs and contact us today regarding your SMSF queries. You can even take advantage of our offer of a FREE, no obligation, one hour introductory consultation to discuss your superannuation needs. You’ll get practical tax and financial advice that could have a significant impact on your future position. To book a time, call us today on 1300 789 844 or complete your details in the box at the top of this page.
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