SMSFs must lodge an annual return once the independent audit of the fund has been finalised. The SMSF annual return is more than an income tax return. It is also used to report super regulatory information, member contributions, and pay the SMSF supervisory levy.
Where the SMSF return is lodged by a tax agent, the due date for lodgement is the 15 May or, where the SMSF is newly registered in the previous financial year, the 28 February.
Any tax payable by the SMSF is also due by these dates.
If an SMSF did not have assets in the first year it was registered, it does not need to lodge a return that year.
What happens if your SMSF clients lodge late?
If an SMSF fails to lodge its annual return on time, there are several implications. The ATO can apply a failure to lodge penalty of $180 (1 penalty unit) per 28 days the return is late up to a maximum of $900.
Administrative penalties can also apply to SMSF trustees. Failure to prepare the accounts and financial statements of an SMSF each year enables the ATO to penalise each trustee an amount of $1800 (ten penalty units).
Where an SMSF has tax payable and payment is made late, General Interest Charges (GIC) may also apply. The applicable rate for the current period April – June 2017 is 8.78% and this amount is calculated daily.
Where their SMSF annual return continues to be outstanding beyond 30 June, the ATO will automatically bring forward the lodgement deadline for the next financial year to the 31 October. This creates significant challenges for SMSFs as some annual tax statements are not issued by platforms or fund managers until very close to (or after) this date.
Are extensions or concessions available?
There are limited extensions to the 15 May due date. Where an SMSF was non-taxable or received a refund in the previous financial year, and will also receive a refund in the current financial year, there is a general three-week concession through to 5 June.
Additional deferral options are available from the ATO on a case by case basis. Deferral requests will be declined in situations where:
- the client has a record of late lodgements, including poor compliance with deferred due dates
- the ATO has commenced lodgement compliance action with your client
- the request is in addition to the deferred 5 June concessional lodgement date
What advisers need to do
Where Superfund Wholesale has completed the SMSF accounts for your clients to sign, it is essential the signed annual trustee minute and declaration are returned to us no later than 5.00pm AEST on Monday 15 May 2017.
If there are extenuating circumstances preventing your clients from signing and returning their annual return documents to you, please provide us with details and where appropriate we will request a lodgement deferral on their behalf.
Electronic signing is also available for advisers who work with Superfund Wholesale. To learn more about our electronic signature solutions via DocuSign, please visit the following Help Centre article: Getting started with DocuSign for your business