Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) Administration And Reporting

Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) Administration And Reporting

As a trustee of a Self-Managed Super Fund you have obligations that you have to adhere to. These include:

I. Appoint an SMSF Auditor

SMSF auditors check if your fund is compliant to super laws and if your financial statement are correct.

To audit the fund each year, the self-managed super fund should appoint a registered ASIC auditor not later than 45 days before lodging the SMSF annual return. The auditor is tasked to examine the fund’s financial statements and assess the compliance of the fund to the super laws.

The SMSF auditor that you appoint should:

  • Be registered with ASIC and if they are, they have an SMSF auditor number which they should provide on your SMSF’s annual return.
  • Be independent. The auditor should not have any financial interest in the fund or have close personal or business relationship with the members or trustees.

Audits need to be undertaken even if no contributions or payments are made during a financial year.

Before the auditor starts with the audit of your SMSF, he must be given information about your accounts and transactions from the previous financial year. Additional information that he may request in writing should be given within 14 days.

The auditor should also advise the members or trustees of any breaches of the rules on Self-Managed Super Fund. Trustees should then rectify any breaches as soon as they are informed about them.

The auditor is also required to report any breaches to ATO. Even if the auditor engagement is terminated, or that he or she did not finish the audit and if a breach was identified, he or she still has an obligation to report to ATO.

II. Value the Fund’s Assets

To properly prepare the fund’s account, statements and SMSF annual return, the assets of the fund should be valued at their current market value. Market value is the amount that a buyer is willing to pay to buy an asset from a seller given that the following assumptions are made:

  • That the buyer and seller dealt with each other at arm’s length or without close contact during the transaction.
  • That proper marketing of the asset was made before its sale
  • That prudence and knowledge was exercised by the buyer and seller during the sale

Self-Managed Super Fund trustees need to value assets:

  • If the SMSF has investment dealings with, or sells assets to a related party
  • To determine the percentage of in-house assets in the fund for the start of a pension
  • If there were transfers of collectibles or personal use asset to related parties. For this instance, the valuation must be made by a qualified independent valuer.

III. Lodge SMSF Annual Returns

Once the audit is finalised, an annual return should be lodged by the self-managed super fund. SMSF annual returns are more than income tax returns. It is used for regulatory information, member contributions, report super, and payment of SMSF supervisory levy. If the fund did not have assets in the first year when it was registered, it does not need to return lodge for that particular year.

How to lodge?

Returns can be lodged electronically through Standard Business Reporting (SBR) External Link and you need to have:

To lodge a hard copy or paper annual return, download SMSF form on annual return and SMSF form on annual return instructions for the year in question. Complete the form and send to:

Australian Taxation Office
GPO Box 9845

A notice of assessment of tax debt and refund will not be issued by ATO because SMSF assess them already.

When To Lodge?

Generally, the due date for lodging Self-Managed Super Fund annual return is February 28 following the financial year. If you have not lodged the return for the previous financial year on time, the due date is October 31. For the SMSF’s first year the due date is October 31.

If a return is lodged through a tax agent, they will inform you of the due date. For the first year the due date is February 28.

If the self-managed super fund is reviewed by ATO at registration, the first year return due date is October 31 even if it has been prepared and lodged by a tax agent. ATO will notify you if this is the case.

If the due date falls on a weekend or public holiday, lodge and pay your dues on the next business day. Failure to lodge SMSF annual return on the due date can cause penalties and loss of SMSF tax concessions.

Funds without assets

SMSFs are not legally established until it has assets set aside for the retirement benefits of the members. The ATO systems do not accept annual returns from self-managed super fund without assets or without any closing account balances of members unless the return is for a year in which the SMSF is wound up.

If the fund does not have assets for the member’s benefit in the year it was registered, trustees can ask for:

  • Cancellation of the SMSF’s registration
  • Flagging the fund’s record as (RNN) or ‘return not necessary’ and when the SMSF confirms in written notification that :
    • Even if it is registered, it has no assets and was not able to receive contributions or rollovers in the first financial year,
    • It has evidence of the date the SMSF held assets and started operating and are documented
    • It will be lodging future returns.

Amend the Self-Managed Super Fund Annual Return

To amend the SMSF annual return a resubmission of the whole return is necessary. Trustees must answer ‘yes’ to section A question 5 that says ‘Is this an amendment to the SMSF’s annual return?

Since data on the annual return is inter-related, a change in one label on the form will likely need changes to the other labels. This is why there is a need to complete the form fully and not just the parts that you want to amend. There is also a need to provide information on contributions to all members and not just those whose contributions may need to change.

Supervisory Levy

Supervisory levy should be paid with the self-managed super fund annual return. The payable amount is stated on the return.

From 2013–14 the annual SMSF levy is $259. It is payable in two instalments collected upon lodgement of the 2013 and 2014 annual returns.

Label M on the return enables SMFSs that have wound up during a financial year to adjust the levy, where they do not have to pay the following year.

Label N is for new SMSFs to have adjustments on the annual return to add the levy related to the year of establishment to the amount payable.

IV. Report Transfer Balance Cap Events or Event-based Reporting For SMSF

The transfer balance account report of (TBAR) which is issued to report certain events is a separate form from the SMSF annual return or SAR. It enables trustee to record and track individual balances for both transfer balance cap and total superannuation balance.

Self-Managed Super Fund also needs to ensure that income stream valuations and decisions are properly documented. There is no discretion on ‘special circumstances’ for breaches in transfer balance cap and it is important for SMSF trustees and members to monitor them.

What are the events that need to be reported?

Self-Managed Super Fund should report events that affect the transfer balances of members including:

  • Details of their income streams inclusive of their value and type received on July 30 of 2017, and that are continued to be paid to them on or after July 1 of 2017, and are in the retirement phase on or after July 1 of 2017.
  • Details of new retirement phases and death benefit income streams. If this income stream is reversionary, its start date will be on the date on which the member died.
  • Details of payments of limited recourse borrowing arrangement which should include the value and date of the relevant payment.
  • Compliance of the fund with a commutation authority
  • Details and value of personal injury contributions
  • Details and value of commutation of retirement phase income streams occurring on or after July 1, 2017.

Exclusions from reporting

SMSF does not need to report on:

  • Pension payments made on or after July 1, 2017
  • Earnings and losses on investment that occurred on or after July 1, 2017
  • When income stream ends because the interest has been exhausted
  • The death of a member
  • Information that are reported to ATO using Transfer balance event notification or form NAT 74919. These are used when some of these events occur:
    • Family law payment split
    • Debit event caused by fraud, dishonesty or bankruptcy
    • Structured settlement contributions made before July 1, 2007.

And information that other funds report to ATO like member’s interest in an APRA fund.

How often and when you need to report?

Any member with a pre-existing income stream must be reported on the TBAR on or before July 1, 2018. This is an income stream that the member was receiving on July 30, 2017, and is continued to be paid to them on or after July 1, 2017, and is in the retirement phase.

Starting July 1, 2018, SMSFs should report events that affect members’ transfer balances. Reporting schedules or timeframes for reporting are dependent on the total superannuation balances of SMSF’s members.

For SMSFs with a total superannuation balance of less than $1 million, they can report this information on the same date when their SAR is due. For self-managed super fund that have a total superannuation balance of $1 million or greater, reports on events which affect members transfer balances is required within 28 days after the quarter’s end or when the event has occurred.

Events regarding transfer balance accounts that occur in 2017 – 2018 should be reported when the first TBAR of the Self-Managed Super Fund is due. This will also be the same time as to when the trustee is due to complete and submit the 2017-2018 SAR, for annual reporting. If an SMSF reports quarterly, the due date is October 28, 2018. The SMSF is also required to report earlier if a member exceeded the transfer balance cap.

SMSF may report events as they occur and are encouraged to do so to avoid excess issued determinations of transfer balance.

How to view your total superannuation balance?

The total superannuation balance is the sum of all the accumulated and retirement phase superannuation interests on all the accounts and funds of the members and trustees.

Trustees are expected to take a fair and reasonable approach to assess the members’ total superannuation balances when looking into the quarterly or annual reporting format applies.

When to report sooner?

When a member exceeds their transfer balance cap, you must report sooner. Earlier reporting is encouraged on certain situations.

Reporting due dates

If a member of the self-managed super fund has an existing income stream that is continually being paid as a retirement income on or after July 1, 2017, the due date for the TBAR is July 1, 2018.

Consequences of Late Reporting

Penalties will be imposed as a consequence of late reporting or if a self-managed super fund fails to lodge a TBAR on the required date. It will also adversely affect the transfer balance account of the members.

Reporting methods and lodgement

TBAR reports can be sent to ATO by:

  • Completing and submitting an online form
  • Bulk data exchange (BDE) or by submitting a data file through a business portal or tax agent portal.
  • If you are a tax agent, completion of a recognised spreadsheet, or
  • Sending us a paper report.

You may report multiple events with the electronic method and up to four events in paper form.

Correcting A Report

Correcting information on the TBAR requires you to cancel the original report and lodge a separate report with the right information. Further information on how to amend an incorrect report are found on the lodgement method used. 

V. Lodge Superannuation Transfer Balance Account Reports

Who should lodge a transfer balance account report?

A super provider or a life insurance company can lodge TBARs.

A TBAR should be completed when an event regarding a transfer balance account has occurred. It should also include further calculated information about the total super balance of the members, information about members’ concessional amount contributions and incorrect information previously reported to ATO.

Events that must be reported

SMSFs are required to report events such as:

  • Super income streams that exist just before July 1, 2017 and those that are continuously being paid on or after July 1, 2017, and were in the retirement stage on or after July 1, 2017.
  • Any of the events that occur on or after July 1, 2017:
    • Super income streams that started in the retirement stage
    • Payments to limited recourse borrowing arrangements that affect the interest value that is supporting a retirement phase income stream
    • Commutations by members from a retirement phase income stream
    • Commutation authority compliance of the SMSF
    • Contributions on personal injuries
    • Super income streams that stopped being in the retirement phase.

If more information is required when calculating the members’ total super balance or concessional contributions to meet legal requirements the self-managed super fund is required to report:

  • June 30 accumulation phase value
  • June 30 retirement phase value (starting June 30, 2018)
  • Uncapped notions on the amount of taxed contributions.

Correcting Information

If a self-managed super fund needs to correct information that has been reported to ATO, the original report must be cancelled and a separate report should be lodged to correct the incorrect information.

No report needed

Pension payments, earning or losses in investments or if an income stream is closed because interests have been exhausted need not be reported to ATO.

Lodging Timeframe

Different timeframes for lodging a report apply to different providers depending on circumstances. But if the event being reported is in response to an issue from a commutation authority, a report must be lodged within 60 days from the date of issue from the commutation authority.

Failure to lodge a report

Failure to lodge a TBAR will adversely affect the member’s transfer balance account. The self-managed super fund will also be subject to compliance actions and will be penalised.

Reporting Methods and Lodgement

TBAR lodgement may be done through:

Submission of an online form, bulk data exchange or (BDE), spreadsheet version or paper report. It may be made by a trustee, administrator (but not through the spreadsheet version) or tax agent (but not through the online form).

Lodging an online report is possible for trustees or administrator of SMSF. All you have to do is lodge the report electronically by completing an interactive online form through the Business Portal of ATO. This method will help you report unlimited events for each member.

BDE will let you submit reports through the file transfer facility in the Business Portal or Tax Agent Portal. Multiple events can be reported through this method. However, files transferred through this method should meet the data entry specifications. You may find more information on this through electronic reporting specifications

Lodging a report through the spreadsheet version. This reporting method is for tax agents who need to report multiple events for multiple members through a recognised spreadsheet.

Lodging a paper report. With a paper report, four events per member can be reported on each form. Send the report to the mailing address provided on the form.

VI. Keep Records

SMSF reports must keep information for a period of five years or keep the information electronically. This is a ruling under the tax law. If the self-managed super fund is lodging a paper report, a copy of the signed report should be kept for the fund’s records.

If the information is kept electronically, a copy of the report should be easily regenerated on the request of ATO.

For the purposes of the report the following definitions apply:

Member refers to the member of a self-managed super fund, life insurance company member, approved deposit fund (ADF) depositor and the holder of a retirement savings account (RSA).

An Intermediary is an authorised person that will give the statement on behalf of the provider being reported for. He or she may be a tax agent, accountant, super administrator, employee of the provider or an authorised legal entity. An intermediary lodges reports with ATO.

A Provider is the, ADF, RSA, super fund or, life insurance company, that holds the members’ account, but not the trustees. It has an obligation to report.

Super funds include all public sector schemes, either administered or not by the APRA or Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. They may either be constitutionally protected or not.

As a trustee or member of a Self-Managed Super Fund, it is your duty and responsibility to keep tax and super records.

Minutes of investment decisions should also be kept including why a particular investment was chosen, and if all the trustees agreed with the investment decision.

If an investment fails, the other trustees can take action against the trustee who made the investment decision, for failing to be diligent in his responsibilities. But if the other members or trustees agreed and signed the investment decision and was recorded in the minutes of the meeting, this shows that the other trustees agreed with the decision.

Records should be made available for the fund’s SMSF auditor when an audit is done for the fund each year. ATO also has the right to request accurate records from the SMSF.

For a minimum of five years, SMSF should keep records of:

  • Truthful and available accounting records which explain transactions and the financial position of the Self-Managed Super Fund
  • Annual statement of the SMSF’s financial position and annual operating statement
  • Copies of annual returns lodged by the SMSF
  • Copies of reports lodged on Transfer balance accounts
  • Copies of lodged statements to ATO or those provided to other super funds

For a minimum of ten years, SMSF should keep records of:

  • Minutes of the meetings of trustees and decisions
  • Records on changes of trustees
  • Declarations from trustees that state their recognition of obligations and responsibilities as trustee, director or corporate trustee appointed after June 30, 2017.
  • A written consent from members to be appointed as trustees
  • Copies of all report that should be given to members
  • Recorded decisions regarding the storage of collectibles and assets for personal use.

Income tax record-keeping requirements also need attention. These include documents on losses, capital gains, and deductions.

Keep records written in English. Electronic records should be verified by ATO and be accessed and should be understandable.

VII. Changes to The Self-Managed Super Fund

Notify ATO of Any Changes

Within 28 days, ATO should be notified if there are changes in trustees, directors of the corporate trustee, members, contact details like phone, email address, fax numbers and contact person. ATO should also be notified for changes in postal address and fund status as well.

Details of an SMSF can be updated online through External Link, or through a registered agent, by phone at 13 10 20 or by lodging changes in paper form or NAT 3036. You may download the form or order a copy from online ordering.

SMSF can use any of these methods to provide, and update account details of the fund and electronic service addresses. The SMSF annual return, however, cannot be used to tell ATO about changes in the structure of the SMSF.

Keeping with the SMSF Definition

 Trustees should ensure that the fund stays within the legal definition of an SMSF. If the fund no longer meets the Self-Managed Super Fund definition the trustee have six months to:

  • Restructure the fund to meet the definition
  • Wind up the SMSF and roll the benefits into an APRA regulated fund

If you fail to do any of these ATO will make the fund non-compliant and disqualify trustees.

Removing yourself as a trustee director

If you become disqualified as a trustee notify ATO of your disqualification if you have not been disqualified by ATO. Notify ATO as well if you cease to be a trustee.

You also have an obligation to inform ASIC if you cease to be a director of a corporate trustee. You will be penalised if you continue to act as a trustee or director if you are disqualified for the role. The other trustees are responsible for preventing you from performing trustee roles if they know that you are disqualified.

The Self-Managed Super Fund has six months to restructure itself if you resign as a trustee. A resignation might mean a rolling or your super interest out of the fund.

The other directors or trustees can roll over your benefits to another complying super fund, appoint an approved trustee who is licensed by APRA, or wind up the fund by rolling the benefits of the members out of the fund.

If you are the only member of the fund and the sole director of a fund’s corporate trustee, contact ATO at 13 10 20 for information on what you need to do.

Becoming a trustee or director again.

If you become disqualified as a trustee because of a conviction of a dishonesty offence, apply for the disqualification to be waived.  Write ATO an application letter within 14 days after the conviction.


Send the letter of application to:

Superannuation Business Line
Australian Taxation Office
PO Box 3100

If the disqualification came from ATO, you can ask for a review of the decision. Request in writing within 27 days of receiving the disqualification notice.

Send the request to:

Superannuation Business Line
Australian Taxation Office
PO Box 3100

Disqualification because of insolvency cannot be waived. But if you are no longer insolvent, you can become a trustee and director again.

If want help with your Self-Managed Super Fund administration and reporting, talk to us and we will be glad to help you.

Kingston Knight Audit are the Auditor Melbourne experts to contact when dealing with your trust account audit, SMSF Audit, financial statement audit,  and internal audit requirements. Contact us today, Kingston & Knight Audit offers a free telephone consultation to establish how we can best help you achieve the assurance and compliance you require.

Call our Melbourne team today on 03 9088 2242, or email us via