Checklist to Consider
With Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF) being the fastest growing sector in the Superannuation system, here we explore a series of questions that we believe people should ask themselves before proceeding to establish a SMSF.
- Ask yourself one more time if this is the right decision for you. It might be time to take a deep breath and just check that you are sure. Don't do it just because SMSF is a buzzword and everyone else you know is doing it. It has to work for you and your family. So maybe sit down and do the age old thing, draw up two columns, one pro and one con, and go through it all again
- Part of the shift is being confident, not only that the SMSF structure will work for you, but that it will perform better than what you have already. So go through your existing statements on your retail or industry fund or whatever it is you have, and check its performance over time. Do you have a consistent and coherent investment strategy to fulfil your goals for retirement savings
- Make sure you have a good idea of how you will deploy your money when you set up your fund, either acting by yourself or with the help of an investment adviser you trust. Part of this is to understand how you can roll over existing super accounts, but also how you might put other assets currently outside your super into your new fund. Think about what assets you want to put into your fund and understand how much tax you might have to pay on getting them into your SMSF.
- You're going to become a trustee of your fund, so you need to make sure you understand your responsibilities and legal obligations. Work out if you want to get some professional help, or if you want to be completely DIY. You should understand how much work is required to administer the fund and work out if you have the time and expertise to do it yourself. If not, you should know what sort of skills you need to access, have some particular advisers in mind and have an understanding of their fees.
- Decide on your structure - individual trustees or a corporate trustee. The corporate route has gained in popularity in recent times but there are advantages and disadvantages for each. Professional advice will be useful here.
- Make sure all your tax affairs are in order. The ATO is the regulator of the SMSF sector and will approve the creation of your fund. It will definitely have issues with your application if you've been convicted of dishonesty offences, but they will also be cautious if you have a large outstanding tax bill, a history of not lodging your returns, if you have a private company with a poor reporting record or taxes outstanding. If there are other trustees in your fund, they also need to be eligible, so check that they are.
- Apply the residency test. If you live outside of Australia for long periods, an SMSF might not work for you because that will impact on the tax situation. The fund needs to meet the ATO's definition of an "Australian superannuation fund” to be eligible for tax concessions.
- Get your trust deed together with the help of a legal practitioner. Sign and date it and make sure that is properly executed. Make sure all trustees sign it. At the same time, or within 21 days of becoming a trustee or director, all trustees need to sign a declaration saying they understand their duties and responsibilities. Keep this safe because you could be asked to produce it later.
- Access the tax file numbers of everyone in the fund, because these will be quoted when the fund is registered with the AT0.
- Set up your fund's bank account. You'll quote this account if and when you close down your existing super funds to kick off your SMSF.
- You need your trust deeds and bank account number when you register your fund with the AT0. If you've gone with a company structure, you'll also need an Australian Business Number (ABN).
- Write out your fund's investment strategy. This is not only a good exercise to go through, but you'll need it to show that your investment decisions comply with the strategy you have already outlined, and even more importantly, comply with super laws.
- Finally, refer to the ATO’s website for its SMSF series of booklets and information at http://www.ato.gov.au/Super/Self-managed-super-funds/. And don't be shy about reaching out to the professionals for advice - that's what we're here for.
Note: Advice contained in this flyer is general in nature and does not consider your particular situation or needs. If information contained is not appropriate to you at this stage please pass on to family and friends who may benefit. Please do not act on this advice until its appropriateness has been determined by a qualified adviser.
For more information on SMSF’s or to arrange a no-cost, no-obligation first consultation, please contact us at GEM Capital on Ph (08) 8273 3222