Having provided trusted advice for several decades, Ashfords’ Superannuation Services team are experts on all things superannuation-related.

No matter your personal circumstance, you can rest assured we will collaborate with you to establish a plan regarding your superannuation and future finances.

A self-managed superannuation fund is a do-it-yourself superannuation fund comprising 1-4 members, where each member acts as a trustee of the fund (i.e., all members must be trustees and all trustees must be members.)

Whilst it is possible to have a ‘single member fund’, this requires two individual trustees or a corporate trustee.

An SMSF must have its own bank account and trust deed. The deed is basically the rules of operation; laying out who can be a member, how they’re admitted, what the fund can invest in, and other legal requirements. Every SMSF requires an annual independent audit, as well as an annual tax return lodged with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The main reason self-managed superannuation funds continue growing in popularity is the fact members gain greater control over their investments, ongoing management fees, and their tax payable.

Establishing a self-managed superannuation fund is a crucial financial decision. As such, it is certainly worthwhile contemplating associated benefits and drawbacks.

You can learn more about superannuation and SMSFs by contacting Ashfords for a free, no-obligation discussion on (03) 9551 2822

Who should have an SMSF?

Strictly speaking, there’s no one who should or shouldn’t have an SMSF. That said, there is certainly a type of person generally thought to be better suited to having an SMSF. These people tend to be DIY investors who relish the responsibility of controlling their future retirement fund. They prefer this option far more than, say, relying on an industry super fund that invests on their behalf at a (generally) inflated management fee.

What is the role of the SMSF’s trustees?

The trustees are in control of, and make all the investment decisions for, the SMSF. They are responsible for complying with legal obligations associated with SMSFs. These include ensuring the SMSF prepares and lodges an annual tax return with the ATO. Worth noting is that SMSF trustees don’t own the SMSF, they’re simply responsible for its administration, investments, and operation of the SMSF.

What are ‘members’ in the context of SMSFs?

Members, unlike trustees, own the SMSF. Importantly, members have a proportional interest in the SMSF’s assets based on contributions and rollovers made to the SMSF. This means that, for example, if one member contributes 100% of monies to the SMSF and another member contributes no monies, the former owns 100% of the SMSF. SMSFs can have a maximum of 4 members, all of whom must be trustees.

What can an SMSF invest in?

There are various investment options available for SMSF trustees. Aside from cash and term deposits, there are shares, residential property, commercial property, and listed trust. All of these can be based in Australia or internationally.  SMSFs can also invest in Australian unlisted trusts.

How popular have SMSFs become?

The number of SMSFs increased by about 10 percent annually from the late 1990s to circa 2012. More recently, this growth has matured. According to the ATO, annual growth in the number of SMSFs over the five years to 30 June 2017 was “almost 5%.”

In this same report, SMSFs were stated as making up 99.6% of the number of funds and 30% of the $2.3 trillion total superannuation assets as at 30 June 2017.” At this same point in time, there were 597,000 SMSFs holding “holding $697 billion in assets, with more than 1.1 million SMSF members.”

Which regulator body is in charge of SMSFs?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is responsible for ensuring all SMSFs comply with superannuation laws.

The establishment and ongoing maintenance of your SMSF can be both complex and time consuming. We offer you a range of tailored accounting, administration and compliance solutions including:

  • Administration Services – We will assist you with the administration of your SMSF including all the paperwork. In addition, our technical team can take care of compliance for you, so you don’t have to worry about complicated 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 “repair” your existing fund and ensure you are up to date and satisfy all compliance requirements
  • Wind up your SMSF where required
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Disclaimer: Any advice on this page is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on the advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to those matters. The features of SMSFs outlined above apply only to complying funds. There are financial and civil penalties for potential contraventions for trustees of SMSFs.

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