April 17, 2018

Why you MUST review your prior SMSF advice to clients

Garth McNally our National Training & Education Director has written a paper on the NEED for our advisers & accountants to review prior advice given to clients pre 30 June 2017 around contributions to super. The effects of the 1 July 2017 super changes could result in this past advice being redundant so this is an important paper for each of you to read and note.


The super reform measures that commenced on 1 July 2017 introduced additional restrictions on clients looking to make non-concessional contributions.

The new “total superannuation balance” rules reduce the ability for clients with super benefits exceeding $1.6M from making further non-concessional contributions. A client’s total superannuation balance includes all accumulation balances held in all super funds (including transition to retirement pensions that are not in “retirement phase”), all superannuation income streams that are in retirement phase and any roll-overs in progress that are not included in the above. 

November 22, 2017

Property ties targeted in ASIC's new guidance for accountants

ASIC has released a new set of guidance material for accountants providing and looking to provide financial advice, firing warnings shots in particular for those with referral relationships with property developers. 

Webpage guidance and three new information sheets, tailored specifically with the limited licence in mind, was released yesterday and can be accessed in full here.

Broadly speaking, further guidance on life after the contentious phase-out of the accountants’ exemption for the provision of SMSF advice has been welcomed.

October 29, 2017

ASIC continues unlicensed advice blitz

Further accounting firms have been questioned by ASIC about their services in the past month as the regulator continues to ramp up its surveillance activities into unlicensed advice, warns an advice group.

Merit Wealth accountants services director David Moss said in the past month he has continued to hear from accounting firms that have been called by ASIC in relation to advice services it suspects they may be providing.

In these phone calls, ASIC requests information about what the firm’s plans are for licensing, Mr Moss told SMSF Adviser.

October 18, 2017

Further red flags raised with partial commutations

Documenting the partial commutation of pension amounts after payments have occurred is an “automatic red flag for the ATO” and could see firms paying penalties on behalf of clients, warns an advice group.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Merit Wealth accountants services director David Moss said any SMSF practitioners that plan to partially commute amounts above the account-based pension minimum should be documenting these strategies now.

“The law requires SMSFs to have these documents in place before the payment is even made,” said Mr Moss.

September 24, 2017

Mid tier finds super, CGT errors in 70% of audits

The application of the capital gains tax (CGT) transitional rules has been “chaotic” according to one mid-tier firm, with over two-thirds of all affected 2016/17 returns containing errors.

Hayes Knight director of superannuation services Ray Itaoui said the recent superannuation reforms have been the “catalyst for a tsunami of SMSF accounting errors”.

Mr Itaoui who runs Hayes Knight’s SMSF audit outsourcing business Superssentials, said across the audits received for the 2016/17 financial year so far, there have been errors in around 70 per cent, which all relate to the incorrect implementation of the CGT transitional rules.

September 14, 2017

Licensing space seeing further movements, says mid-tier firm

With the licensing regime for accountants in place for over a year now, some accounting firms are re-evaluating their role in relation to the advice space which is seeing some movement in the industry, according to a financial services provider.

Easton Investments managing director Greg Hayes said his company has recently noticed increased interest in the advice area.

September 13, 2017

ASIC contacts unlicensed firms, demands quick action

In recent days ASIC has been distributing letters to unlicensed accounting firms after analysing their advertising and corporate websites, requesting further details about their services and demanding a response explaining their SMSF services.

In these letters, ASIC quotes text from the website of the accounting firm and highlights particular terms such as SMSF set up and assistance which may suggest the firm is carrying on a financial services business when they are not licensed to do so.

The letter requests that the accounting firm provide ASIC with a written statement within 14 days outlining the details of SMSF-related services they provide clients.

September 06, 2017

SOA hold-ups still plaguing licensed accountants

Statements of advice that are poorly tailored to accountants or extremely delayed continue to be a significant issue for licensed accountants, according to an advice group.

Merit Wealth accountants services director David Moss said some of the dealer groups providing licensing to accountants don’t have a thorough understanding of the services provided by accountants and don’t have the systems in place to deal with the surge in SOA document requests from SMSF accountants at certain points in the year.

“Our group has processed 1,200 SOAs over the past 12 months and 700 to 800 of those were during the months of May and June only. So there was suddenly a massive surge of accountants seeking to get their SOAs out. Unless you’ve got the systems to process them quickly and efficiently, you’re going to have a big problem,” Mr Moss explained.

September 04, 2017

The limited compliance action on accountants providing unlicensed advice following the removal of the accountants’ exemption is creating a false sense of security among some accounting firms, advice groups have warned.
Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Merit Wealth accountants services director David Moss said ASIC hasn’t announced any prosecutions for accountants providing unlicensed advice on contributions, pensions or SMSF setups, which has created a bit of complacency among some SMSF accountants.

August 13, 2017

Clients remain plagued by SMSF confusion

Almost one-third of SMSF trustees are reporting regulatory uncertainty as one of the most difficult aspects of running their super fund, which is also noted by the accounting community as a significant issue in administering funds and giving accurate advice. 

The 2017 Vanguard and Investment Trends SMSF Report revealed that 31 per cent of SMSFs were concerned by regulatory uncertainty, with an identical number struggling to choose what to invest in.

May 10, 2017

ATO extends crucial deadline for SMSFs

In response to industry feedback, the ATO has this morning confirmed it will extend the due date for lodgement of SMSF annual returns for 2015-16.

The deadline has been extended to 30 June 2017, as the SMSF professional community, in part, struggles to get their clients compliant with the superannuation reforms that take effect from 1 July this year.

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