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What and when to report for your SMSF

The ATO has released guidance on the SMSF events-based reporting framework which outlines the events that must be reported to the ATO and the deadlines for such reporting.

This article discusses the events which an SMSF must report, when they must be reported and the consequences of late reporting.

Melissa Ramov, Maddocks Lawyers

Events you must report

Events which affect a member's transfer balance account must be reported using a Transfer Balance Account Report (TBAR) which is available on the ATO's website. For example, you should report:

  • If a member starts to receive a retirement phase income stream i.e. pension;
  • If a member receives a death benefit income stream;
  • If a member commutes their pension back into the accumulation account; and
  • Compliance with a commutation authority issued by the ATO.

Events you do not need to report

Events which should not be reported in a TBAR include:

  • When a member receives pension payments from the pension account;
  • Investment earnings and losses;
  • When the income stream supporting the pension is exhausted;
  • When a member dies; and
  • Information which is reported in a Transfer Balance Event Notification form NAT 74919 e.g. a family law super split.

How often and when does the SMSF need to report?

If a member had a pre-existing pension, it should have been reported in a TBAR on or before 1 July 2018. From 1 July 2018, all SMSFs must report events which affect a member's transfer balance account. If an event does not occur then there is no need to report.

Reporting in response to an ATO issued notice

You must lodge a TBAR in accordance with the below deadlines if a member has exceeded their personal transfer balance cap and has either:

Document received When to report?
received an Excess Transfer Balance Determination (ETBD). within 10 business days after the end of the month in which the voluntary commutation occurs in response to the ETBD.
received a Commutation Authority. within 60 days of the date of issue of the commutation authority.

Reporting all other events

Otherwise, a TBAR can be lodged as soon as the relevant event occurs and is encouraged to be lodged at that time. The deadline by which an SMSF must lodge a TBAR is dependent on the value of the total superannuation balance (TSB [1]) of a member in accordance with the following table:

TSB Value When to report?
Any member has a TSB of $1million [2] or more on 30 June the year before the first member started receiving their first pension Quarterly: Within 28 days after the end of the quarter in which the event occurs.
All members have a TSB of less than $1million [3] Annually: At same time as when its SMSF Annual Return is due.

Once a quarterly or annual reporting requirement is set for the SMSF - it is set forever. The trustee will not be expected to move between annual and quarterly reporting regardless of fluctuations in member TSBs or changes to membership of the SMSF.

What if I miss the reporting deadline?

Generally, the ATO is taking an educative and supportive approach if TBARs are lodged late. However, an SMSF may be subject to compliance action and penalties in the future.

More information

You may contact Maddocks on (03) 9258 3555 and ask to speak to a member of the Commercial team.

More Cleardocs information on related topics

You can read earlier ClearLaw Articles on a range of topics, including the following topics which you may find relevant:

Order related document packages

[1] Our earlier article explaining the concept of a total superannuation balance can be found here.

[2] The ATO may review the $1million reporting threshold in the future given the indexation of the general transfer balance cap.

[3] Ibid.


Lawyer in Profile

Paul Ellis
Paul Ellis
Special Counsel
PH: 61 3 9258 3524

Paul is a Special Counsel in the Maddocks Commercial team with particular expertise in commercial agreements for the supply of goods and/or services, the Personal Property Securities Act 2009, the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 and the National Credit Code and the Australian Consumer Law.

Paul's key areas of practice include:

  • Australian Consumer Law;
  • credit and securities law;
  • commercial law and contracting;
  • government contracts; and
  • trust and superannuation law.

Before joining Maddocks, Paul was employed for 13 years with the Victorian Department of Justice, principally as a Deputy Registrar in the Victorian Magistrate's Court, but also as a legislation, policy and project officer for the Department.

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