When considering investing in an SMSF some of the first things you will need to consider include the choice of trustee structure, whether you want individual trustees or a corporate trustee, and the execution of a trust deed.
Once the SMSF is established, another important aspect is the registration of your new fund with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). This will require applying to the ATO for a separate Australian Business Number (ABN) and Tax File Number (TFN) which are unique to your SMSF. However, until your SMSF has been registered, you will not be able to roll over any of your member balances from other Industry or Retail Superannuation Funds.
The ATO have recently made a number of changes to this registration process. Being a trustee (or director of the corporate trustee) of an SMSF brings with it a large number of obligations and responsibilities in complying with the vast array of legislation regarding SMSFs. It is for this reason that the ATO want to ensure that those people wishing to register a new SMSF fully understand their roles and responsibilities.
Whilst this may be as simple as a representative from the ATO calling you to discuss your roles and responsibilities to ensure you understand your obligations as a trustee, the ATO now have the ability to run checks on your personal income tax compliance history as part of the registration process. The SMSF’s ABN and TFN may not be issued where a trustee has outstanding personal income tax returns covering a number of years, or is perhaps a member of another SMSF which has not kept up to date with its compliance. This may result in significant delays in the registration of your new SMSF whilst you attend to your outstanding compliance matters, or may even result in your registration being cancelled should you not be deemed a suitable person to run an SMSF.
Therefore, it is important that you not only seek advice regarding your responsibilities as an SMSF trustee, but also ensure that your compliance records with the ATO up to date.