The SMSF Association fully supports the Federal Government initiative to embrace technology as a means of cutting red tape and complexity in the SMSF sector.
Addressing the Association’s 2021 SMSF virtual National Conference, Deputy CEO/Director of Policy & Education, Peter Burgess, told delegates that implementing electronic measures should assist improve efficiencies in the SMSF sector and, consequently, further reduce fees.
“We believe it would be a backward step if proposals adopted as part of the COVID relief packages and those outlined in a recent Government Consultation Paper were not made a permanent part of the SMSF landscape.
“The broader SMSF industry and SMSF trustee establishment and ongoing financial reporting processes contain a significant number of signatures, resolutions and record keeping that could benefit from the efficiencies inherent in these proposed measures.
“Reducing red tape and complexity is a central theme of our 2021-22 federal Budget submission and supporting this Government initiative is an important element of it.”
The Consultation Paper aims to identify business communications that will benefit from technology neutrality changes, particularly those that lower compliance costs. It identifies super as one area for improvement, noting that much of the legislation is exempted from the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 that allows information to be recorded or retained in electronic form.
Burgess says: “The Government is proposing to remove these exemptions so that records can be stored by any means as long as the information is readily accessible, in a format that can be easily reused and where the integrity of the information can be maintained.
“The super legislation is littered with clauses that require physical documents to be stored. For example, SMSF trustees are required to retain physical written records of decisions made about the storage of collectables such as artwork, antiques, jewellery and similar items and to retain these records for 10 years.
“SMSF trustees are also required to prepare a written rectification plan in situations where the fund breaches the 5% in-house asset rules. New trustees are also required to sign a trustee declaration to declare they understand their obligations and responsibilities. Completed declarations must be kept not only for the life of an SMSF but for at least 10 years after it is wound up.”
Burgess concluded: “It is obviously important that adequate and reasonable protections are in place so that individuals are not at risk of poorly or illegally executed corporate documents. But the Association firmly believes a balance can be struck between securing the integrity of the SMSF sector and using appropriate electronic measures to lower costs.”
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National Conference 2021