SMSF Auditors: Here’s what to Know

If you are a trustee or a director of a Self- Managed Super Fund (SMSF) then you will know how important the role of an SMSF auditor has in helping maintain the wellbeing and integrity of your SMSF through the annual audit of your SMSF. 

It is important to note that not anyone can audit your SMSF.  As it is a big role that comes with a lot of responsibility, an auditor must have special accreditation to be able to perform an audit of a SMSF.  In order to conduct a SMSF audit, the auditor must be registered with ASIC as an approved SMSF auditor.  They must have a valid SMSF auditor number (SAN) and meet ongoing obligations prescribed by the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SISA) and the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulation 1994 (SISR). The auditor must also keep your audit details up to date with ASIC, complete and lodge your annual statements to ASIC and must also pay the annual statement fee to ASIC.

As a trustee you must appoint an individual as the auditor of your SMSF no later than 45 days before the annual return is due to be lodged.  You must provide the auditor with all relevant documentation so that they are able to conduct and finalise the audit. If an auditor requests more information from you, you must provide it to them within 14 days of their written request.

The auditor is required to complete the audit and provide the independent auditor’s report (IAR) to you, the trustee, within 28 days of receiving all relevant documentation.  Before the fund’s SMSF annual return can be lodged, a financial and compliance audit must be completed.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) works closely with ASIC to support but also regulate SMSF auditors.  If they believe there is a matter of concern they will request an audit and review of the SMSF auditor.  This is to ensure that compliance rules and regulations are being met.  If your auditor is chosen for a review the ATO and ASIC will review the audit process and performance to identify issues.  They will ensure the auditor is meeting the independence obligations of SMSF auditors.  They will also test whether the auditor is correctly applying the super laws and will also identify areas where support and education is needed. The ATO and ASIC will also request audit working papers and any other documents or evidence to assess the fund’s compliance with super laws.

As mentioned, auditing an SMSF is a big responsibility and making a false claim can result in serious penalties.  So before you appoint an auditor be sure that they are a licensed professional to avoid being in the hot seat with the ATO and ASIC.

 There a number of resources and tools available online to assist SMSF auditors.  If you however are struggling with your auditor or perhaps have not been able to appoint one, consider seeking advice from a professional SMSF specialist who could help point you in the right direction.

LifeTime Financial Group are specialist (holding appropriate accreditations)advisors who are ideally positioned to assist you in selecting and then managing your retirement funds.

Would you like to discuss your personal position further with one of our highly qualified financial planners? Why not call us today on 03 9596-7733.

There is no cost or obligation for our initial conversation/meeting.

Written by Anthony Stedman of LifeTime Financial Group. A leading privately owned Melbourne Financial Planning practice.

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