As the ATO foreshadowed in an announcement last year, Shirley Schaefer, superannuation partner with accounting and advisory network BDO, believes LRBAs will be an increased area of focus in 2016.
In particular, trustees with related-party loans in place should ensure 100 per cent compliance to avoid raising red flags with the regulator.
“Once the 2016 returns start being lodged, they might start data filtering on the LRBA information and doing some data analytics around loan and interest rates at the very least,” she told SMSF Adviser.
As it was in 2015, pension compliance “is definitely up there” as a target on the ATO’s compliance agenda, said Ms Schaefer.
“The ATO has made no secret of that, they’re very keen on making sure that if you’re going to claim these big deductions for ECPI that you are in fact entitled to them. So that’s big,” she said.
Correct and adequate documentation continues to be a “bug bear” for Cooper Grace Ward partner Scott Hay-Bartlem, particularly when it comes to pensions.
“In not having proper pension documents, there isn’t technically a pension. Also don’t know is it commutable? Is it reversionary?” Mr Hay Bartlem told SMSF Adviser.
“Also, when someone dies, trying to figure out what happens with the death benefit is very difficult if we can’t get our hands on adequate pension documents,” he said.
“If the ATO blowtorch SMSFs like they blowtorch discretionary trusts then getting all those documents right will become one of the really important things from a tax office point of view.”
Related party transactions continue to be a sore point for SMSF trustees and an ongoing area of ATO focus.
“Related party transactions really must be properly documented. It’s too easy to take a short cut.
However if you don’t properly document that your dealings are at arm’s length, you’ve got compliance issues,” he said.
“We’ve had too many cases this year where there’s been disputes which would not have occurred if there was better documentation,” he said.
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