COVID-19 has resulted in changes and uncertainty across the board particularly in the financial sector. For those with an SMSF this can be hard to navigate on top of your usual compliance requirements so let us take you through our top frequently asked questions…in two parts.

Part One:

Q: My member balance has dropped substantially since 1 July 2019. Do I still need to take my minimum pension?

A: Yes however the ATO have reduced the pension requirements to 50% of what is otherwise your usual minimum pension amount for the 2020 year. If you have not taken your pension yet, or you have only taken part of it, you should check with your SMSF advisor as to what your new minimum is as you may not need to withdraw any more. This pension reduction will be in place in 2021 also.

Q: I am struggling to make ends meet since having my hours reduced. Can I access any of my SMSF balance?

A: Yes you can. The government is allowing those in financial hardship who meet the eligibility requirements to access up to $10,000 before 30 June 2020 and a further $10,000 after 1 July 2020. Please read our blog for more details: Access to super due to COVID19.

Q: I have been overseas and run an SMSF and was planning on returning within the required 2 years. However I am now stuck and unable to return to Australia. Will my fund be made non-compliant?

A: The ATO is aware of these potential issues and will not be applying any resources to determining if an SMSF meets the relevant residency requirements. In short, if the trustees get back to Australia as soon as possible the fund will not be investigated for non-residency issues.

Q: I am unable to go into my accountant’s office to sign off on my 2019 documents prior to the lodgement due date. What can I do?

A: You can use the following options to ensure your SMSF documents are correctly signed prior to lodgement:

  • Receive the documents in the post, sign and post back
  • Digitally sign the documents
  • Receive the documents via email, sign and email back the scanned copies

All of these are acceptable forms of signing your documents.

In Part Two we will cover the following FAQ’s:

  • How do I provide rent relief for my SMSF property?
  • I have a related party limited recourse borrowing arrangement. Is relief available?
  • My fund balance has substantially reduced and as a result my in-house asset has exceeded the threshold. What can I do?
  • Should I be reviewing my investment strategy?

Contact us here if you require further information or have any other questions not covered regarding your SMSF.

This information has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs.