The ATO has extended the due date for lodgement of 2016/17 SMSF Annual Returns to 30 June 2018.
“We recognise there are some major new considerations and decisions for SMSFs and their advisers to make in this first financial year of operation of the superannuation reforms that came into effect from 1 July 2017,” said Deputy Commissioner James O’Halloran.
“We have therefore decided to extend the lodgement date for 2016–17 SMSF annual returns so that SMSF trustees and their advisers can focus on these important matters,” he said.
“We have heard from many professionals that their current focus is on providing important advisory services to their SMSF clients to ensure they are in the best position to make decisions to take into account some of the recent superannuation reforms including eligibility for transitional capital gains relief.”
“Accountants, tax agents and SMSF advisers play a key role in ensuring SMSFs are best placed to make informed financial decisions following the recent reforms. Recognising the crucial considerations and decisions that SMSFs and their advisers need to make in this first year we have sought to reduce some of the burden of SMSF compliance work by extending the due date for 2016–17 SMSF annual returns.”
“We acknowledge and appreciate the ongoing support tax professionals and SMSF advisers provide in facilitating change, especially at this important time for the sector and the broader superannuation industry.”
Mr O’Halloran noted that the extended lodgement time frame will also give SMSFs eligible for transitional CGT relief, due to the introduction of the Transfer Balance Cap, more time to consider options and make elections.
He also noted that as 30 June 2018 is a Saturday the lodgement of 2016/17 SMSF Annual Returns can be made on the next business day – Monday 2 July – without penalty, in accordance with existing administrative provisions.
The due dates for new SMSFs not using a tax agent and funds with late prior year returns has already passed. However the statement by the ATO does not explicitly address if the extension does or does not apply to new SMSFs lodging through a tax agent – which ordinarily have a due date of 28 February.
The ATO made a similar announcement for the 2015/16 SMSF Annual Return, pointing to feedback from professional and industry representatives after the 2016 Budget.
Extension welcomed by SMSF Association
SMSF Association CEO John Maroney welcomed the extension as “commendable” and said it was appreciated by the industry.
“It’s a complex and pressing time for accountants, tax agents and SMSF advisers who are making crucial decisions and giving expert advice in the first year since the introduction of the most comprehensive changes to superannuation in a decade,” he said.
Maroney said the extension gave SMSF advisers “the perfect opportunity” to attend the 2018 SMSF Association National Conference, to be held in mid-February.