Regulators have their say at IPA Congress

A special plenary session involving key regulatory experts was held today at the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) National Congress being held at the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort on the Gold Coast.

The panel session was facilitated by IPA general manager technical policy, Tony Greco and included ASIC commissioner, John Price and ATO's assistant deputy commissioner of superannuation Stuart Forsyth and assistant commissioner Matthew Bambrick.

The session focused on opportunities and challenges, and practical regulatory issues affecting accountants and auditors in the current SMSF, taxation and compliance environment.  There was a common thread around the need to engage with the regulators as they continue to work to ensure regulatory compliance and public best interest.

Some of the discussion included the need to ensure the SMSF was established correctly so that it was fully compliant.  Mr Bambrick said that SMSFs are in reasonable shape but there are a few concerns.

"We worry about trustees who fail to understand or comply with their obligations, including annual returns," said Mr Bambrick.

The ATO plans to review some 11,000 SMSFs for their income tax obligations in the coming year.

Purchasing property through an SMSF was another focal point of the discussion.

"What we don't want is for property spruikers seeing SMSFs as their free domain," said Mr Price.

"If buying property through an SMSF, make sure you set up the arrangement correctly and be sure the property is the right investment for your investment strategy," said Mr Bambrick.

One clear message from the panel was summed up best by Mr Bambrick: "If you have a problem, talk to us; don't fail to lodge, don't go away - that just makes it harder'.