Each year we discover complex tax schemes and arrangements designed by promoters solely for the purpose of helping people avoid tax.
Currently we are seeing a number of schemes targeting Australians planning for their retirement. These schemes encourage individuals to channel money inappropriately through their self-managed super fund (SMSF).
We have launched Project Super Scheme Smart to educate taxpayers and their advisers about these types of schemes – so they know what to look out for.
The penalties are substantial for those involved in deliberate tax avoidance schemes. And the penalties aren't just financial; an individual may well lose their right to be a trustee of their own superannuation fund; or in some cases they could go to jail. Promoters of these schemes are also on our watch list.
How to recognise a scheme
These schemes have some common features, they:
are artificially contrived with complex structures usually connecting with an existing or newly created SMSF
involve a significant amount of paper shuffling
are designed to give the taxpayer minimal or zero tax, or even a tax refund
aim to give a present day tax benefit by adopting the arrangement
invariably sound ‘too good to be true’, and as such they generally are.
How to check if you’ve been caught up in a scheme
We are here to help. Through Super Scheme Smart, we're giving guidance to taxpayers and their advisers in wealth management and financial planning. You can also call us on 1800 060 062 or click on the links below to find out more.
Super Scheme Smart: Individuals
Super Scheme Smart: Intermediaries
And remember, if you’re planning for retirement – either for yourself or on behalf of a client – make sure you follow the Super Scheme Smart approach, and if in doubt, check it out.
Australian Taxation Office