Total Superannuation Balance A ‘Sleeper Issue’ For SMSFs

The rules around the total superannuation balance continue to be misunderstood, with SMSF trustees in some cases incorrectly removing excess contributions from their super fund, a technical expert warns.

SuperConcepts non-executive director Stuart Forsyth said the “total superannuation balance is a sleeper issue for SMSFs” with a lot of SMSF trustees still confused about the fact they can no longer make non-concessional contributions.

One of the main concerns he has is false information circulating which indicates that members can just take a contribution out if they contributed money to the fund but their non-concessional cap was nil.

“Well I’m not sure that works. If it is a contribution, then it is a contribution; even if you’re taking it back out, it’s still a contribution, and if you report it as a contribution which you probably should, unless it was put in by mistake and taken out under those sorts of rules, well you can’t just take it out,” he explained.

“There’s nothing in the law that lets you just take it out, so if you report it as a contribution, you’ll be told to take it out again.”

For those people who are over their transfer balance cap, he said, their non-concessional cap from 1 July this year is zero.

“So even if they just put in the $25,000, expecting to be able to claim a deduction for it and they get to the end of the year and they have no taxable income, it will become excess contributions,” he said.

“They will get told to by the commissioner to take it out, but if they’ve already taken it out thinking that meets the Commissioner’s requirements, they’ll get told to take it out again.”

Mr Forsyth said this is one of the areas where the industry has asked the ATO to provide some further guidance.

“My understanding is that they’ll get told to take it out a second time because taking it out the first time, and they’re under the preservation age, they may in fact have no ability to take it out,” he said.

By Miranda Brownlee

SMSF Adviser

12 December 2017

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