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06 Jun 08 On lodgment of 2008 superannuation returns & audit reports

MEMBER 1 writes:

“A situation has risen with regards to the method of completion of the 2008 superannuation tax returns and audit reports which it is considered should be addressed urgently by the ATO and industry representatives.

The relevant points are:-

a) All first time lodgers are due by 28th February 2009 and others by the 15th May 2009.

b) Those returns are due to be audited before lodgment.

c) Usually a fund is part of a group and the accounts are completed with the group to ensure that e.g. contributions claimed by the employer as deductions reconcile with taxable contributions in the fund; expenses paid by the employer for the fund are treated correctly in the accounts of the employer and fund etc.

d) Superannuation funds with managed funds investments cannot be started until October because managed fund tax statements are unavailable till then.

e) The pressure will be considerable on auditors to complete the audit in the timeframe set down causing an unreasonable peak in the October – February period, when a large number of businesses close in the Christmas/January period, December BAS are due by February etc.

In the interest of managing workflow, could not the following be seriously considered:-

a) Allow the super fund return to be lodged without completion of audit.

b) The auditors be allowed to lodge an electronic form during the year confirming the audit was done and that there were or were not any qualifications.

c) Allow all superannuation funds, new or existing, to lodge by May 15.

The writer is not an auditor but has serious concerns over the lodgment of superannuation fund returns which are delayed by the inability of the auditor to process them in the time period, with the consequential impact on the fund with 2009 PAYG payments because the returns would not be lodged until, say, February/March 2009.

TAXVINE COMMENT: Dr Michael Dirkis, the Taxation Institute's Senior Tax Counsel, responds as follows:

"Thank you for raising your concerns with us. This issue has been on our radar since last year as we were aware that in excess of 46,000 new SMSFs had been registered for year ended 30 June 2007 (up from 20,000 in prior years). On 22 August 2007 the issue was raised with the ATO’s Lodgment Working Party (LWP) as one of three potential risks to the lodgment program. This was reported in TAXVINE on 31 August 2007.

After discussion at the LWP the ATO stated that it would not alter the program nor accept unaudited SMSF returns. They would monitor lodgments and only take action if there were widespread problems demonstrated by requests for extensions or a fall in lodgment numbers. Individual requests for extension would be handled with the affected agent.

As of yesterday’s telephone meeting the ATO was not seeing any systemic problems. We will continue to press the issue.”


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