Understanding the superannuation system with Jemma Sanderson

Published: 7 Feb 2023


Young couple getting advice from financial expert
Jemma Sanderson

Australia has a world-class superannuation system that helps us all save for an active and comfortable retirement. But when it comes to navigating self-managed super funds (SMSFs), calculating superannuation or making super contributions, we often turn to tax professionals for support and assistance. So, who do tax professionals learn from when it comes to this often      complex system?

In this interview, Jemma Sanderson, CTA, Convenor of The Tax Institute Higher Education’s Advanced Superannuation subject, discusses her passion for superannuation, the key learnings for the subject and who would benefit from enrolling.

Jemma, can you tell us about yourself and what brought you to become a convenor for Advanced Superannuation? 

I am a Director of Cooper Partners Financial Services in Perth, heading up their SMSF specialist services. I am a Chartered Tax Adviser, hold a Bachelor of Commerce from UWA, and am a Certified Financial Planner, Specialist SMSF Adviser and Trusts and Estate Practitioner. 

Superannuation is complex and constantly evolving, which I have found incredibly rewarding. I am constantly hearing the benefits of the advice candidates provide to their clients and the difference it makes to clients' happiness and wellbeing. Being able to tell someone that they can retire earlier than they thought because of how their superannuation can be structured always gets a big smile and a big warm fuzzy.    

Can you tell us about the Advanced Superannuation subject?  

The subject helps candidates identify the appropriate superannuation strategies for their clients, considering all the issues and opportunities that may arise within the superannuation and taxation legislation, as well as identify potential compliance issues and provide solutions to achieve and maintain ongoing compliance.  

It builds expertise across a broad range of issues and provides a substantial value add within the practices of candidates, particularly with superannuation being a structure that any working Australian has and the number of SMSFs in Australia climbing above 600,000.  

What are the key learning outcomes for the subject?

  • Identification of appropriate superannuation strategies and the tax consequences while ensuring compliance with obligations
  • Quantifying the income tax deduction for superannuation contributions and calculating the amount of deduction entitled
  • Establishing the income tax treatment of the payment of lump sum and pension benefits from a superannuation fund
  • Guiding clients who are establishing a SMSF including the evaluation of accumulation strategies and planning for tax-effective income stream in retirement.

What skills and knowledge will candidates take away from the subject that can be applied to their day-to-day practice? 

Students will be able to identify and provide expert guidance on the appropriate superannuation strategies that factor in all aspects of income tax and superannuation law as they apply to SMSFs. By breaking down the content into bite-size pieces and with a strong emphasis on case studies and practical application, it is more accessible for people to grasp, understand and immediately apply. 

What is your role as the subject convenor for Advanced Superannuation? 

I am here to answer any technical questions, guide how the relevant rules operate to candidates, manage the subject content, ensure materials are current and write the assessments so that they remain contemporary with the current legislation, ATO guidance and precedential views. 

Who would benefit from enrolling in the subject? 

The subject is for those who have a working knowledge of superannuation and want to build on it to provide a robust and practical approach to advising their clients.  

Any other thoughts? 

Learning at The Tax Institute Higher Education is of substantial benefit. Lecturers are practicing experts and have therefore applied the concepts in real-life situations. The subject has a high degree of technical rigour mixed with that practical side so candidates will come away with a strong feeling of accomplishment that they can apply to their day-to-day practices.  

Advanced Superannuation is your insight into the skills and knowledge you need to successfully plan, deliver and advise complex strategies, risks and issues relating to SMFSs. It is appropriate for accounting practitioners, lawyers and other financial professionals wanting to build on their existing superannuation knowledge and expand their scope of services to high-value clients. 

 Ready to explore Advanced Superannuation? Find out more.

Read time: 3 minutes