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14 Aug 12 Zero member account balances - a SMSF annual return cannot be lodged via ELS

The ATO advises that in sections F and G of the SMSF annual return (SAR), trustees are required to report all current members at 30 June of the relevant financial year and former members who were paid a benefit (that is, a lump sum or income stream, but not a rollover) during the income year. This includes members for whom no contributions were received.

Each closing balance should reflect the member's actual interest in the fund so that this can be reconciled against assets and other liabilities of the fund in section H.

From 1 July 2012, SARs for the 2012 financial year showing a zero balance for total member closing account balances (Label W) will not be able to be lodged via ELS. An error message will be received and it will not be possible to proceed with lodgment of the SAR.

There are only two exceptions. The first exception is if the SMSF is winding up and has answered 'yes' at Section A, Question 9 of the SMSF annual return. The second exception is if the SMSF has indicated at Section A, Question 8 of the SMSF annual return that the fund is a defined benefit fund.

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