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National Superannuation Conference

Published on 29 Aug 2013 | Took place at Sheraton on the Park, Sydney, NSW

    In the inaugural National Superannuation Conferernce, The Tax Institute brought together regulators and leading practitioners from the legal, accounting, audit and financial advisory services fields of the superannuation industry for two full days to discuss tax and other challenges and opportunities that exist within the ever-changing operating environment of superannuation.
    Uniquely, this Conference was designed for tax professionals from both the large fund and self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) sectors. A mixture of plenary sessions and two streams of breakout sessions (streams ‘A’ and ‘B’) were offered. Stream ‘A’ sessions were primarily for delegates from the large fund sector while stream ‘B’ sessions are for delegates from the SMSF sector.
    Plenary sessions covered:
  • keynote address – benchmarking Australia’s superannuation system against the best in the world
  • recent trends and developments for superannuation tax law
  • recent developments affecting contribution strategies and practices
  • licensing issues
  • pensions – exploring changes in the treatment of pensions.
    Stream ‘A’ sessions covered:
  • capturing tax within unit prices or crediting rates
  • large fund issues and the ATO
  • tax considerations relevant to investments by superannuation funds
  • living to age 120, the pensions dilemma and other defined benefit conundrums
  • tax issues in successor fund transfers
  • what you need to know about superannuation guarantee
  • tax audits on large funds - what to look out for.
    Stream 'B' sessions covered:
  • borrowing to acquire real property – is it worth all of the trouble?
  • small business CGT relief and related party transactions
  • indirect taxes
  • insurance applications
  • benefit payments
  • SMSF issues and the ATO
  • practical Issues in administering and auditing SMSFs.

Get a 20% discount when you buy all the items from this event.

Individual sessions

Keynote address: Benchmarking Australia's superannuation system against the best in the world

Author(s):  David KNOX

In this paper, David Knox reviews Australia’s third placing in the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index and then compares our superannuation tax system to the leading countries in the index. He also highlights the shortcomings of the ongoing discussion around the superannuation tax concessions.

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Chasing tax within unit prices or credit rates

Author(s):  Dana FLEMING,  Narelle TOOHEY

How to capture tax within unit prices or crediting rates can be a minefield for funds. This presentation explores the two main systems used by funds:

  • the “actual information” system
  • the “effective tax rates” system where each of the following issues will be discussed:
    • setting accrual rates (and possibly separate accrual for franking credits)
    • periodic review of these rates
    • periodic comparison of tax accruals arising from these rates versus the fund’sactual tax experience and processing of true up adjustments
    • systems for allocating actual tax paid in BASs and the tax returnto different investment options
    • implementing deferred tax asset caps (if necessary) within these overall systems
    • dealing with pension options
  • APRA’s expectations in this area and other industry guidance (ie ASFA/FSCpapers) are also considered.
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Recent developments affecting contribution strategies and practices

Author(s):  David SHIRLOW

Contributions cap issues are becoming the bane of fund trustees and practitioners alike. This paper considers the increasing frequency of various problems being encountered in relation to the contributions caps and, in turn, the strategies and practices being adopted to deal with them. The following issuesare addressed:

  • the impact of changes to the tax treatment of contributions, including the significant amendments recently proposed by the government
  • dealing with excess contributions (until the proposed refunding provisions arelegislated), including applications for Commissioner discretion and related AAT findings and refund of concessional contributions
  • new rules for in specie contributions
  • other developments impacting on contribution strategies.
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Large fund issues and the ATO

Author(s):  Stuart FORSYTH

In this presentation  the ATO will focuses on:

  • superannuation data and payment standards
  • compliance issues.
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SMSF regulatory update

Author(s):  Greg TANZER

Commissioner Tanzer provides a self-managed superannuation fund regulatory update including:

  • SMSFs and the critically important role of gatekeepers
  • new limited AFS licence
  • registration of SMSF auditors
  • ASIC’s focus on SMSFs and review of advice
  • working together to ensure the SMSF sector remains healthy.
Materials from this session:

Living to age 120, the pensions dilemma and other defined benefit conundrums

Author(s):  Barry RAFE

This presentation draws from the Institute of Actuaries’ White Paper titled the “Longevity tsunami” which addressed problems arising from the fact that people will be living a lot longer than they expect. The paper has contributed to a wide ranging community discussion on the implications of the so called “longevity problem” which has resulted in, among other things, Treasury adopting a more aggressive view on longevity, and changes in the tax status of various deferred annuity products.The presentation addresses various social and financial issues including:??

  • living to 120 will become the norm??
  • current issues for dealing with defined benefit pensions??
  • products that can protect against financial strains caused by longevity??
  • funding issues for a pension-only fund
  • ??debate on who should carry the financial burdens of longevity.
Materials from this session:

Insurance applications

Author(s):  Craig DAY

Insurance is sometimes a “forgotten area” for SMSFs. This paper addresses the crucial role of insurance in SMSFs, by considering the following:

  • does insurance have a role to play in SMSFs?
  • can group life be offered to SMSFs?
  • what happens to insurance after commencement of an income stream?
  • is there a role for insurance in connection with an SMSF borrowing strategy?
  • deductions for premiums/assessability of insurance proceeds
  • insurance applications: life, disability, trauma, terminal illness, income replacement
  • tax effectively managing receipt of taxable component/element untaxed inthe fund
  • allocation of insurance proceeds to reserve and availability of tax deductionsfor death benefit payments.
Materials from this session:

Tax issues in successor fund transfers

Author(s):  Ross Stephens

It is the government’s policy to encourage the consolidation of large superannuation funds through mergers. However, this policy objective has not been assisted by the number of “road blocks” in the tax system that increase costs and make it more difficult for fund trustees to determine that mergers are in the best interests of their members. Although, there has recently been some relief via the ability to transfer losses and rollover capital assets, there are still many tax and duty issues that must be considered for a merger.

This presentation examines some of those issues, including:

  • in what circumstances, and for what structures, does the loss transfer and CGT asset rollover rules apply
  • tax consequences for the transfer of non-capital assets
  • issues arising out of the use of pooled superannuation trusts in mergers
  • what should be done if one fund values its assets on an after-tax basis and the other values it on a before-tax basis
  • issues arising out of deferred tax assets
  • no-TFN contribution issues
  • the “crystallisation” of members, benefits upon merger issue
  • the deductibility of merger costs for the transferee fund
  • GST implications for a merger.
Materials from this session:

Benefit payments

Author(s):  Philip BRODERICK

The theory relating to benefit payments is well known as are some of the strategies on how to pay benefits in the most tax-effective manner. This paper explores the less common, possibly forgotten strategies that surround the laws on benefit payments by:

  • recapping on the taxation arrangements on lifetime and death benefits
  • discussing the implications of electing for a payment not to be treated as anincome stream
  • exploring the benefit of rolling back a pension now and commencing a new onelater
  • planning for income and salary sacrificing to maximise benefits
  • considering the opportunities with estate planning.
Materials from this session:

What you need to know about the super guarantee


At first glance, superannuation guarantee (“SG”) appears to be an employer and employee issue rather than a superannuation fund issue. However, there are important SG issues for superannuation funds to consider. These include:

  • can a fund enforce superannuation contributions obligations under the SG law,awards or contract?
  • calculating SG obligations for defined benefit funds
  • the interaction between the MySuper changes and SG
  • the interaction between SG and excess contributions tax
  • the relationship between the fund and the contributing employer.
Materials from this session:

SMSF issues and the ATO

Author(s):  Stuart FORSYTH

In this presentation the ATO focuses on:

  • SMSF landscape - where to from here?
  • recent changes and new rules
  • ATO regulatory program
  • recent issues with Division 295.
Materials from this session:

Pensions: Exploring changes in the treatment of pensions presentation

Author(s):  Graeme COLLEY

The treatment of pensions has undergone radical change in recent times, and continues to do so. This paper explores:

  • taxation of fund income earned on pension assets
  • implications of under-paying minimum pension payments
  • continuation of the “pension phase” tax concession after the death of a pensioner
  • auto-reversionary pensions and binding death benefit nominations – which should be used and which trumps the other?
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Borrowing by SMSFs to acquire real property - is it worth all the trouble?

Author(s):  Chris Balalovski,  Simon Conolly

Many superannuation savers are borrowing to purchase real property in their SMSFs. Although this strategy delivers advantages for some investors, it should not be forgotten that the necessary regulatory requirements to effectively implement it are extremely complex and there are a myriad of issues and traps that need to be very carefully considered. The focus of this paper is on giving practitioners the necessary tools to properly advise clients who may be contemplating this strategy. It covers:

  • implementing, maintaining and dismantling the structure – what are the prudential, tax and stamp duty issues?
  • overview of the finalised SMSFR 2012/1 and TA 2012/7
  • what are the advantages and disadvantages of this strategy?
  • issues when auditing an SMSF that has implemented this strategy
  • latest developments and strategies
  • case study – comparison of different strategies.
Materials from this session:

Managing tax affairs:The duties of the super trustee

Author(s):  John EDSTEIN

This paper addresses the duties of a superannuation trustee in relation to managing tax affairs of a superannuation fund under the general law, the SIS Act (especially the revised covenants for trustees and directors) and the APRA prudential standards. The paper covers the management of tax affairs in the context of:??

  • a superannuation trustee’s duty of care
  • ??the best interests and conflicts covenants
  • ??the investment covenant?? Investing in distributing trusts and the myriad of issues that can follow, whether the trusts are managed investment schemes or otherwise??
  • the non-arm’s length income provisions and recent case law??
  • managing errors that arise out of tax matters from a trust law perspective.
Materials from this session:

Small business CGT relief and related party transactions

Author(s):  Daniel BUTLER,  David Oon

This paper covers:

Small Business CGT Relief

  • the main CGT relief and the interface with super, eg the CGT cap amountrollovers to super
  • can a taxpayer obtain CGT relief on an in specie asset transfer to super?
  • are there any differences for in specie transfers under the 15 year rule compared to the retirement relief?
  • what are the planning tips and traps that advisers must watch out for?

Related Party Transactions

  • the new rules for related party acquisitions and disposals
  • what are the quirks with the new rules and who qualifies as an independent valuer?
  • can listed securities be transferred off market as well as on market to minimise brokerage and transfer costs?
  • how do the new rules apply to private companies and non-geared unit trusts which may hold real property?
Materials from this session:

Tax considerations relevant to investments by super funds

Author(s):  Philip WITHEROW

This paper covers:

  • overview
  • investment governance framework
  • the trustees response to the prudential requirements
    • due diligence
    • after-tax returns
  • tax considerations when making investments
    • adverse tax consequences
    • tax risks
    • additional compliance obligations 
  • Considerations for Pension Members
    • pooled superannuation trusts (PSTs)
    • unit trusts
  • conclusion
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Indirect taxes

Author(s):  Zoe CHUNG,  Rachel O'Donnell

Indirect taxes, such as duty, GST and land tax, are often neglected when it comes to consideration of tax issues affecting superannuation funds.However, the indirect tax obligations, and potential exemptions and concessions that apply to superannuation funds are often vital parts of any review of potential tax considerations, particularly in relation to transfer of assets to and from a fund.

This paper covers:

  • a review of the application of duty for direct transfers of real estate to and from a superannuation fund in each state and territory
  • an update and review of the application of duty for indirect transfers of real estate ie interests in landholder/land-rich entities to and from a superannuation fund in each state and territory
  • an overview of other concessions available to superannuation funds such as change of trustees, set-up of funds etc
  • a brief update in relation to the application of the GST regime to transfers of real estate to and from a superannuation fund
  • the application of superannuation related land tax concessions in each state and territory.
Materials from this session: