|SMSF Guide 2012|
Tell us a little about yourself, how long have you been in practice now?
I have been practicing almost exclusively with respect to SMSF’s for close to 11 years now. A lot has changed over that time. I became a member of The Tax Institute in 2006. I studied at the University of Western Australia, obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce, and once I started working in the industry, completed additional study in the relevant areas.
This is your fifth year of presenting our Superannuation Roadshows, how did you find it this time out?
There are always changes occurring with respect to superannuation that we need to be aware of, with the practicalities of the implementation of strategies being big areas of concern this year. The format change of the Roadshow to include several workshop case studies hopefully provided a more hands-on approach for practitioners. It was also a benefit that my luggage wasn’t lost on my way to Darwin, like it was last year.
What was the general mood amongst practitioners?
Given the consistent changes to superannuation, not to mention those that have been proposed but are yet to be implemented, I get the feeling practitioners are frustrated with the changes and lack of certainty in the superannuation space. This uncertainty makes it very difficult to plan for our clients, but equally makes it so important to be up to date with what the changes are and what has and hasn’t actually been implemented by the Government.
What seemed to be the big themes amongst those you spoke with or areas of concern?
The continuing theme seems to be how we can take advantage of the opportunities available with respect to superannuation, and protecting the assets within superannuation as much as possible for our clients and their beneficiaries.
Tell us a little about how the Roadshow series informs the development of the new edition of SMSF Guide.
The SMSF Guide is designed to be an up to date publication for advisers in the industry, taking into consideration the latest rulings, cases and legislation, as well as the practical implications of the implementation of some strategies. The Superannuation Roadshow enables the latest issues and areas to be considered in detail, explored via workshops with delegates and then conveyed through the SMSF Guide. The Roadshows also assists in the consideration of the most relevant cases and other appropriate areas to include in the SMSF Guide.
The new edition covers the impact SMSFR 2012/1 has on borrowing within funds, what are the key areas to look for?
Prior to the release of the draft version of SMSFR 2012/1 (being SMSFR 2011/D1), there was much contention in the industry as to what constituted a single acquirable asset or a replacement asset (particularly with respect to property). The final ruling has provided certainty in this area, which now makes it much easier to provide advice to clients with respect to such arrangements. The ATO has taken a practical approach to their interpretation of the legislation, which is very welcome in the industry.
The new edition covers TR 2011/D3, and suggests some strategies to consider for client estate planning objectives, can you tell us a little about some of these?
This draft ruling confirms a long held view of the ATO with respect to the commencement and cessation of an income stream. The most important consideration for our clients is to ensure that where the intention is for an income stream to be in place, the minimum pension payments are made for the income tax exemption to apply.
Additionally, where reversionary income streams are intended, it is important that the designation of existing income streams to reversionary income streams doesn’t jeopardise other estate planning strategies that may be in place. This is particularly the case with respect to the quarantining of taxation components, whereby some strategies were undertaken prior to Better Super being implemented back in 2006/2007.
Following sold-out previous imprints, the SMSF Guide is now in its fourth edition. Find out more, and order your copy today.
Representative with Cooper Partners Financial Services.
The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.