SMSFs – working with clients to avoid common mistakes

Shirley Schaefer, BDO

One year on from the introduction of the latest
superannuation reforms, advisers are still coming to grips with a range of
issues that can have a lasting impact on individuals’ retirement planning. Together
with the continued growth of the sector, this has led to the increase in demand
for tax and superannuation advice from those with superannuation clients in the

The SMSF $700 billion sector represents almost a third of
the total superannuation system, but the poor performance of SMSFs have some in
the industry calling for reform, including suggestions for a minimum threshold
for setting them up.
Whatever the future holds, they remain a popular small
business investment vehicle, and advisers need to be aware of the opportunities
to help clients’ growth, and the risks that are present.
At the 2018 SA Super Day, Shirley Schaefer (BDO) presents
the session ‘SMSF hot topics plus tips and traps’. She previews her session
Shirley said, “The complexity of SMSFs and the super rules
has made a comprehensive understanding of super out of the reach of most of our
clients, even the best educated. This means that clients will make mistakes and
not know until we pick it up. This can have significant tax consequences for
the SMSF or the individual.”
With the 2017 super changes now behind us, Shirley’s session
looks at current issues facing SMSFs, including common errors and ATO warnings.
“I’ll cover where the risk areas exist for SMSFs in 2018/19
and when looking back at the past twelve months. The rules have become far more
complex and clients will make mistakes. I’ll be detailing those common
mistakes, the areas that the ATO is focussing on for SMSFs and providing some
tips on how to best educate your clients. It’s always better to prevent than
detect & rectify after all.”
“I’ll advise on where delegates can and should focus their
attention for SMSFs, checking those ‘hot spots’ first, covering how to get on
the front foot with your clients to prevent these mistakes occurring and to how
to minimise any adverse tax consequences.”
Shirley has presented regularly at Institute events over the
last five years, and said “I’m an auditor by training but a SMSF expert by
choice. I entered the SMSF industry almost by default, but quickly found my
niche. I am passionate about all things super and helping clients who have
fallen foul of the ATO is what I enjoy – setting them on the straight &
narrow. Getting me to stop talking super is the greatest challenge.”
2018’s SA Super Day program also covers practical issues
resulting from last year’s reforms, the superannuation guarantee, super death
benefits, issues related to powers of attorney and SMSF’s, and winding up a


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