The ATO has reminded SMSF trustees that the COVID-19 relief and support offered to SMSFs ended on 30 June 2022.
At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, SMSF trustees that were financially or otherwise impacted by the recurring and prolonged lockdown periods were granted relief by the ATO.
The relief was offered to SMSFs for the 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years where certain situations beyond their control may have caused SMSF trustees to contravene superannuation law.
For example, an SMSF trustee may have given tenant/s (including a related party tenant) a reduction in rent if they were financially impacted due to COVID-19. As charging a price that is less than market value will usually give rise to contraventions under the superannuation laws, the relief measures avoided this outcome if the arrangement met certain criteria (ie. the relief was offered on commercial terms and the arrangement was documented, etc).
The relief measures that were available
The table below shows the types of relief SMSF trustees were offered by the ATO.
|COVID-19 Relief Available||Example of How Superannuation Laws Could Have Been Breached|
|SMSF residency relief||
If SMSF trustees were stranded overseas due to COVID-19 and this caused them to be out of Australia for more than two years, this may have
affected the fund’s residency status for tax purposes.
Rental relief provided by a SMSF to a tenant in the form of a reduction, waiver or deferral may have breached the superannuation laws.
|Loan repayment relief||
The superannuation laws could have been breached where:
|In-house asset relief||
Where an SMSF exceeded the 5% in-house asset threshold at 30 June of a financial year due to the financial impacts of COVID-19 and could not
execute a plan by 30 June of the following financial year to reduce the market value of the fund’s in-house assets to below 5%
Actions required for SMSF trustees
As the ATO’s COVID-19 support has ended, the ATO expects:
The ATO has also reminded SMSF trustees to ensure they document any relief they accessed and to provide their approved SMSF auditor with
evidence to support their case for the purposes of their annual SMSF audit.
SMSF trustees have also been encouraged to take advantage of the ATO voluntary disclosure service and formulate a plan of rectification should any contraventions occur.