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What is the SMSF Association?

What is the SMSF Association?

The SMSF Association is the independent professional body that represents the Australian self-managed super fund sector. It endeavours to raise the standards of advice imparted by SMSF professionals. It also works to empower SMSF trustees to make more informed decisions.

The vision of the SMSF Association is to create a sustainable SMSF community that helps Australians take greater control over their own destiny. Built on the belief that a healthy SMSF sector makes a valuable contribution to long term capital and national prosperity, the association works to improve the quality of advisors and the knowledge of trustees. 

Advocacy is another important role that the SMSF Association plays, actively participating in discussions with stakeholders such as the government, the opposition, regulators, and policymakers. 

Membership of the SMSF Association

The association’s membership is open to SMSF professionals, such as financial planners, accountants, tax agents, auditors, lawyers, administrators and actuaries. There are five different categories of membership, each with its own set of benefits for members. The membership categories are - associate, affiliate, specialist, fellow, and retired. 

Members gain access to a variety of CPD resources and opportunities to interact with experts. The technical research and resource library of the SMSF Association enables members to serve clients better and enhance the value of their own advice and services. SMSF news and the latest developments are circulated to members through the association’s newsletter. Membership of the SMSF Association also gives professionals a way to add their voice to discussions with the government and regulators.

What is the SMSF Association’s governance structure?

The SMSF Association is a professional body governed through a constitution, elected board and executive team and follows the AICD Not-For-Profit Governance Principles. A number of committees handle the administration and management of the Association.

SMSF Association advocacy initiatives

The SMSF Association has played a role in many discussions that have influenced policy. A few of these are:

  • When the Productivity Commissions took a position that an SMSF is only cost-effective at balances of $1 million and above, the SMSF Association played an instrumental role in persuading them to bring this amount down to $500,000. This change helped to make SMSFs a viable alternative to more Aussies, regardless of their super balance or stage in life.
  • COVID-19 relief initiatives for the SMSF sector, such as a reduction in minimum pension withdrawals, rental relief, LRBA relief, electronic signatures etc.
  • Advocating ways to make super funds more flexible, such as higher concessional caps and catch-up contributions.
  • Supporting the use of digital rollovers between SMSFs and large super funds.
  • Working to raise the ethical and professional standards for financial advisers and supporting them to complete the approved qualification exams.
  • Working to retain limited resource borrowing arrangements as an investment option for SMSFs.
  • A number of technical fixes and reforms related to valuations, taxation, streamlining, untaxed elements in death benefit rollovers, ECPI changes, raising the work test age, simplifying processes, and protecting the interests of members. 

Initiatives for SMSF trustees

The SMSF Association runs a portal called SMSF Connect for people running a self-managed super fund or considering setting one up. This portal provides access to compliance-related information through a variety of learning resources. SMSF trustees can also find investment information on aspects such as diversification, portfolio construction, specific asset classes, markets, industries and trends. SMSF trustees can speak with an expert for detailed guidance.

Questions you may have:

Do I have to pay myself superannuation if I'm self-employed?

No, self-employed workers don’t have to pay themselves superannuation. However, if you do pay yourself superannuation, you will probably be able to claim a tax deduction.

How does the age pension work?

Most Australians who are of retirement age can qualify for the age pension. However, depending on the size of your assets and post-retirement income, you might be entitled to only a reduced pension. In some instances, you might not be entitled to any pension payments.

What happens if my employer falls behind on my superannuation payments?

The Australian Taxation Office will investigate if your employer falls behind on your superannuation payments or doesn’t pay at all. You can report your employer with this online tool.

How much money do you get on the age pension?

Pension payments can be reduced due to the income test and asset test (see ‘What is the age pension’s income test?’ and ‘What is the age pension’s assets test?’).

Here are the maximum fortnightly payments:

Category

Single

Couple each

Couple combined

Couple apart due to ill health

Maximum basic rate

$808.30

$609.30

$1,218.60

$808.30

Maximum pension supplement

$65.90

$49.70

$99.40

$65.90

Energy supplement

$14.10

$10.60

$21.20

$14.10

TOTAL

$888.30

$669.60

$1,339.20

$888.30

What happens to my superannuation when I change jobs?

You can keep your superannuation fund for as long as you like, so nothing happens when you change jobs. Please note that some superannuation funds have special features for people who work with certain employers, so these features may no longer be available if you change jobs.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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