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ATO cautions SMSF trustees about transition to retirement streams

The ATO has issued a statement expressing its concern over recent misrepresentations of transition to retirement income streams (TRIS) and how they are meant to operate.

In its statement, the ATO said that under special circumstances a member can select under regulation 995-1.03 of the Income Tax Assessment Regulations (ITAR) 1997 to treat a TRIS payment as a super lump sum and access the low rate cap.

Members who choose to make this election for income tax purposes must recognise that the nature of the payment from the SMSF does not change for the purposes of the super regulatory law.

The tax office has warned that the complexity surrounding these transactions give rise to a number of issues that trustees need to consider to ensure their SMSF’s compliance with superannuation regulatory and income tax laws.

In particular, the ATO reminds trustees that:

Posted on 21 April '16 by , under Tax.

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Transition to retirement

The transition to retirement (TTR) strategy allows you to access some of your super while you continue to work.

You are able to use the TTR strategy if you are aged 55 to 60. You can use it to supplement your income if you reduce your work hours or boost your super and save on tax while you keep working full time.

  • Starting a TTR pension: To start your TTR pension, transfer some of your super to an account-based pension. You have to keep some money in your super account so that you can continue to receive your employer's compulsory contributions as well as any voluntary contributions you may be making.
  • Government benefits and TTR: The benefits you or your partner receive might be impacted if you choose to opt for this strategy. How and what exactly will change might become clearer upon discussing this with a Financial Information Service (FIS) officer.
  • Life insurance and TTR: In some cases, the life insurance cover you have with your super may stop or reduce if you start a TTR pension – check this before making any decisions or changes.

TTR can help ease your mind as you transition into retirement but it can be a bit complex. Before you choose whether you want to use TTR to reduce work hours or save on tax, or even if you want to use TTR altogether, you should figure out how this will impact all aspects of your finances.

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