Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia have lodged a joint submission to Treasury in response to its proposal to prescribe a mandatory date for SMSF trustees to have prepared accounts and statements. Chartered Accountants ANZ and CPA Australia do not support the proposed amendment
The proposed policy would prescribe a mandatory date for SMSF trustees to have prepared accounts and financial statements at least 45 days prior to the due lodgement for a fund’s annual statutory return.
The proposed change was contained in a miscellaneous suite of amendments – the stated purpose of such amendments is to “ensure the law operates as intended by correcting technical or drafting defects, removing anomalies and addressing unintended outcomes” – source: Treasury website.
The measure appears to be new policy, which is unaccompanied by a policy statement setting out the issue or problem which it is designed to address.
The introduction of this measure would add regulatory complexity accompanied by penalties to SMSF regulation. This, in turn, places pressures on trustees to comply, and where preparation of accounts is provided by accountants, may add unnecessarily to work pressures, particularly where there may be a tight deadline.
The joint accounting bodies suggested that “this proposed provision be withdrawn and encourage Treasury to liaise constructively with CPA Australia, Chartered Accountants ANZ and other professional and industry associations to determine a more workable solution that not only addresses the perceived problem, but also considers the issue of some SMSFs failing to lodge their annual return by the due date. We believe that there are administrative and education-based solutions that can more effectively influence the behaviour of trustees and service providers, rather than a prescriptive legislative provision.”
The submission was lodged on 17 November 2020.