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  • Penalties for illegally accessing super early

    If you illegally access your super early, fees and severe penalties apply. These penalties also apply to promoters that encourage illegal early withdrawal of super.

    Members and trustees of SMSFs

    You will be required to pay interest and significant penalties on your super if you have accessed it illegally. You cannot claim a personal deduction for any fee or commission a promoter takes from your super when they help you to roll over your super or set up an SMSF.

    If you illegally access your super early, it is included in your assessable income, even if you return the super to the fund later.

    If you are an SMSF trustee, you also incur higher taxes and additional penalties, and can be disqualified if you allowed super to be withdrawn early from the fund. If you are disqualified, you are unable to operate as a trustee of an SMSF.

    As a trustee, if you knowingly allow illegal access to super, you may incur penalties of up to $420,000 and jail terms of up to five years, or fines of up to $1.1 million for corporate trustees.

    There may be other penalties and fees depending on your involvement in the scheme.

    If you have been involved in a scheme, contact us immediately. We will take your voluntary disclosure and circumstances into account when determining any penalties.


    Promoters of schemes that encourage the illegal early release of super may be prosecuted by us and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), as these activities may involve breaches of the following legislation:

    • Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993
    • Corporations Act 2001
    • Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001.

    Breaches may include:

    • misleading or deceptive conduct
    • giving financial product advice without an Australian financial services licence.

    Civil and criminal penalties, including significant fines and terms of imprisonment, may be imposed.

      Last modified: 06 Feb 2019QC 18810