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  • Release authorities

    A release authority is a written notice authorising the person to withdraw money from a complying super fund. A valid and correctly given release authority meets a condition of release under Schedule 1 of the SISR.

    Different processes and rules apply to release authorities depending on whether it relates to concessional or non-concessional contributions.

    Release authorities may also be issued in relation to Division 293 tax, however, these will not be discussed in this learner guide.

    For further information on release authorities relating to Division 293 tax, refer to the Division 293 tax learner guide.

    Maximum available release amount

    The maximum available release amount is defined in section 96-30 of Schedule 1 to the TAA as the total amount of all the super lump sums that could be payable from the super fund at that time.

    Voluntary release interest amounts are not included in the maximum available release and include:

    • defined benefit interests
    • super interests in a non-complying super fund
    • super interests that are treated as a separate interest in the super fund to support a super income stream.

    ECC release authority

    Once a valid election is made and received by us, we must issue a release authority to each super fund nominated in the election.

    The release authority must:

    • state the amount to be released from the super fund, as stated in the election
    • be dated
    • contain any other information that we consider relevant.

    Action taken by the super fund

    Subsection 96-20(1) of Schedule 1 to the TAA states that the super fund has seven days from the issue date of an ECC release authority to pay us the lesser of the:

    • amount stated in the release authority
    • maximum available release amount.

    Amounts released under an ECC release authority are paid to us.

    A super fund that has been issued with an ECC release authority must within seven days of issue, notify us:

    • of the amount released and
    • if required, the reason why they are not required to pay the amount requested.

    Action taken by us

    Where full payment is not received by us in relation to a release authority, we must give the person written notice:

    • identifying the super fund
    • stating how much of the amount stated in the release authority was not paid to us.

    If we aren’t able to obtain the requested amount from the nominated super fund, the person has the option to nominate another super fund (or funds). An unsuccessful release letter will issue and the person may make another election if the person’s ECC amount has not changed since their election.

    When a payment is received we must credit any amount paid by the super funds to the person. The credit arises on the day we receive the amount. Any remaining amount can be offset against any debt with the ATO or other government agency.

    If we don’t credit the person’s account within 60 days of receipt they are entitled to interest, as outlined in section 96-55 of Schedule 1 to the TAA.

    Example 4.1

    Jack lodges his election form to us electing to release the full amount he is eligible to release of $10,000 from Big Superfund. However, Jack only has $9,500 in super interests held in Big Superfund.

    Big Superfund forwards the $9,500 to us within seven  days and completes a release authority statement to explain why the full $10,000 was not released.

    We must then write to Jack to inform him how much was paid by Big Superfund and provide a further option to withdraw up to $500 from another super fund.

    End of example

    Exercise 15

    Is the following statement true or false? In order to release ECC, the person must forward a release authority to their super fund.

    Answer 15

    False. The person completes the election form and forwards it to us. Once a valid election is received by us, we must issue a release authority to each super fund nominated in the election.

      Last modified: 28 Mar 2018QC 50732