Toggle left hand content menu
  • Self-managed super funds

    Self-managed super funds (SMSFs) provide a way of saving for your retirement. The difference between an SMSF and other types of fund is that the members of an SMSF are usually also the trustees. This means the members of the SMSF run it for their own benefit and are responsible for complying with the super and tax laws.

    ATO is the regulator of SMSFs.

    Thinking about self-managed super

    If you set up an SMSF, you're in charge – you make the investment decisions for the fund and you're responsible for complying with the law. It's a major financial decision and you need to have the time and skills to do it. There may be better options for your super savings. Either way you should consider professional advice.

    Setting up

    Your SMSF needs to be set up correctly so that it's eligible for tax concessions, can receive contributions and is as easy as possible to administer. You'll need to work out the structure of your fund, create a trust deed and appoint your trustees, among other things.

    Contributions and rollovers

    As an SMSF trustee, you can accept contributions for your members from various sources but there are some restrictions, mostly depending on the member’s age and the contribution caps.


    You need to manage your fund’s investments in the best interests of fund members and in accordance with the law. The SMSF's investments must be separate from all personal and business affairs of fund members, including your own.

    Paying benefits

    Generally your SMSF can only pay a member's super when the member reaches their ‘preservation age’ and meets one of the conditions of release, such as retirement. The payment may be an income stream (like a pension) or a lump sum, depending on the circumstances. There are significant penalties for releasing super benefits without meeting a condition of release.

    Winding up

    At some point you may need to wind up your SMSF. This could happen if all the members and trustees have left the SMSF or all the benefits have been paid out of the fund. You'll need to deal with members' benefits and finalise your reporting responsibilities.

    Administering and reporting

    As a trustee you have a number of administrative obligations – for example, you need to arrange an annual audit of your fund, keep appropriate records and lodge an annual return with us. Failing to meet your obligations may result in penalties.

    Getting help from us

    You can contact us for general help with your SMSF, or write to us for advice specific to your fund's circumstances. We can't provide financial or investment advice.

  • Last modified: 01 Oct 2014QC 23300