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  • Record-keeping requirements

    One of your responsibilities as a trustee is to ensure proper and accurate tax and super records are kept.

    Watch:

    Media: Record keeping in your SMSF
    http://tv.ato.gov.au/ato-tv/media?v=bd1bdiubfshbrtExternal Link (Duration: 2:22)

    You should take minutes of all investment decisions, including:

    • why a particular investment was chosen
    • whether all trustees agreed with the decision.

    If, as one of the fund’s trustees, you invest the self-managed super fund's (SMSF) money in an investment that fails, the other trustees could take action against you for failing to be diligent in your duties. However, if your investment decision was recorded in meeting minutes that were signed by the other trustees, you will have a record to show that the other trustees agreed with your actions.

    You need to make certain records available to your fund’s SMSF auditor when they audit your fund each year. You may also need to provide accurate records to us if we ask to see them.

    Signature requirements for financial statements

    Under the super laws, SMSF trustees are required to sign their SMSF’s financial statements before finalising their fund’s audit each income year.

    Relief under COVID-19

    COVID-19 impacts such as social distancing or isolation requirements or your tax agent or accountant working from a home office may prevent you from signing your SMSF's financial statements in person. If you are unable to sign the fund's financial statements in person, alternative options available for signing the financial statements are:

    • returning a signed scanned copy to your tax agent or accountant by email or using an electronic signature such as a digital signature.
      Digital signatures should be provided:
      • using a secure system, typically through an established third-party provider
      • in a way that clearly identifies the trustee signing and indicates the approval you are providing
       
    • having your agent or accountant post the financial statements to you and you will need to sign them and arrange to return them to your agent by post.

    Note: You will not meet the signature requirement if you only acknowledge the financial statements by email or over the phone.

    Minimum record keeping requirements

    You need to keep the following records for a minimum of five years:

    • accurate and accessible accounting records that explain the transactions and financial position of your SMSF
    • an annual operating statement and an annual statement of your SMSF’s financial position
    • copies of all SMSF annual returns lodged
    • copies of transfer balance account reports lodged
    • copies of any other statements you are required to lodge with us or provide to other super funds.

    You need to keep the following records for a minimum of 10 years:

    • minutes of trustee meetings and decisions (if matters affecting your fund were discussed, for example you reviewed the fund's investment strategy)
    • records of all changes of trustees
    • trustee declarations recognising the obligations and responsibilities for any trustee, or director of a corporate trustee, appointed after 30 June 2007
    • members’ written consent to be appointed as trustees
    • copies of all reports given to members
    • documented decisions about storage of collectables and personal use assets.

    Don't forget that income tax record-keeping requirements also need your attention – especially documents on deductions, capital gains and losses.

    Keep records in writing and in English. If you keep electronic records, they must be capable of verification by us and be in a form we can access and understand.

    See also:

    Last modified: 20 Jul 2018QC 23333