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  • ATO's role and compliance approach

    As a co-regulator of the SMSF auditor industry, together with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), we are responsible for monitoring compliance with the independence requirements as set out in the CodeExternal Link.

    The restructured Code which commenced with effect from 1 January 2020 and the Independence Guide (May 2020) make it clear that SMSF auditors who are conducting in-house audits are at risk of not complying with the Code.

    A failure to comply with the independence requirements as set out in the Code is a breach of the SISAExternal Link and SISRExternal Link.

    Our previous transitional educative approach to compliance with these standards has ended. We expect all firms (and network firms) that have previously conducted in-house audits to have already restructured to meet the independence requirements for all audits from 1 July 2021.

    This means:

    • We are now enforcing compliance with the requirements for any audits completed on or after 1 July 2021 (regardless of the income year to which they relate).
    • We will take compliance action if we suspect that auditors are not complying with the requirements.
    • Where we find that auditors are not complying with the requirements, we may refer them to ASIC for further action.

    If ASIC determines an auditor to be non-compliant, they may disqualify them from being an SMSF auditor, suspend or cancel their registration or impose conditions. They may also issue a media release and provide information about the matter to the auditor's professional association.

    Firms should use their professional judgment and assess whether their specific arrangements comply with the independence standards as set out in the Code.

    If you suspect a firm or network firm is not meeting the independence requirements, you can tell us by completing a making a tip-off form.

    Resources for SMSF auditors

    SMSF auditors can refer to and download the following products:

      Last modified: 25 Nov 2022QC 65083