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  • ATO guidance on independence standards now available for SMSF auditors

    In January 2021 we published an article advising that after further consideration and consultation with industry stakeholders we had decided, in lieu of writing to auditing firms, to publish detailed guidance on our website for the independence standards.

    Providing guidance in this format will enable us to provide targeted up-to-date information to auditors to help them meet their obligations and allow us to respond quickly to any changes, emerging issues and future guidance needs.

    We are pleased to announce that this content is now available on ato.gov.

    This web content will provide approved self-managed super fund (SMSF) auditors and other tax professionals with guidance on how to comply with the independence standards in APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including Independence Standards) (2018) (the Code), which became effective on 1 January 2020.

    It covers both general independence requirements and specific issues of concern to industry such as the rules relating to in-house audits and our compliance approach.

    We expect all firms and network firms who provide both non-assurance and auditing services, to use their professional judgment to assess whether their specific arrangements comply with the standards as set out in the Code. This guidance material has been provided to assist you with this process.

    Our approach to compliance during the 2020–21 income year is to provide support and guidance to assist auditors comply with the requirements of the Code. This will give firms and network firms time to consider if a restructure of their firm or audit engagements is necessary.

    However, for audits completed after 1 July 2021, firms will need to comply with the Code. This includes audits they have completed for 2020–21 and future financial years and any audits that need to be completed for earlier financial years. If we find firms are breaching the independence standards after 1 July 2021, we may refer the approved SMSF auditor to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for further action.

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      Last modified: 16 Mar 2021QC 65081