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  • Sydney SMSF super schemer sentenced

    If you’re a frequent visitor to SMSF News, you might remember reading that one of the ATO's current focus areas is the illegal early release of super.

    We’ve been directing our attention to individuals and promoters who register self-managed super funds (SMSFs) with the intent of using them to access super illegally.

    In October, a 51-year-old [New South Wales] man was sentenced to three years jail for doing just this.

    Mr Nguyen operated an SMSF called Tot Form Super Fund, which he used to arrange the unlawful early release of super for a number of people in the community.

    In each case, the individual’s existing super balance (held within a retail fund) was rolled over to Tot Form Super Fund; with over $700,000 in total being unlawfully withdrawn.

    Mr Nguyen retained a significant portion of this amount, falsely advising his clients that a large amount of the money had been paid to the ATO as tax.

    While the majority of SMSFs do the right thing, this case is a reminder for people to be aware of their super affairs, and their obligations. There's very limited circumstances where you may be able to withdraw your super early, but generally you can only withdraw your super when you reach preservation age and stop working.

    The consequences for illegally accessing super early could include:

    • declaring the accessed amount as income in income tax returns
    • administrative penalties
    • disqualification from being a trustee.

    If you’ve been approached by someone telling you that you can withdraw your super early (without meeting a condition of release), you should cease involvement with them and not provide any personal details or sign any documents. You should also call us on 13 10 20 to advise us of your situation.

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      Last modified: 24 Oct 2019QC 60470