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What and when to report

What events self-managed super funds (SMSFs) must report by certain dates and what happens if reporting is late.

Last updated 8 January 2023

Events you need to report

An SMSF must report events that affect a member's transfer balance account.

Common events are:

  • details of when a member starts a retirement phase income stream, including death benefit income streams – details you need to provide include
    • type of income stream
    • the value
    • start date.

Where the death benefit income stream is paid to a reversionary beneficiary, the start date will be the date the member died, and the value will be the value of the income stream on the date of death of the member:

  • details (including value) of commutations of retirement phase income streams, including commutation of a pension that occurs before it is rolled over to another fund.

Other events include:

  • details of limited recourse borrowing arrangement (LRBA) payments (including the value and date of each relevant payment) if the LRBA was entered into on or after 1 July 2017 (or a pre-existing LRBA was re-financed on or after 1 July 2017) and the payment results in an increase in the value of the member's interest that supports their retirement phase income stream
  • compliance with a commutation authority issued by us
  • details (including value) of personal injury (structured settlement) contributions.

If no event occurs, you have nothing to report.

Some exclusions from reporting

Events an SMSF does not need to report on a transfer balance account report (TBAR) include:

  • pension payments
  • investment earnings and losses
  • when an income stream ceases because the interest has been exhausted
  • the death of a member
  • information that individuals report to us directly using a Transfer balance event notification form (NAT 74919) – this includes a
    • family law payment split
    • debit event from fraud, dishonesty, or bankruptcy
    • structured settlement contributions made before 1 July 2007
  • information other funds will report to us such as a member's interest in an APRA fund.

When you need to report

All SMSFs must report events that affect their members' transfer balances. Due dates will depend on their total super balance until 30 June 2023, however there are instances where you need to report sooner.

We encourage you to report events before they are due because it:

  • helps members manage their transfer balance account and avoid exceeding their personal transfer balance cap
  • helps ensure our calculation of a member's personal transfer balance cap is based on full and accurate information, in particular for events that occur in the income year before indexation
  • avoids incorrect excess transfer balance determinations being issued.

You do not need to report to us if no event occurs.

For help with reporting, see our event-based reporting case studies.

Find more guidance in the Law Companion Ruling, LCR 2016/9 Superannuation reform transfer balance cap.

Until 30 June 2023

Due dates for transfer balance event reporting are determined by the total super balances of an SMSF's members, unless they need to report sooner.

Total balance $1 million or more

If the total balance of any of your members was $1 million or more on 30 June the year before the first member starts their retirement phase income stream, you must report quarterly.

This means you must report the event that affects the members transfer balance within 28 days after the end of the quarter where the event occurs.

Total balance less than $1 million

If the total balance was less than $1 million, you can report annually at the same time you lodge your SMSF annual return.

From 1 July 2023, you will no longer be able to lodge annually. We recommend you start lodging quarterly now.

From 1 July 2023

All SMSFs will be required to report quarterly, even if the members total super balance is less than $1 million. This means you must report the event that affects the members transfer balance within 28 days after the end of the quarter in which the event occurs.

All unreported events that occurred before 30 September 2023 must be reported by 28 October 2023. This means you cannot report at the same time as your SMSF annual return (SAR) for the 2022–23 income year.

When you need to report sooner

If a member exceeds their personal transfer balance cap, you must report the following events sooner:

  • a voluntary member commutation of an income steam in response to an excess transfer balance (ETB) determination – this must be reported within 10 business days after the end of the month in which the commutation occurs
  • responses to commutation authorities which must be reported within 60 days of the date the commutation authority was issued.

If an individual has exceeded their cap and we issue an excess transfer balance determination or commutation authority based on incomplete or incorrect information, you must correct the reporting as soon as possible. This enables us to revoke the determination or commutation authority.

Earlier reporting is encouraged in some situations

We encourage you to report earlier, especially in these cases:

  • Report events that occur in the income year before indexation of the transfer balance cap as soon as possible to ensure our calculation of an individual's personal cap is based on complete information and less likely to need to be reviewed.
  • Report the commutation of a pension that occurs when the member commutes their pension and rolls it over to another fund at the time of the roll-over. If they are rolling into an APRA-regulated fund and starting an income stream there, report when it happens so their income stream is not counted twice.
  • Report a member's pension account is being rolled over as the SMSF is winding up by lodging a TBAR before it is wound up.

Consequences of late reporting

We encourage members to lodge their transfer balance reporting as soon as possible to avoid adverse consequences.

If an SMSF does not lodge a TBAR by the required date, the member’s transfer balance account will be adversely affected. They may need to commute more money to rectify any excess and pay more excess transfer balance tax. There may also be reverse workflow for the trustee.

If the SMSF is late reporting a commutation made after we issued an excess transfer balance determination to the member, we may send a commutation authority to their fund. This puts the member at risk of having the excess amount removed from retirement phase twice.

An SMSF may be subject to compliance action and penalties if they do not lodge on time or respond to a commissioner commutation authority. Non-compliance with a commutation authority may result in denying exempt current pension income (ECPI) claims.

Valuing assets for reporting

In line with our valuation guidelines for SMSFs, the trustee may choose to use a reasonable estimate of the value of an income stream to meet their TBAR obligations. This usually occurs when the member starts a pension part way through the year.

We expect that, as part of choosing to start a pension, an individual will have a reasonable estimate of the value of that pension. In some instances, it may be wise to bring valuation practices forward.

If the trustee has used a reasonable estimate and the value of that income stream significantly changes, the trustee may correct the value initially reported to us.

Record keeping

Trustees have an obligation to ensure:

  • their TBAR reporting is true and correct
  • the commencement and commutation of retirement phase income streams is supported by contemporaneous fund records
  • payments to members have been correctly characterised at the time the payment was requested so trustees and auditors can ensure the minimum pension payment standards have been met (this is especially important where pension payments have been made from an income stream that has also been commuted in full or in part during the year)
  • their TBAR reporting for the commencement and commutation of retirement phase income streams also aligns with their ECPI claim for a year
  • relevant documentation is clearly passed on to their auditor.

Amended reporting

TBAR re-reporting by SMSF trustees will be monitored. We may request evidence of relevant documents and calculations to substantiate the TBAR amendment.