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How your SMSF is regulated

As a key regulator of SMSFs, the ATO can help you understand the role of a trustee.

Last updated 5 December 2018

As an SMSF trustee you may need to deal with two key government agencies. These are:

  • Australian Taxation Office (ATO) – administering the relevant super laws for SMSFs
  • Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) – regulating financial services to protect consumers and manages SMSF auditor registrations.

How we work with ASIC

The ATO and ASIC are joint regulators of SMSFs.

We assist ASIC by:

  • providing SMSF data to assist superannuation sector analysis
  • collaborating to develop publications and guidance material
  • making referrals to ASIC if we discover potentially unlicensed advice providers, or SMSF auditors who fail to meet their obligations.

ATO as a regulator in the SMSF Sector

As a key regulator for SMSFs, we can help you understand your duties and legal responsibilities as a trustee. We will make it as easy as possible for you to comply with your obligations and protect the future benefits of fund members.

We check compliance with the law to safeguard retirement income. Our activities include:

  • checking you manage your fund in accordance with super laws
  • implementing and maintaining systems to check the legal compliance
  • taking enforcement action to correct matters when there is a breach of the law
  • checking SMSF auditors perform their duties to the required standard.
  • verifying a fund’s primary purpose is to pay retirement benefits to members
  • providing information and forms to help set up and manage your fund
  • assessing applications for early release of super on compassionate grounds.

We don't:

  • develop the law or related policy
  • provide financial or investment advice
  • evaluate your investment choices
  • advise on the structure of your fund, or whether an SMSF is a sensible choice for you
  • advise on resolving disputes between trustees
  • recommend specific professionals, or intervene if you have a dispute with a professional.