Penalties for illegally accessing super early

Severe penalties apply for illegally accessing your super early and for those promoting schemes that encourage early access to super.

Members and trustees of SMSFs

You cannot claim a deduction for any fee or commission a promoter takes from your super when they help you to roll over your super or set up an SMSF. You may be required to pay interest and penalties on super you have accessed illegally.

If you illegally access your super early, it is included in your taxable income, even if you return the super to the fund later.

If you set up an SMSF and knowingly illegally access your super early, you may also incur a fine of up to $340,000 and a jail term of up to five years.

If you are an SMSF trustee, you also incur higher taxes and additional penalties, and can be disqualified if you allowed super to be accessed early from the fund. If you are disqualified, you are unable to operate as a trustee of an SMSF.

As a trustee, if you knowingly allow illegal access to super, you may incur penalties of up to $340,000 and jail terms of up to five years, or fines of up to $1.1 million for corporate trustees.

There may be other penalties, depending on your involvement in the scheme.

If you have been involved in a scheme, contact us immediately. We will take your voluntary disclosure and circumstances into account when determining any penalties.


Promoters of schemes that encourage or promote the illegal early release of super may be prosecuted by us and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), as these activities may involve breaches of many laws, including the:

  • Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993
  • Corporations Act 2001
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001.

Breaches may include misleading or deceptive conduct, and giving financial product advice without an Australian financial services licence.

Civil and criminal penalties, including significant fines and terms of imprisonment, may be imposed.

Some people have already received jail sentences for promoting such schemes and assisting people to illegally access their super early.

    Last modified: 01 Sep 2016QC 18810