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  • What and when to report

    A self-managed super fund (SMSF) must report certain events in the event-based reporting framework for self-managed super funds (SMSFs) to the ATO by the due dates.

    On this page:

    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 commences 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 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.

    See also:

    How often and when you need to report

    If an SMSF member had a pre-existing income stream, it needed to have been reported to us on the super transfer balance account report (TBAR) on or before 1 July 2018.

    From 1 July 2018, all SMSFs must report events that affect their members' transfer balances. If no event occurs, there is nothing to report.

    Timeframes for reporting are determined by the total superannuation balances of an SMSF's members:

    • unless the member has exceeded their personal transfer balance cap and:
    • has been sent an excess transfer balance determination or
    • their fund has been sent a commutation authority.

    SMSFs that have any members with a total superannuation balance of $1 million or more on 30 June the year before the first member starts their first retirement phase income stream, must report events affecting members’ transfer balances within 28 days after the end of the quarter in which the event occurs.

    When all members of an SMSF have a total superannuation balance of less than $1 million, the SMSF can report this information at the same time as when its SMSF annual return (SAR) is due.

    An SMSF is required to report earlier if a member has exceeded their personal transfer balance cap.

    Any SMSF can report events as they occur and are encouraged to 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 from 1 July 2021 is based on full and accurate information
    • avoids incorrect excess transfer balance determinations being issued.

    Once the reporting framework is set, SMSF trustees will not be expected to move between annual and quarterly reporting, regardless of fluctuations to any of the members' balances or changes in fund membership.

    In line with our valuation guidelines for self-managed super funds, the SMSF trustee may choose to use a reasonable estimate of the value of an income stream to meet their TBAR obligations when:

    • the SMSF has an obligation to report events no later than 28  days after the end of the quarter or
    • the SMSF does not have an obligation to report events until they lodge the SAR for the year, but choose to report the event to us no later than 28 days after the end of the quarter and  
      • the member commences a pension on 1 July but a full valuation of the assets supporting the pension is not possible by 28 October – for example, they include private company shares
      • the member commences a pension part way through a year.
       

    We expect that, as part of choosing to commence 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.

    We will continue to evaluate this reporting frameworks' benefits and risks. For example, the $1 million reporting threshold may be re-evaluated in the future, given indexation of the general transfer balance cap.

    See also:

    Total superannuation balance

    A member's total superannuation balance is the sum of their accumulation and retirement phase superannuation interests across all accounts and funds.

    As a member's total superannuation balance could be spread across multiple superannuation providers, SMSF trustees will need to self-assess their members' total superannuation balances when determining if the annual or quarterly reporting framework applies. There may be outstanding information yet to be reported to us.

    Trustees are expected to demonstrate they have taken a fair and reasonable approach to assess their members' total superannuation balances when determining if the annual or quarterly reporting framework applies.

    See also:

    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 personal transfer balance 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, in particular:

    • events that occurred in the 2020-21 income year, should be reported soon as possible, to ensure our calculation of an individual's personal transfer balance cap from 1 July 2021 is based on complete information and is less likely to need to be reviewed
    • the commutation of a pension that occurs when the member commutes their pension and rolls it over to another fund, should be reported at the time of the roll-over.

    If an SMSF member rolls their super benefit into an APRA-regulated fund and starts an income stream there – and the SMSF does not report this to us in a TBAR when it happens – a double-counting of the member’s income streams will occur.

    This is because there will be a mismatch in timing of the reporting done by the APRA-regulated fund and the SMSF.

    If the member's pension account is being rolled over because the SMSF is wound up, the TBAR should be lodged before the fund is wound up and the account reported as closed.

    See also:

    Working out your reporting due date

    The following table will help you work out your reporting due date.

    Table 1: Due dates for reporting TBA events

    Transfer balance account (TBA) event

    Amount of SMSF members' total superannuation balance (TSB)

    TBAR due date

    A voluntary member commutes an income stream in response to an excess transfer balance (ETB) determination

    Not applicable, as member has exceeded their personal transfer balance cap

    Within 10 business days after the end of the month in which the commutation occurs

    A response to a commutation authority

    Not applicable, as the reporting obligation is set by legislation

    Within 60 days of the date the commutation was issued

    Any other TBA event – see What events you need to report

    When the first member started a retirement phase income stream during a year, and all members of the SMSF had a TSB of less than $1 million as at 30 June immediately before they started their income stream

    No later than the due date for lodging the SMSF's annual return for the financial year in which the event occurs

    Any other TBA event – see What events you need to report

    When the first member started a retirement phase income stream during a year and the SMSF had any member with a TSB of $1 million or more as at 30 June immediately before they started their income stream

    28 days after the end of the quarter in which the event occurred. For 2017–18 TBA events, this will be 28 October 2018

    Once the reporting framework is set, SMSF trustees will not be expected to move between annual and quarterly reporting due dates, regardless of fluctuations in any of its members' balances or members leaving or joining the SMSF.

    Consequences of late reporting

    We are taking an educative and supportive approach where TBARs are lodged late. 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. The member 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, putting the member at risk of having the excess amount removed from retirement phase twice.

    In the future, an SMSF may be subject to compliance action and penalties. We don't intend to deny exempt current pension income (ECPI) claims if an SMSF doesn’t report their transfer balance cap on time.

    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, to allow trustees and auditors to 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 in relation to the commencement and commutation of retirement phase income streams also aligns with their ECPI claim for a year.

    Trustees will need to ensure the relevant documentation is clearly passed on to their auditor.

    Amended reporting

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

    Last modified: 03 Jun 2021QC 57300