Video transcript – Trustee declaration

The trustee declaration is a key document that you should take time to consider. It highlights important duties and responsibilities expected of you by the ATO.

Let’s take a look at five key duties and responsibilities that trustees must understand:

  • It is your responsibility to make sure the fund is run for the sole purpose of providing super to its members when they retire.
  • You must make sure that the SMSF is run appropriately and to the best of your ability. This includes  
    • protecting super assets in the fund
    • making decisions in the interest of all members
    • making sure all actions taken are allowed under super laws, and
    • implementing and regularly reviewing the fund’s investment strategy.
  • There are restrictions on what investments can be made by your SMSF  
    • You are responsible for making sure that your fund’s investments do not breach these rules.
  • You must know the rules on when your SMSF can receive contributions and when it can pay benefits to members.  
    • You are responsible for making sure all contributions and payments comply with laws and are allowed under the trust deed.
  • You have administrative duties to perform including  
    • keeping records for required timeframes
    • appointing an SMSF auditor each year
    • lodging the SMSF annual return by the due date, and
    • notifying the ATO of changes to the SMSF.

You must make sure that every trustee or corporate trustee director completes a declaration within 21 days of starting.

If the ATO feels that you don’t understand these responsibilities, it can direct you to undertake a free education course.

Remember: even if you have an administrator or other SMSF professional managing your fund, you are still the trustee, and the trustee duties and responsibilities remain with you.

For more SMSF information, take a look at our other videos - or visit the ATO website at

    Last modified: 12 Nov 2015QC 39855