1. Appoint SMSF professionals
While the main advantage of a SMSF is control, sometimes we all need a bit of help. The first step is to appoint SMSF Options as tax agent and fund administrator by filling out a new fund setup form here.
As tax agents, we will help prepare your fund’s accounts and its annual financial position and operating statements, complete and lodge your SMSF annual return and provide tax advice. We will also you manage the day-to-day running of your fund and meet your annual reporting, compliance and administrative obligations, technical support and provide strategic superannuation strategy advice. In addition, you may also require a legal adviser and financial adviser to help with your investment strategy and investments. A legal practitioner can review and, if necessary, update your fund’s trust deed and a financial adviser can help you prepare an investment strategy.
2. Decide which trust structure to use for your fund
A SMSF can either have a company act as trustee or the members can act as the trustee. At SMSF we can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of either and what is appropriate for your fund.
3. Make sure all the members are eligible to be trustee
Only people who are not disqualified are permitted to act as the trustee of an SMSF. A disqualified person includes someone who is an undischarged bankrupt, has been disqualified by a regulator (eg the ATO) or subject to civil penalty under the super laws, or convicted of a crime involving dishonesty. A disqualified company includes companies that are insolvent or under administration.
4. Check the residency of your fund
Your fund needs to satisfy the definition of an Australian Superannuation Fund at all times during the income year. If a member moves overseas for an extended period this may change its status and the fund could be taxed at the highest marginal rate.
5. Create your trust and trust deed
A super fund is a special kind of trust. A trust is an arrangement where a person or company (the trustee) holds assets (trust property) in trust for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries). The trust deed is a legal document that sets out the rules for establishing and operating your fund – things like the fund’s objectives, who can be a member and how benefits are paid. You can choose your preferred trust deed provider, or SMSF Options can arrange this for you.
6. Appoint your trustees
All trustees and directors need to sign a declaration stating they consent to act as a trustee and that they understand their duties and responsibilities of becoming a trustee or director.
7. Record each member’s tax file number
You’ll need to request each member provide their TFN when establishing the fund.
8. Open a bank account for your fund
To be legally established, your fund needs to hold assets. You need to open a bank account in your fund’s name to manage the fund’s operations and accept contributions and any rollovers of super benefits. SMSF Options can assist with this process via one of preferred referrals that can have your new account open and ready to go within 24 hours. If you do open an account yourself, be sure to check that data feeds are available to be eligible for our daily administration service. If in doubt, call one of our advisers.
9. Register with the ATO
Once your fund is legally established and the trustee declaration has been signed, SMSF Options will register your fund with the ATO and apply for the fund’s TFN and ABN, and register for GST (if required).
10. Prepare your investment strategy
This should provide a framework for making investment decisions. It should be in writing so you can prove your investment decisions comply with it and the super laws. SMSF Options can assist you in drafting your own investment strategy to be compliant with the super rules; or we can refer you to a professional financial adviser to assist you in this step.