Can you do it all yourself?

Some people call self-managed super funds (SMSF) ‘do it yourself super’ or ‘DIY funds’. And sure, a self-managed super fund will give you more control over your super – but you can’t do it all yourself.

Let’s look at some of the people you will have to work with to meet your obligations.

Most funds have at least two members and trustees. You are all responsible for managing the fund, so you all have to work together. Likewise, you are all responsible for the consequences of decisions made and any penalties if things go wrong – even if you didn’t make the decision yourself A breakdown in a relationship with other trustee members can have a very damaging effect on the fund.

You will need an independent self-managed super fund auditor who is registered with ASIC to complete your fund’s audit each year. If the auditor finds any issues, they will give you a qualified audit report, and you must take action to resolve those issues.

In some circumstances, you will need a qualified actuary to provide you with an actuarial certificate. This will help you work out the amount of tax benefits available to your self-managed super fund when it is paying an income stream.

Each year, you need to value your assets at market value. In some circumstances, you will need an independent valuer who is qualified to do this; for example, to value artwork. The Australian Taxation Office has valuation guidelines on their website.

Many trustees may also need help from other people to run their self-managed super fund:

  • You can use an administrator who will manage most of the day-to-day running of your self-managed super fund. This might save you some time – but remember, the responsibility is still yours.
  • Each year you need to prepare financial accounts and statements that meet the accounting standards. If you can’t do this yourself, you will need an accountant. The accounts and statements must be prepared each year before the self-managed super fund is audited.
  • Most trustees arrange for a tax agent to lodge their self-managed super fund annual return.
  • You may consult a financial planner for wealth or estate planning, or an investment manager to help you choose and monitor fund investments.
  • For complex situations, you may also want to consult a superannuation, tax or legal specialist.

So, as you can see – you certainly can’t do it all yourself. There are quite a few people that you need to work with to make sure your fund is managed well. But don’t forget – no matter how much help you get from others, you are still ultimately responsible for your self-managed super fund.

For more SMSF information, take a look at our other videos – or contact us here