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Building your SMSF support team

SMSFs don't have to always be DIY - getting expert advice when you need can be a smart investment.

One of the benefits of a self-managed super fund (SMSF) is that as a trustee and member you have the opportunity to be in total control of your nest egg. However, there are occasions when you’ll want – and need – to draw on the support and expertise of some professionals. There are definitely advantages to doing so.

Here are the key players you’ll want to include in your support network in order to get the most out of your SMSF.

Accountants or tax advisors

Among the many annual responsibilities of running your own SMSF you are required to:

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    Prepare an annual balance sheet and a profit and loss statement.
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    Value the fund’s assets at market value.
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    Prepare annual member statements.
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    Prepare and lodge an annual income tax return and annual report with the ATO.

Using an accountant or tax advisor who specialises in superannuation could be a real asset in getting these things done efficiently and to your advantage.

SMSF support team

You may also wish to draw on other experts like insurance brokers when seeking insurance for your SMSF.

Auditors

An SMSF is required to keep ‘proper and accurate’ tax and super records, to document investment decisions, and to make them available to the SMSF’s auditor or the ATO on request.

If you run an SMSF you are obliged to appoint an independent Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) approved auditor to conduct an annual audit of your fund.

Financial advisors or investment experts

Do you have a clear idea of the best investment strategy for your SMSF? Unless you’re very knowledgeable and confident about the investments you intend to make, it can pay to use a financial advisor or someone who is expert in the kind of investments you are interested in and that SMSFs can make.

Your nest egg is no doubt one of your largest assets, so seek an advisor who has a good track record in shares, term deposits or property, for instance, as these are the most popular asset classes for SMSFs.

You may also wish to consult other specialist professionals like buyer’s agents, or real estate buyers, who can help you make wise property investment decisions, or even art dealers. From a practical point of view, if you’re trading shares you’ll need a broker.

Good investment advice should be customised for your individual circumstances rather than be an off-the-shelf or product-based approach. It should take into account your stage of life and appetite for risk, and may include a cross section of investment types to allow for diversification.

Legal advisors

SMSFs are governed by Australia’s superannuation and tax laws. An SMSF is also a type of trust. This means it requires a trust deed, which is a legal document that outlines the rules for establishing and running the SMSF. It also needs to adhere to state or territory legislation, and be reviewed and updated as required.

SMSF members who are trustees are responsible for complying with these legal and regulatory responsibilities, but a good legal advisor can help you negotiate these laws and ensure your SMSF is up-to-date with its legal responsibilities. This includes things like pensions, setting up a company to act as trustee, or simply taking advantage of the many benefits an SMSF has to offer.

As a trustee of an SMSF the responsibility for complying with superannuation and tax laws rests with you, and penalties do apply for contravening these laws. But drawing on the support and advice of a team of superannuation professionals and experts can help put your SMSF in the best possible position to flourish.

ESUPERFUND can administer your SMSF’s compliance obligations, regardless of your super balance, for a set annual fee.

If you want to learn more about SMSFs, download an information pack. If you’re ready to establish an SMSF, you can apply now with ESUPERFUND.

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