There can be many reasons to close or wind-up your SMSF – but if a change of trustee is the issue, there may be strategies you can apply to keep the SMSF running, as we wrote in April. However if closing is the necessity such as one client who was a single-member fund with himself as director of a Corporate Trustee and had passed away before he was 60, wind-up is necessary when the trustee of the estate and family request it.
There can be several reasons to wind up your SMSF:
- Members tired of the responsibilities
- Assets reduced that it is no longer cost effective
- Key member becomes non-resident for Australian taxation purposes
- Inability to run the fund due to health reasons of a key member
A number of tasks need careful management, and is an involved process.
The first place to start is to check all prior year tax and compliance obligations have been met. Then check the trust deed for any specific requirements. Then all members should sign a minute/resolution that they all agree to close the fund and the reasons. Then members need to write to the fund stating whether the benefits are to be rolled into another super fund or paid as a lump sum (if the correct preservation and release conditions apply).
Next – draft financial statements are prepared to determine member balances/benefits, factoring in future expenses such as accounting, audit, tax, capital gains, levies and expected income. Assets need to be sold: Occasionally “in-specie” (other than money) transfers can occur. Relevant change of ownership documents may need to be prepared.
The final annual return is lodged after assets sold, member benefits paid and audit reports received. The SMSF then notifies the ATO in writing within 28 days, and wait for the ATO to issue written confirmation of ABN cancellation and recording the fund closure.
With corporate trustees, the directors must decide if the company should remain running or be would up. Even if not trading a company remains registered and subject to annual review fees. There are two ways to close down (deregister) the company – apply to ASIC to voluntarily deregister, or a member’s voluntary wind-up initiated by company members. Best to seek assistance. Books must be kept for three years.
Also refer to the ATO Publication number 8107 “Winding up a self-managed super fund“
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