Need more time for your SMSF lodgement? Here’s how to extend your deadline in 2024

A calendar for February 2024 is displayed with the 28th circled. A clock and pen sit beside the calendar.

If you're overseeing a self-managed super fund (SMSF), remember that the deadline for your annual returns is the 28th of February - leap year or not, this date doesn't budge. But, there's an easy solution to buy more time: enlist the help of an accountant.

Mark Chapman, director of tax communications at H&R Block Australia, sheds light on this option.

'Using a tax agent effectively extends your SMSF lodgement deadline to 15 May, compared to the standard 28 February deadline for self-lodgers. This is key, especially if the audit hasn't been done, as it's likely you'll miss the February deadline,’ Chapman explains. 

But it’s not just about gaining extra time; it's about ensuring accuracy and compliance.

‘Given the complexity of tax laws surrounding superannuation, having professional advice is not just beneficial; it's almost necessary. Trying to stay on top of these laws without expert guidance could lead to significant issues, either with auditors or directly with the ATO,’ says Chapman. 

Upcoming super changes

It’s also important to stay informed about the latest superannuation changes that could affect your SMSF so you can make better decisions for your fund's strategy, both now and into the future. So let’s explore some of the key recent and upcoming changes you should be aware of:

  • Contribution cap increase. The concessional contribution cap, now at $27,500, may rise to $30,000 after the upcoming Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings (AWOTE) data release. This expected change, bound to happen sooner or later due to economic trends, directly affects the maximum you can contribute to your super at a lower tax rate.
  • TBAR reporting. The Transfer Balance Account Report (TBAR) helps the ATO keep track of significant superannuation events, like when you start or stop a pension. The reporting for TBAR, which used to be annual for SMSFs with balances below $1 million, has changed. As of June 2023, all SMSFs will need to report these events every quarter.
  • Pension withdrawal rates reset. The ATO has announced that from the 2023–24 financial year, SMSFs must return to standard pension withdrawal rates. The temporary 50% reduction, a COVID-19 relief measure, won't apply anymore. This change means SMSFs will need to adjust how much they withdraw for pensions.
  • Taxes on high-balance accounts. Starting 1 July 2025, tax on superannuation earnings for balances over $3 million will increase from 15% to 30%. This could have implications for long-term strategy planning - especially​​​​ if property investments form a significant part of your fund, a situation which is common for many SMSFs.

What is an SMSF and is it right for me?

Taking charge of your own self-managed super fund (SMSF) is a big decision that gives you control over your super investments. But with great power comes great responsibility. You've got to keep everything on the up and up, following the rules and actively looking after your fund.

It’s also not for everyone, especially when you consider the financial commitment required.

Chapman explains why this is. ‘The primary appeal of an SMSF is the control it offers over one's superannuation, potentially leading to higher returns. However, to truly benefit, one should ideally have a substantial super balance, around $300,000 to $350,000, to offset the costs involved. Costs for accountants, auditors, and financial advisors can quickly add up, making it a significant consideration for anyone looking to manage their super actively.’ 

With the lodgement deadline on the horizon, it's vital to ensure your SMSF is ticking all the right boxes and ready for whatever new rules might come your way. It's not just about crossing off tasks for today but also getting set for any future changes that could throw a spanner in your plans.

 To delve deeper into the world of SMSFs and other important superannuation topics, we invite you to explore our superannuation guides hub.