A key responsibility for trustees of self-managed super funds (SMSFs) is to ensure proper and accurate tax and superannuation records are kept for the fund. When you have been running your fund for a long period of time and have amassed a large amount of information, it can be difficult to know exactly what records to keep, how long for and how to store them.
The ATO requires SMSF trustees to keep the following records for a minimum of five years:
- Accurate accounting records that explain the transactions and financial position of the SMSF.
- An annual operating statement and statement of the SMSF’s financial position.
- Copies of all annual returns and transfer balance account reports lodged.
- Copies of any other statements the fund trustee is required to lodge with the ATO or other super funds.
The following records are required to be kept for a minimum of 10 years:
- Minutes of trustee meetings and decisions if matters affecting the fund were discussed, such as the fund’s investment strategy.
- Records of all changes of trustees, and members’ written consent to be appointed as trustees.
- Trustee declarations that recognise the obligations and responsibility of any trustee or director of a corporate trustee, appointed after 30 June 2007.
- Copies of all reports given to members.
Your SMSF’s records must be kept in Australia, in writing and in English. The ATO allows electronic records to be kept, but they must be in a format that is easy to access and verify. If your SMSF does not keep the records for the minimum time required, you may be subject to penalties and fines. With the new tax year just beginning, now is the time to review your fund’s records and ensure you are retaining all that is required in the correct format.