Basics of What is a SMSF
Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) or DIY Super is actually a special form of trust and is one of the most popular form of superannuation in Australia in order to save for retirement. There is over 400,000 registered SMSF in Australia. SMSF pays income tax at the flat rate of 15%. ATO is regulator for SMSF and fund can have up to 4 members.
SMSF can invest in a range of assets depending on your Investment Strategy and can hold the following assets: cash and cash derivates, shares in listed and unlisted companies in Australia and overseas, real estate property residential or commercial, units in listed or unlisted trusts, art, collectables...
Anyone can start a SMSF however many financial planners and ATO generally does not recommend to start unless you have at least $200k in accumulated benefits unless you have strategy in place to grow your fund quickly.
People who start SMSF are the one who want to take control over their superannuation savings and are pretty sure that they can create better investment strategy than managers of a large retail or industry superannuation funds.
SMSF have many advantages over public superannuation funds e.g. you can have one or more real estate assets in your SMSF, you can decide what shares or units you are going to have in your fund, you can purchase artwork (with some restrictions), assets of two member can be combined, SMSF can hold business premises, flexibility in buying and selling assets, no CGT once members start taking pension from the fund.
Some disadvantages are: can be complex and time consuming, risk of non-compliance, high costs for small balances, all members are trustees and can be personally liable for any penalties from ATO.
Each year SMSF has to lodge a tax return, produce financial reports, member statements and must be audited in order to satisfy compliance requirements.
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