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Audit change weakens women’s super

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A survey of SMSF professionals has revealed a change to triennial audits could compromise the protection of vulnerable trustees’ super retirement benefits.

It found 65 per cent of respondents believe women’s protection would be weakened under the proposed audit policy.

The research said that considering the current inequity in super balances for women, and many SMSFs are mum-and-dad funds where one spouse may dominate the decision-making process in the SMSF, the absence of an annual audit may remove the opportunity to detect early misappropriation of a vulnerable member’s funds.

The survey, conducted by Saul SMSF and including responses from over 280 industry professionals, was undertaken as part of the SMSF audit specialist’s submission to Treasury’s discussion paper on the audit proposal.

In a submission letter to Treasury retirement income policy division head Robert Jeremenko, Saul SMSF director David Saul said: “We respectfully put it to you that annual SMSF audits offer value to accountants, trustees and taxpayers in terms of protection and, as such, should not be considered a cost centre.

“We strongly recommend that the proposed legislation is not passed.”

If legislated, the policy will commence for eligible SMSFs on 1 July 2019.

First published on smsmagazine, September 12, 2018.