Closing down an SMSF

The process of winding up an SMSF is similar to closing down a company. An SMSF might be wound up because:

  • The SMSF never had any funds in it – in this case the wind up process is fairly straightforward
  • All the benefits may have been paid out of the Fund

To wind up your SMSF you will need to notify the ATO within 28 days, lodge a final annual return and finalise any outstanding tax liabilities. On the first page of the tax return, tick the option advising the ATO that this is the final tax return of the Fund. When Superannuation Warehouse handles your SMSF, we will perform this function for a fee of $250.

Reasons why Trustees wind up SMSFs

The death of a Member

For an SMSF with only one Member, paying out the balance to beneficiaries on the Member’s death means the end of the SMSF. Funds with more than one Member will continue unaffected.

No assets left

If all the monies in the SMSF have been paid out to Members either as a lump sum or as pension payments, you will need to wind up the SMSF.

It’s just not for you anymore

Trustees can decide to move their member balance back to a retail superannuation fund. When doing so all assets need to be converted to cash and transferred to the next fund. There is nothing wrong with this, it is a perfectly legitimate course of action.

Moving overseas

If one or more of the Trustees move overseas then, depending on their length of absence, your fund may be in danger of losing its status as a resident fund. In this case, the most cost efficient option is to move funds to a retails superannuation fund and close down the SMSF.

What you need to do to close an SMSF:

Notify Superannuation Warehouse

We will close down the Fund with the ATO and have the ABN cancelled.

Liquidate assets

Trustees need to arrange for all investments to be sold and for the money to be deposited into the SMSF bank account. Subject to the member’s age and preservation components, this can be paid out as an in-specie lump sum to the member. Please transfer the accountancy fee for the current year to date to Superannuation Warehouse – we will send you an invoice for this.

In order to determine each Member’s balance, we require the current year SMSF activity
  • Contributions made to the Fund for the current financial year and the contribution type (if any) for each member.
  • Rollovers made to the Fund for the current financial year for each member.
  • Withdrawals from the Fund for the current financial year for each member.
  • Bank transactions details for all your bank accounts held by the fund until the closure date.
Either payout or rollover Member benefits

Winding up of an SMSF means that there will be no assets left in the SMSF. To move these assets out means paying out lump sums to members – provided they satisfy a condition of release – or rolling over the members’ benefits to another complying superannuation fund (usually a retail fund or an industry fund). If you are rolling benefits over to another super fund, there are two ATO forms to complete:

  • Request to transfer whole balance of superannuation benefits between funds (NAT 71223)
    Members of your SMSF use this form to request the transfer of the whole of their benefits to another super fund.
  • Rollover benefits statement (NAT 70944)
    When you rollover benefits to another superannuation fund complete this form as a trustee. You keep a copy, and send a copy to the super fund that funds are being transferred to.
    If any members are eligible (and have received) their benefits as a lump sum payment, you will need to complete the form, ETP payment summary – superannuation fund (NAT 2606).
  • PAYG payment summary – superannuation income stream (NAT 70987) needs to be completed if a pension or annuity payment was paid to a member and tax was withheld.
  • A PAYG payment summary statement (NAT 3447) will need to be completed if you issued a payment summary throughout the year.

Note also that where you are selling assets in order to pay out benefits or roll over benefits to another fund, there may be capital gains tax issues. Once we have this information we will prepare a Rollover Benefit Statement for each Member.

Final SMSF annual return

In the same way that your SMSF must be audited each year, it will also need to undergo a final audit when it is wound up, and before you lodge your final annual return. Completing the final return will include filling out the ‘wind up’ labels and finalising any outstanding tax liabilities.

Receive confirmation from the ATO that your SMSF has been wound up

If everything has been done correctly, the ATO will send you a letter stating that they have cancelled the ABN and closed your SMSF records on their system.

Closing the SMSF bank account

Don’t close your SMSF bank account until you have received the ATO confirmation letter, otherwise you may not be able to bank any refund you may receive.


For more guidance on the steps involved in closing down an SMSF, see the ATO guidance here:


When Superannuation Warehouse do a final set of accounts and Member statements for your SMSF, we will prepare the Member Roll-over Statement you can send to the receiving superannuation fund. Alternatively, you can complete this manually by downloading a roll-over form.

  • Matt

    Closing a SMSF without documents except for trust deed which I just found a few days ago. This is due to having setup the fund when I was married we broke up and during the divorce paperwork etc. was lost. There were no assets left in the fund name, They were needed due to financial hardship and to keep business going. I have no idea if the bank account was closed or at what bank etc. This was a few years ago but my fund still needs to be closed, as the ATO contacted me. What do I do?

  • Steve Parksmith

    Moving overseas – I plan to move overseas in 5 years and transfer all my super to an overseas pension plan. do I just need to inform the ATO, close it down and send it?

    • Hein Preller


      From the email it seems as if you want to withdraw your Super. In order to do this, you have to meet a condition of release:

      If leaving Australia, you must cancel your passport and have no intention of returning to Australia. If meeting this condition, the Super can be transferred out.

      I guess the Government don’t want people to access their super and then at some stage come back, trying to access the age pension.

      Keep well,

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We are Melbourne based with clients throughout Australia. Our SMSF administration service is mostly paperless. This enable us to charge a fair fee, resulting in a good value-proposition for you.

No Advice

Superannuation Warehouse is an accounting firm and do not provide financial advice. All information provided has been prepared without taking into account any of the Trustees’ objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of that, Trustees are advised to consider their own circumstances before engaging our services.