NIL SMSF Returns

An SMSF is a type of trust and cannot be dormant like a shelf company. An SMSF should be operative as soon as it’s established. For this reason, Superannuation Warehouse charges a fee of $350 when setting up an SMSF. This is regarded a non-concessional contribution to the Fund and this is the action that brings the SMSF into existence.

If there’s no further activity in the SMSF, say for the first year, a NIL tax return needs to be lodged. Note the Supervisory Levy is still payable even with a low activity Fund.

New rules for newly established SMSFs

From 1 January 2015, all SMSFs need to lodge an SMSF Annual Tax Return in the year they were established. This is required even if no assets are held in the Fund.

In previous years it wasn’t necessary for a new SMSF to lodge an Annual Tax Return until it held assets. There was an amendment announced by the ATO that a fund can no longer avoid lodging an annual return.

Superannuation Warehouse charges a fee of $350 when setting up an SMSF. This is considered a non-concessional contribution to the Fund by the Members. Therefore the Fund now ‘holds an asset’, and an ABN can be applied for. This fee will be expensed in the Income Statement of the SMSF in the first year of operation.

Next Steps

From 1 January 2015, it is an ATO requirement that an SMSF must now be active when establishing the SMSF.

Please refer to our Annual Return page to see what we need from you in order to lodge a year-end tax return for an SMSF.


FAQs (click on the question to reveal the answer)

Q: Why can’t you lodge a RNN for my SMSF anymore?

A: Previously the ATO allowed SMSF’s to lodge a Return Not Necessary (RNN) if no assets were held in the SMSF.

This exception for first year lodgements has been removed from 1 January 2015. All new SMSFs registered on or after 1 January 2015 must lodge an SMSF annual return.

This change ties in with the introduction of the ABN entitlement tool.  RNNs will no longer be granted as ALL funds must hold assets before they can register for an ABN.

If, however, an SMSF was registered before 1 January 2015, it is acknowledged that some Funds may have been set up without assets. On the provision that certain criteria are met, a RNN may be applied for the 2015 financial year only if the SMSF meets all the following conditions:

*       was registered in the 2014-15 financial year;

*       was not legally established by 30 June 2015;

*       had not received contributions or rollover amounts by 30 June 2015; and

*       has received contributions by the date of the request for a RNN.

Alternatively the SMSF can ask to have the SMSF’s registration cancelled and re-register once assets are set aside for the Fund.

Q: Does the SMSF have to pay the ATO supervisory levy in advance?

A: Yes, the levy payable now sits at $259 and is payable in advance. A newly registered SMSF will have to pay the levy twice ($518= $259 + $259) in the first year that the fund was established.

Note: If you register a new SMSF during the 2015/2016 financial year, your SMSF can expect to pay a $518 for the ATO supervisory levy (representing the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 levy) at annual return lodgement time. If you registered a new SMSF during the 2014/2015 financial year, likewise you can expect to pay $518 for the ATO supervisory levy when lodging the 2014/2015 SMSF return.

For more info on the amounts SMSFs will have to pay under the new SMSF supervisory levy, see the ATO information page by following this link.

Contact Details


Peace Of Mind

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.