Noted below is the process we follow to setup a new SMSF. Prospective Trustees who want to set up an SMSF themselves can refer to the documents linked below.
1. Trust Deed
The ATO provides guidelines for what is required from a Trust Deed. Here’s a Trust Deed that we’ve prepared based on the ATO requirements. Download it and amend it to suit your SMSF.
Alternatively, you could use a provider such as Cleardocs, whose Deeds will cost you $137.50 each.
2. ABN and TFN registration
SMSFs are regulated by the ATO. The ATO also arrange for the registration of new Funds. You can apply for an ABN yourself from the Australian Business Register. The web address is:
A vital ingredient of sustained success is occasional failure.— Malcolm S. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 1919 - 1990
3. Trustee Minutes
New Trustees and Members are required to hold an initial meeting at which they must prepare minutes noting the establishment of the new SMSF. Use the attached Initial Minutes for this meeting and for similar meetings in the future.
4. Investment Strategy
SMSF Trustees need to prepare an investment strategy setting out what the Fund will invest in, with a risk profile of the investments. You can download this Investment Strategy Template and amend it to suit your Fund.
The Tax Office also has an video explaining the importance to have an investment strategy in place when you operate your SMSF. To view the video, please click here.
5. Trustee Declaration
In order to be taxed at the reduced tax rate of 15%, Trustees must elect to be a complying SMSF. If Trustees don’t do this, the Trust will be taxed at a marginal tax rate of 49%. Download the Trustee Declaration here.
6.Member Applications and Trustee Consents
To become a Member of an SMSF, you will need to sign a Member Application form. Trustees of an SMSF also need to sign a Trustee Consent form to declare that they are eligible to act as a Trustee and they must act based on the Member’s best interests. For our template, please download here.
7.Annual Financial Statements
Trustees should keep records of all transactions the SMSF conducts throughout the year. These should then be used to prepare a set of financial statements. Here is a template you can use to prepare your SMSF 2014 Financial Statements.
8. Tax Return
You must also prepare a tax return for your SMSF. All the information needed for the tax return will come from the template on the financial statement. This is similar to an individual tax return and, if you’ve done your personal tax return before, you’ll have no problem completing the Fund return.
Click here to download:
- SMSF 2015 Return and there are no instructions for the 2015 financial year available from the ATO
- SMSF 2014 Return and 2014 Annual Return instructions
- SMSF 2013 Return and 2013 Annual Return instructions
- SMSF 2012 Return and 2012 Annual Return instructions
- SMSF 2011 Return and 2011 Annual Return instructions
- SMSF 2010 Return and 2010 Annual Return instructions
The only function the Trustees can’t perform themselves is the annual audit. The Trustees should prepare the financial statements and have the supporting documents ready. Attached below is a link to the audit requirements. If you have all this in place, the audit should be a mere formality. We can carry out your SMSF audit for a price that’s fixed at a maximum of $450. In most cases, the price is $350 per audit. You can also benchmark our offering to the market by doing a Google search.
The following documents noted below are invaluable if you want to make sure you have everything ready prior to the audit. The audit steps we use are set out on the audit page.
If you would like us to perform the audit, please download and sign the following documents:
10. Supervisory levy
Don’t forget there’s a supervisory levy payable to the ATO. This is for the Fund. If the SMSF has more than one Member, the cost will be shared between the Members. The levy, along with the annual income tax, is payable to the ATO on behalf of your SMSF.
The DIY SMSF route is open to you as Trustee. Feel free to use it. If you want to use an administrator, look at the total fees. Consider flexibility too. There’s no point in paying the lowest administration fees if you end up paying more for brokerage and receiving lower bank interest.
Superannuation Warehouse provides a great value service which it promotes by offering an SMSF set up. If you’d like Superannuation Warehouse to be your SMSF service provider, simply сlick here to set up a new Fund or have a go yourself.
This website contains a wealth of information on SMSF’s. If you’d like to view additional ATO information on SMSF’s, click here.