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Assessment where Fund Closes or is in Financial Difficulty

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Last amended: 10 March 2011

Closure of fund

Where a self managed superannuation fund (SMSF) or small APRA fund (SAF) is wound up, the income ceases to be paid on the date that the fund is wound up. Any remaining assets in the fund are assessable in the same manner as superannuation from that date.

Reporting arrangements

It is important that the department is informed when a SMSF or SAF is experiencing financial difficulty. A trustee's report should be provided, which should outline details on action being taken to either wind up the fund or restore the fund to viability and the expected date for finalising actions,

No payment for a period of more than twelve months

If an income stream ceases to make payments for a period of more than twelve months, it ceases to exist as an income stream. This is because it no longer meets the criterion of making payments at least annually. Any remaining assets in the fund are assessable as superannuation from the date that the income stream ceases to exist.

The income stream is reassessed as if it was never an asset test exempt income stream from the commencement date. This may result in a debt being raised. Any resulting overpayment is recoverable under existing policy.      

Loss of asset test exempt status can be avoided by commuting the income stream to a new asset test exempt income stream prior to the end of the twelve month period since the last payment, that is, before the original stream loses asset test exempt status. When this happens, the debt provisions will not apply. Principles have been established to determine whether the new income stream is 100% or 50% asset test exempt.    

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Income streams commencing on or after 20 September 07 are generally not asset test exempt

10.5.3/Determining what proportion of an asset test exempt income stream is exempt

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Funds that made reduced payments

Where payments under an asset test exempt income stream are reduced below the amount specified in the contract, the income stream will lose its asset test exemption and is treated as though it was never an asset test exempt income stream. This may result in a debt. Any overpayment resulting from loss of asset test exempt status is recoverable under existing policy. Loss of asset test exempt status can be avoided by commuting the income stream to a new asset test exempt income stream prior to the reduction in payments.     

Actuarial certificate does not express a positive opinion

Where a 100% asset test exempt income stream fails to meet the high probability requirements for actuarial certification and loses its asset test exemption, the income stream owner will have the option to either:

Waiver of debt under temporary debt relief arrangements

Under normal circumstances if the income stream is restructured to form a market linked income stream, the income stream would be retrospectively reclassified as an asset tested (long term) income stream. A debt to the Commonwealth would be raised if the pension the person received exceeds what they should have received if the income stream had always been assessed as asset-tested (long term). Under the temporary relief arrangements, the debt will be waived if it meets the terms outlined in the Veterans' Entitlements (Class of Debts – Self Managed Superannuation and Small APRA Funds) Specification 2010. All such cases should be referred to the DVA Investment Database Unit, Sydney Office.     

Duration of temporary debt relief arrangements

The temporary debt relief arrangements apply only to actuarial opinions given in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 financial years and expired on 30 June 2010.


According to section 5J(1) of the VEA, an income stream includes:

  • an income stream arising under arrangements that are regulated by the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993; or
  • an income stream arising under a public sector scheme (within the meaning of that Act); or
  • an income stream arising under a retirement savings account; or
  • an income stream provided by a life insurance business (within the meaning of the Life Insurance Act 1995); or
  • an income stream provided by a friendly society (within the meaning of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1996); or
  • an income stream designated in writing by the Commission for the purposes of this definition, having regard to the guidelines determined under subsection 5J(1F) of the VEA;
  • but does not include any of the following:
  • available money;
  • deposit money;
  • a managed investment;
  • a listed security;
  • a loan that has not been repaid in full;
  • an unlisted public security; or
  • gold, silver or platinum bullion.

 

 

An income stream is an asset-test exempt income stream if it is purchased before 20 September 2007 and satisfies the characteristics of the following sections in the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986: