ATO Interviewing SMSF trustees as part of ABN registration process

Superfund Wholesale is now Intello.

Please find the updated version of this article in the new Intello Help Centre here:




The following has been provided from Gina Davidson via Sondergaard Accountants (Perth) via the SMSF Strategies LinkedIn Group in August 2015.

You can view the original LinkedIn Group post here.

The ATO now randomly select SMSF trustees for "interview" by telephone before the ATO decides whether to allow the set-up of a SMSF to proceed.

Per the ATO's letter: "This is so that the ATO can interview you about your role as trustee to ensure that you can demonstrate the knowledge and understanding required of a person acting in the role of an SMSF trustee".

One of my clients just had to go through this. If you are wondering what kinds of questions the ATO ask in the telephone "interview", please see the list below:

  • When did you set up your superfund? 
  • Who is your superfund trustee? 
  • Who are the directors (of the corporate trustee)? 
  • Why did you set up the superfund? 
  • Who set up the SMSF for you? What exactly did they do for you? How much did they charge? 
  • What is the purpose of a SMSF? 
  • What is the purpose of the SMSF trust deed? 
  • Did you set up a bank account? What name is the account in? Which bank? Who are the signatories on the account? 
  • How much are the rollovers from your existing superfunds? 
  • What do you plan to do with the rollover monies? 
  • How do you plan to contribute to the SMSF? 
  • What documents have you signed so far? 
  • What are your annual obligations? 
  • What are the annual fees for accounting, audit, and ATO levy? 
  • Did someone tell you that you can access the money in the SMSF for personal purposes? 
  • When can you access the money in your SMSF? 
  • How does the ATO deal with non-compliance? 
  • What investments do you plan to make with your SMSF? 

As part of this "interview" we also had to provide the ATO with copies of the trust deed, minutes of meeting(s), investment strategy, signed trustee declarations (NAT71089), evidence from the bank to prove the bank account had been set up, our invoice of the fee we charged for setting up the SMSF, and the member benefit statements from their previous superfund.

Until the trustees have passed the "interview" and provided the above documents, the ATO withholds registration of the SMSF. This means you can't apply for rollovers or make contributions. Also per the ATO letter: If the trustees have any personal or business ATO obligations outstanding, the SMSF registration is withheld until those outstanding items have been taken care of.

Hope the above is helpful in case one of your clients is selected for this "interview" process.


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