ATO versus ASIC – so who does what?

Superfund Wholesale is now Intello.

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




When an SMSF is established, a whole range of parties are involved. Superfund Wholesale (SFW) contacts these parties via our secure electronic portals following the request form that we receive from Advisors.

The key factor is who will be the trustee of the SMSF. Is it a company or are they individuals?


ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission)

One of the many roles that ASIC undertake is to maintain a company details database for Australian resident companies. If a trustee company is required at the time of establishing an SMSF, we submit the relevant details electronically and usually receive a reply within the hour. If the SMSF will have individual trustees then ASIC will have no involvement in the SMSF establishment process.

What information do we provide ASIC?

  • Request for a unique company name
  • Details of all directors including their residential address, date of birth and place of birth
  • Registered office address for the company**

What happens after the trustee company is established?

Once the company is registered, an ASIC certificate of incorporation confirming the ACN is provided and this is included in the standard SMSF establishment documents package we return to you.

** The registered office address will receive a letter from ASIC containing the ASIC corporate key details. This corporate key is unique and can be used to create an online director profile with ASIC.

Every year on the anniversary date of the company formation, correspondence will be sent to the registered office with details on paying the annual company fee.

What about if need to make a change to the company details?

The most efficient way of doing this is to lodge the relevant ASIC form via the ‘online services’ portal found on the ASIC website. Access to the portal is via the director profile set up after the corporate key has been received in the mail.

ATO (Australian Taxation Office)

The ATO handles all dealings with regards to the taxation matters of the SMSF. This includes things such as lodgement of the annual return, payment of tax instalments, lodgement of activity statements etc.

After the ABN/TFN application has been made, the ATO will initially send correspondence to the SMSF postal address to confirm the TFN. On or about the same day, correspondence will also be sent from the ABR regarding the ABN of the SMSF.

But wait, who is the ABR? I thought we were talking about the ATO?

The ABR (Australian Business Register) is the government body that receives the ABN/TFN application from SFW. One of their key responsibilities is for maintaining all details of ABN holders. Their systems tie into the ATO in the background.

So who do I contact about the status of the ABN application?

Regarding the ABN application, your query should be directed to SFW on first instance. We will assist you with your query and if applicable, follow up with the ABR on your behalf. The standard service time for the ABR to handle the application is 28 days. SFW will automatically follow up on the 29th day should we not have received the ABN details at this point in time.

How will I be notified of the ABN/TFN details?

SFW will contact you by email to let you know the ABN and TFN details have been issued and direct you to the correspondence folder of the SMSF. 

How long will it take to get the ABN? We need this to process the rollover request…

The ABR has a standard service time of 28 days and the ABN will be issued anytime between the first day and the 28th day. Unfortunately, there is no way tell when it will be issued.

However, from our experience, if all the details supplied to the ABR match the ASIC/ATO databases and there are no outstanding compliance matters for the prospective members, then the ABN is usually issued on the spot.

Why has the ABN application taken so long?

The most common reasons why an ABN application has been delayed are the following;

  • Member address details supplied do not match the ATO or ASIC records
  • A member name does not match the ATO records (usually because of marriage)
  • A member has outstanding/overdue tax lodgements
  • A member is or was a member of another SMSF and that SMSF has outstanding/overdue tax lodgements

Yay! I have the ABN. I can submit that rollover request now. Is that right?

Most commonly, super and industry funds will refer to a website known as Superfund Lookup ( before they approve the rollover. Once the ABN is issued, we suggest refer to this website and look for either one of the following statuses before making that application;


“Registered – Status not determined”

You’ve confused me – what does that mean again? (Index!)

SFW – Superfund Wholesale (Us)

ASIC – Australian Securities & Investments Commission (They take care of the company stuff)

ATO – Australian Taxation Office (They take care of the taxation things)

ABR – Australian Business Register (They receive the ABN application from us)

ABN – Australian Business Number (you need this to identify the SMSF for rollovers & contributions)

TFN – Tax File Number (this is the identification number for ATO purposes)

ACN – Australian Company Number (the 9 digit company identifier for ASIC purposes)

SMSF – Self Managed Super Fund

Company Registered Address ­– This will be where all company (ASIC) correspondence will be sent to

SMSF Postal Address – This will be where all SMSF (ATO) correspondence will be sent to. We nominate our address as the postal address and contact you for any important stuff. The rest is filed away for future reference.


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