How to wind up an SMSF

The winding up of an SMSF is the process by which all the assets of the fund are paid out or rolled over and all the final reporting and administrative requirements have been completed.

The SMSF trustee may wish to wind up their fund for a number of reasons:

  • all/most members have left the fund eg due to death or rolling funds into another fund;
  • no or insufficient assets remaining eg due to payment or rolling over of benefits;
  • inability/unwillingness of the trustees to continue as trustees eg due to age; or
  • moving overseas.

In some of these cases, particularly moving overseas, an alternate structure for the assets may be appropriate.

You may need to engage a professional (eg accountant or administrator) to undertake these tasks, however need to be aware of and understand what is involved as the trustees are ultimately responsible.

There are a number of steps in the process of winding up and these are outlined below.  One important point to remember is do not close your bank account(s) until the ATO has confirmed that the fund has been wound up.

Steps to wind up an SMSF

1. Read the Trust Deed

The trust deed may contain information about winding up your fund.

2. Prepare a Set of Interim Accounts

Prepare a set of interim accounts to determine member balances. Remember to take into account any tax payable and/or refunds due. It is usual for your accountant/auditor to provide a fixed quote for final services so these can be included in the SMSFs liabilities and sufficient cash retained to make these and any other payments (eg tax and/or supervisory levy). Other costs may include the closing of trustee company’s and the vesting of bare trusts if LRBA arrangements are being paid out.

3. Rollover Member Benefits

All benefits must be rolled out in accordance with both the SIS Act and the trust deed and you need to use SuperStream to facilitate the rollovers. You may need to wait until any tax refunds have been paid before you can pay out all member benefits.

There are a few ways that rollovers can be initiated:

  • through your mygov account
  • by completing rollover request forms provided by the receiving superfund and instructing them to initiate the Superstream rollover request
  • by generating a Superstream request through your superfund’s accounting software – your accountant or super fund administrator should be able to help with this.

4. Arrange for a Final Audit and the Final SMSF Annual Return

Your SMSF needs to have a final SMSF audit done before you lodge your final annual return. This return will include filling out the ‘wind up’ labels on the return and finalising any outstanding tax liabilities at that time.

5. Receive Confirmation from the ATO that your SMSF has been Wound Up

If everything has been done correctly, the ATO will send you a letter stating that they have cancelled your SMSFs ABN, and closed your SMSF records on their system.

6. Close your SMSF Bank Account(s)

Once you have received the ATO confirmation that your fund has closed you can close your SMSF bank accounts.

How we can help

There are multiple factors to consider when winding up an SMSF.  Our expert SMSF Accountants would be happy to speak or meet with you to discuss your situation. We’ll take the time to understand your circumstances and provide advice that maximises your financial position.

Contact us now.

This article is for general information purposes only and has not been prepared with reference to the circumstances of any particular person. You should seek your own independent financial, legal and taxation advice before making any decision in relation to the material in this article.