- Superannuation Legislation Amendment Bill: The Superannuation Legislation Amendment Bill 20106 was re-introduced to the House of Representatives on 29 September 2010 and passed through all stages of Parliament on 26 October 2010. It is now awaiting royal assent. This Bill had previously lapsed when Parliament was prorogued upon the calling of the 2010 Federal Election. The Bill facilitates public sector superannuation schemes paying unclaimed super money to the Commissioner of Taxation, provides for transitional relief for income tax deductibility of TPD premiums paid by superannuation funds and makes provision for the acquisition of in-specie assets by a trustee of a superannuation fund from a related party of the fund following relationship breakdown.
- Updated ASIC RG 168: On 6 September 2010, ASIC updated Regulatory Guide 168 Disclosure: Product Disclosure Statements (and other disclosure obligations (RG 168)7 which contains 6 ‘Good Disclosure Principles’ to guide product issuers in meeting their disclosure obligations.
Last reviewed in May 2007, RG 168 has now been updated to provide guidance (among other things) as to the ‘shorter, simpler’ PDS disclosure regime contained in Division 3A of Part 7.9 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Importantly, however, the revised RG does not deal with what it terms the ‘tailored PDS’ regime for specified products, including for superannuation products, under Schedule 10D of the Corporations Regulations. Because these Regulations, which were made in June 2010, do not apply at all until June 2011, RG 168 refers to there being separate ASIC guidance (in Information Sheet 133 ‘Shorter and simpler PDSs: Superannuation, managed investment schemes and margin lending’).
- Treasury speech on MySuper: On 28 September 2010, Treasury made available a speech which David Gruen presented to the Australian Council of Economists titled ‘MySuper — Thinking Seriously about the Default Option’.8 David Gruen was a member of the Cooper Review Panel and the speech outlines the thinking behind the Review’s recommendations on MySuper and the choice architecture model.
- FHSA Amendment Bill: On 6 October 2010, Treasury released an exposure draft of the Tax Laws Amendment (First Home Saver Accounts) Bill 2010.9 The Bill seeks to increase the flexibility of first home saver accounts by ‘allowing money in a First Home Saver Account to be paid into a genuine mortgage at the end of a minimum qualifying period, rather than requiring it to be transferred to a superannuation account’.
- ATO information sheet on FHSAs: The ATO has released an information sheet: Information for superannuation funds - accepting member contributions from a first home saver account10 The information sheet encourages superannuation funds to accept contributions from a first home saver account (FHSA) (that is not used to purchase a home) to enable members to consolidate their super by treating their FHSA balance as a member contribution to their existing superannuation fund. This is because if the member does not take their own action to nominate a super fund, the account balance will be transferred to the FHSA provider’s default super fund. If members can know that their existing super fund will be willing to accept the FHSA balance, then there should be less account duplication and lost accounts.
- Valid deduction notices: The ATO has announced that it will implement a ‘no action’ policy for 2010–11 in relation to the aspects of Taxation Ruling TR 2010/1 Income tax: superannuation contributions11 concerning valid deduction notices. TR 2010/1 provides that from 1 July 2010, where a member elects to roll over or withdraw part of their super interest held by the provider, a deduction notice cannot be given for the entire contribution (ie, it is instead limited to a proportion of the tax free component of the residual super interest). However, the announcement of the ‘no action’ policy means that super funds have more time to modify their systems in order to implement this change.
- SMSF verification system: On 19 October 2010, the ATO announced that a new SMSF member verification system will be available from early November 201012. The system will assist with rollovers, and should give APRA-regulated funds greater confidence that a genuine rollover to an SMSF has occurred and reduce the risk of fraud and illegal activity.
- SG Determination addendum: The ATO has issued an Addendum to Superannuation Guarantee Determination SGD 2005/213. The Addendum ensures that, from 1 July 2010, SGD 2005/2 does not apply to contributions made by approved clearing houses.