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Does a SMSF Need an ABN?
11 May, 2018

A self managed super fund, or SMSF, does need to obtain an ABN. This is an Australian business number for a super fund structure which can be obtained, or applied for, when the SMSF is registered with the ATO (the Australian Tax Office). Before this can happen, the SMSF must prove to be compliant with the conditions laid out by the SIS Act.

Before applying for a self managed super fund ABN, the SMSF needs to ensure that there is at the very least one trustee, that a trustee deed has been written up, that there are identifiable members of the SMSF, and that assets are available for the future benefit of the SMSF members.

What is an ABN?

An ABN is an Australian business number. It is through an Australian business number that the government can keep track of any income earned and any taxes paid. It is how they see that holders of the ABN are operating appropriately according to law. Superannuation laws state that a SMSF should have an ABN in order to be compliant.

Applying for an ABN

Once the SMSF has met all the conditions laid out by the SIS Act, the application for an ABN can be submitted. Along with applying for an ABN, the self managed super fund must obtain a TFN. This is a tax file number that is necessary for the trust. Registering with the ATO is another necessary part of this application because it then proves compliance and makes the SMSF eligible for tax concessions.

The assistance of third party representatives can be obtained in order to fill in and submit a well-documented and compliant application. The cost of this can be paid out by the members equally or as per their agreement.

An ABN will only be given to a SMSF if the fund has already met the conditions laid out by the SIS Act. If there happen to be any exceptions that are not fully understood, it is best that the members obtain specialist help with submitting this application or meeting the conditions.

How Long Will Obtaining an ABN Take?

An application that is filled out correctly and includes all of the relevant data can take minutes for the ABN to be issued. In some instances, it may take longer, possibly weeks, for the ABN to be issued granted the data on the application is all correct.

If the application has any incorrect data or is missing some vital information, it can potentially take much longer to obtain the ABN. This length of time could exceed four weeks, which is why it is vitally important to ensure that the application is correct.

After an ABN has been obtained, the next major step to establishing the SMSF is to open a bank account. All financial transactions associated with the SMSF will then be done through the bank account, which must be in the name of the trust. This account is used for incoming and outgoing payments.

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