With the 15 May 2020 deadline fast approaching for the 2018-19SMSF annual returns (SAR) lodgement for many SMSFs, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has recognised that some accountants and auditors may require more time due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ATO has released a statement which confirms that with the next SAR due 15 May and super laws requiring an auditor be appointed 45 days before the lodgement due date, that trustees, their tax agent or auditor may need more time to lodge. In this instance an extension can be requested.

Tax agents can apply for a deferral for their SMSF clients for up to six weeks. This means you could apply to extend the lodgement deadline at most to 30 June 2020. If you find your business in a situation whereby the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your ability to meet the lodgement deadline then you should contact the ATO to request an extension prior to the 15 May 2020 deadline.

This decision by the ATO is a welcome concession at a time where many businesses are dealing with new challenges such as transitioning to working from home and innovating to find new ways to communicate and provide services to clients.

It should also be noted that if an extension to an SMSF’s lodgement date is granted then this will also apply to the fund’s transfer balance account reporting (TBAR) obligations where the fund is an annual reporter for that financial year.

The 2018-19 SMSF annual return PDF and instructions can be accessed here:

For those funds looking to complete an annual return for the2019-20 year due to a fund wind-up then the SAR form will be available at the end of May.

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