Over the past few years the ATO has indicated its intention to focus on the exempt current pension income (ECPI) deduction claimed in the self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) annual return and this continues again in 2014. The ECPI deduction is the largest deduction claimed by SMSFs and therefore it is important to get the calculation correct to avoid scrutiny by the ATO.
The reporting of ECPI in the SMSF annual return for 2012/13 changed from previous years to gather more information about the claim of ECPI.
Section 10: exempt current pension income
This section of the SMSF annual return asks whether the fund intends to claim a tax exemption for current pension income in the 2013/14 financial year. If the fund paid a pension to any of its members during the financial year, and if the minimum pension standards were met for those pensions, then the fund will be eligible to claim an exemption from income tax at Section 10.
Ordinary income and statutory income that a complying SMSF earns from assets held to provide for superannuation income stream benefits can be exempt from income tax. However, any non-arm’s length income or assessable contributions are excluded.
Income that is exempt is referred to as ECPI. This exemption is claimed under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. The legislation sets out the two methods for working out the amount of ECPI you can claim:
Completing the tax return
What if the fund has hybrid segregation?
An interesting question arises for funds which use hybrid or partial segregation. This partial segregation occurs where some of the funds’ assets use the segregated method and some use the unsegregated method. What will the trustee need to enter at items B and C?
We believe that in this instance it would be appropriate to select both options. The fund is claiming ECPI under the segregated assets methods for income earned on segregated current pension assets, and under the unsegregated method for income earned on pension assets that are part of a wider unsegregated asset pool. Note that an actuarial certificate will be required to certify the tax exempt proportion for the income earned on the unsegregated assets.
If you are unsure whether you require an actuarial certificate please contact Accurium on 1800 203 123 for further assistance.