The ATO has indicated that many forms of relief available to SMSFs to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 have now ceased. The relief measures that are no longer applicable for the 2023 income year include:
A range of rental relief could be provided to tenants by SMSFs or their related parties during the 2020 to 2022 income years, often under specific State government programs. This could include rental waivers or deferrals, which would ordinarily cause issues with respect to certain superannuation provisions such as the sole purpose test. For those income years the ATO indicates that it not be undertaking compliance action where:
- The relief is on commercial terms, that is, it is provided on comparable terms to relief offered by other landlords to unrelated tenants in similar circumstances (having regard to the State and Territory COVID-19 support measures);
- The relief is offered due to the financial impacts of COVID-19; and
- You have properly documented the arrangement.
Loan repayment relief
In some cases trustees may have provided loan repayment relief to related or unrelated parties. If the loan repayment relief was provided due to the financial impacts of COVID-19, the relief is offered on commercial terms and the changes to the loan agreement are properly documented, the ATO indicated that for 2020 – 2022 it will not take any compliance action against the fund, and that SMSF auditors will not need to report any contravention of the super laws to them.
As these relief measures are no longer applicable for 2023, SMSF trustees will need to ensure that funds comply with the superannuation laws as they ordinarily apply.