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ATO establishes Disqualified Trustees Register
The ATO has now established a searchable and internet accessible register of persons disqualified from being SMSF trustees (or directors of corporate SMSF trustees). Currently the Register is available in the form of a downloadable spreadsheet which lists all individuals (apparently about 2,800) disqualified since 2012. The Register lists their names and suburb at the date of disqualification and Gazette Reference.
Previously, it was only possible to determine whether an individual had been disqualified by reviewing each issue of the Government Notices Gazette or the Federal Register of Legislation.
Before making a recommendation that a client establish or be involved in a self managed superannuation fund, advisers can now undertake a search of the Disqualified Trustees Register. Similarly trustees, before admitting a new member, should also undertake a review of the Register to ensure that the prospective member is not disqualified.
There are limitations to the Register. The ATO has not back captured pre 2012 disqualification. Further, the Register will only be updated every three months. Also, the Register does not capture any changes of name which occur after the disqualification has occurred. Finally, it should be noted that simply because a person is not on the Disqualified Trustees Register does not mean that there are no impediments to their participating in an SMSF. For example the Register does not capture those individuals who are bankrupt or other taken protection under the Bankruptcy Act or who have been disqualified from being a director by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.