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Splitting your SMSF assets during divorce

Running an SMSF under regular circumstances comes with enough compliance obligations as it is. Adding divorce or separation into the equation can raise even more legal and tax issues that need to be addressed. 

The breakdown of your relationship does not absolve you from your responsibilities as an SMSF trustee; you are still expected to continue acting in accordance with super laws and in the interests of all members. As a trustee, you must:

  • include another trustee in the decision-making process, and 
  • acknowledge requests to redeem assets and rollover benefits to another super fund. 

When it comes to dividing SMSF assets, separating couples can transfer assets, such as property, from one SMSF fund into another. During this process it is important to consider: 

  • How they will decide to split their superannuation fund. They can choose to enter into a formal written agreement, seek consent orders, or if the separating couple cannot reach an agreement, they can seek a court order.
  • Whether they have the necessary documentation readily available, as it is essential in the event of an ATO audit. Due to there being beneficial tax consequences in splitting a superannuation fund, it is essential that the documentation, such as the notice for splitting the super, shows a genuine separation.
  • Where the new fund is to be a single member fund, it is advisable to incorporate a special purpose company to be the trustee. This avoids having a second person as a trustee.

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