Ready to set up an SMSF?

You’ve weighed up all the pros and cons and decided to establish a self managed super fund (SMSF). The establishment of an SMSF requires a lot of decisions to be made by you as an SMSF trustee in conjunction with appropriate advice from your advisor.

Use the below checklist to ensure every step has been considered in regards to your specific circumstances and will comply with the regulatory requirements. If not a specific requirement, ensure it has at least been considered and the final decision documented clearly.

We encourage you to gain the assistance of an SMSF Specialist in the set- up of an SMSF. You can find your nearest SMSF Specialist here.


Your checklist to starting an SMSF

  • Work with your financial advisor(s), in particular an SMSF Specialist to determine if an SMSF is ‘right’ for you and your specific circumstances.
  • Choose an appropriate trustee structure for the fund.
  • Based on the type of fund structure selected, appoint trustees or directors as required.
  • Establish the trust with a nominal asset and associated trust deed.
  • Have all the fund’s trustees complete and sign the ATO trustee declaration.
  • Check that the fund has been established as an Australian super fund.
  • Register the fund with the Australian Taxation Office through:
  • ABN (Australian Business Number)
  •  TFN (Tax File Number)

And the following if appropriate:

  • GST (Goods and Services Tax)
  • PAYG (Pay As You Go) withholding.
  • Set up a bank account in the name of the SMSF.
  • Get an Electronic Service Address (ESA).
  • Prepare an investment strategy and appropriately document the final decisions that all trustees agree with.
  • Consider insurance and whether it is appropriate to take out policies within the fund for some or all members.
  • Ensure any property and gearing is appropriate.
  • Prepare an exit strategy and what will occur in the case of unexpected events (e.g. incapacity of a member) ensuring that all members agree. Clearly document these decisions and review them on a regular basis in case of any changes.

This checklist is by no-means exhaustive and we recommend you sit down with your financial advisor(s) and especially an SMSF Specialist to ensure an SMSF is the right fit for you and your specific circumstances and the circumstances of all fund members. We also recommend getting their advice and services to assist in the establishing of your fund to ensure it is compliant with regulatory requirements and no aspects have been missed.