Getting out of an SMSF

Know how to get out before you get in

Once you set up an SMSF it can be complex and costly to undo your decision.  Here we explain the reasons why you might want to get out of an SMSF and how you can do it. 

Reasons for getting out of a self-managed super fund

Before you start an SMSF it is important to have an exit strategy to help avoid costly conflicts in the future. There are many reasons people decide to get out of an SMSF including:

  • trustees find they don't have the time, resources, interest or expertise to run the SMSF anymore.
  • the breakdown of a relationship between one or more members.
  • there are not enough funds in the SMSF to cover the ongoing operating costs.
  • all the members have moved to another fund or died.
  • the fund has paid the members all of their retirement savings.
  • one or more of the members have relocated overseas. 

Each member is legally responsible for all the SMSF's decisions and your obligations cannot be outsourced to another member or a professional. This means that if you are unable to run your SMSF anymore then you must either leave the SMSF or the SMSF must be wound up.

What is involved in getting out of a self-managed super fund

Careful planning is essential when getting out of an SMSF to minimise costs and risks to the members' retirement savings.

To get out of your SMSF you need to:

  • notify the ATO within 28 days
  • deal with all the assets of the fund so that the fund has no assets left
  • arrange a final audit of your fund
  • complete your reporting responsibilities.

See the ATO's web page winding up an SMSF or consider getting professional financial advice. 

Getting into an SMSF is relatively easy compared to getting out. It is important to plan an exit strategy to minimise the costs and risks.

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Last updated: 14 Feb 2019