Each financial year, every SMSF must undergo financial and compliance audits before they can lodge their annual return. Financial penalties may apply if said return isn’t lodged on time, so getting audited is a key process for any SMSF.
In order for an SMSF to be audited, its trustee(s) must appoint an approved SMSF auditor to carry out the audit. The role of the auditor is to examine the validity and accuracy of the fund’s financial records and to ensure that the fund is compliant with the superannuation laws and rules.
There aren’t any rules or restrictions on what registered auditors can charge for their services, but the ATO regularly publishes various measures of audit fees paid by SMSFs to give trustees a rough idea of what may be a reasonable/standard price to pay for an audit, depending on the fund requirements. The ATO data shows SMSFs can pay as little as $500 and as much as $2,000 or more, so if you’re a SMSF trustee it might behoove you to read on!
How much does an audit cost?
As we said, there is no legally mandated minimum or maximum cost for an audit fee – most registered auditors are private professionals who can choose to charge whatever fee they like for their services. But as mentioned, the ATO regularly publishes reports which outline the average and median audit fees paid by SMSFs, along with audit fee price ranges and what percentage of SMSFs fall in each range. Below are the more recent SMSF audit fee statistics from the ATO, which draw on data collected from the years ended 30 June 2012 to 30 June 2016 and were published 18 January 2018.
Average and median SMSF audit fees by year
|SMSF auditor fees||2012||2013||2014||2015||2016|
|Average auditor fee||$ 571||$ 737||$ 725||$ 759||$ 694|
|Median auditor fee||$ 462||$ 550||$ 550||$ 550||$ 550|
SMSF audit fees by cost range
|Audit fee range||2012||2013||2014||2015||2016|
|$2,000 and above||2.6%||3.4%||3.1%||2.7%||2.2%|
The following table contains details of the superannuation funds rated by Canstar based on someone aged 40-49. This table has been sorted by one-year performance (highest to lowest).
Please note that the performance information shown in the table is for the investment option used by Canstar in rating of the superannuation product.
How much does it cost to register as an auditor?
To conduct SMSF audits, an auditor must:
- be registered with ASIC as an approved SMSF auditor
- maintain their details with ASIC, lodge required documents and pay associated fees
- have a valid SMSF auditor number (SAN)
- meet ongoing legal obligations, such as continuing professional development and maintaining indemnity insurance
Approved auditors must pay set fees in order to register as an auditor and maintain their registration. According to ASIC, from 1 July 2017 an auditor will pay $107 to apply for registration as an approved SMSF auditor, and another $107 to undertake a competency examination. Additionally, auditors incur a $54 fee whenever they submit a statement to ASIC, such as their annual statement in which they attest they are continuing to meet the conditions of their registration.
Whether you’re with a standard superannuation fund or a SMSF, you can find the best fund for you by comparing with Canstar.