From July 1st 2013 the ATO will be able to directly tax and fine trustees, and potentially complicit accountants and advisors, for breaches in their fund. Fines start from $850 and, depending on the type and number of breaches, can extend into the tens of thousands of $$$. Before you ask, the answer is no: these fines cannot be paid for or claimed as an expense of the fund.

The new regime extends the ATO's power to enforce SMSF regulations for small to medium sized breaches instead of sanctioning funds as entirely non-compliant, or battling it out in the court system. As well as fines and taxes, the ATO may also demand trustees act to rectify breaches, or enforce mandatory education schemes.