25 September 2023

Tax Office warns on early super access

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The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has warned people with superannuation accounts to beware of advisors and others urging them to illegally access their super early to buy cars, take a holiday or give money to needy family members overseas.

Deputy Taxation Commissioner, James O’Halloran said the last thing the ATO wanted to see was people’s retirement savings being put at risk by unscrupulous promoters.

“Attempting to access your super early in this way is illegal, and people need to be aware of the financial dangers of falling prey to these promoters,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“These people could cost you a big part of your hard-earned retirement savings.”

He said the ATO had seen evidence of promoters promising that they can organise access to super – for a fee.

“They ask people to fill out blank forms and provide identity documentation, while assuring people that these arrangements are legitimate.”

He said that so far the ATO had seen promoters targeting people with small to medium super balances, people involved in local community and cultural groups, and those who might not have engaged with their super at all before being approached.

“While we have seen these promoters using word of mouth and focused in some geographic areas, such as western Sydney, and among some communities, we believe it is not widespread at this stage,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“But it is important for the ATO to get this warning out as early as possible, given the significant loss people could face to their retirement savings.”

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