Tax certainty for deceased estates of SMSF pensioners

The government will amend the law to allow the tax exemption for earnings on assets supporting superannuation pensions to continue following the death of a fund member in the pension phase until the deceased member’s benefits have been paid out of the fund. This change will have effect from 1 July 2012.

The super law requires the benefits of a deceased member to be paid out of the fund as soon as practicable following the member’s death. The continuation of the earnings tax exemption beyond the death of a member will be subject to this existing requirement.

This change will benefit the beneficiaries of deceased estates by allowing super fund trustees to dispose of pension assets on a tax-free basis to fund the payment of death benefits.

This was an anomaly brought to the superannuation indusry’s attention by the ATO a year ago. It is a sensible amendment that just restores the law to the way most people thought it had always worked.