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Re: Transfer Balance Account Reporting


Replies 5

>>Events you must report

If you are a super provider, including a self-managed super fund (SMSF), you are required to report the following events:

  • super income streams in existence just before 1 July 2017
  • any of the following events that occur on or after 1 July 2017        
    • super income streams that have commenced in retirement phase
    • limited recourse borrowing arrangement payments
    • member commutations
    • compliance with a commutation authority issued by the Commissioner
    • personal injury (structured settlement) contributions
    • super income streams that stop being in the retirement phase, for example because the trustee failed to meet the minimum pension payment standards for an income stream.<<

I am one of two members/trustees of a SMSF, both 75, and have just started account based pensions from what was previously the accumulation phase.

Our tax agent lodged the notice of the change to the transfer balance before the 28th, but tells us that the only "event" that needs reporting before the annual return goes in next year is that. ie., the pension withdrawals are not reported until year end.

This seems in contradiction to the bulleted item (my underlining.) However in the voluminous ATO pages there does appear to be confusion: one page says a new pension stream must be reported withing the quarter but another says it does not.

Phoning the ATO last week elictited the information - from a single agent - that (a) it MUST be reported in the quarter and later in the conversation (b) it is only reported at the end of the financial year!

It appear the more I try and get a definitive ruling on this the more obscure it gets! We try and follow the regulations and keep everything in order but it's increasingly impossible to do this - or stay sane, for that matter.


Replies 4

Hi @Wellington


Sorry you've found the information you've found on the ATO website or received from ATO staff to be confusing.


Generally, an SMSF trustee only needs to lodge a TBAR when a new pension (income stream) starts (i.e. to tell the ATO the date/value on commencement) or when there is a commutation (to tell the ATO the date/value of the lump sum). There are some other events that need to be reported, but those are the main ones. There is no requirement to report pension payments on a TBAR.


As noted in the SMSF News Edition 56 (31 October 2018), the ATO has recently updated some of the information we have on our website about TBAR reporting:


The new version of the TBAR instructions page (QC 53363) now includes the following information:


Events you must report

Super providers are required to report the following:


Transfer balance account events:

  • any of the following events that occur on or after 1 July 2017               
    • super income streams that have started in retirement phase, including reversionary income streams


No report needed

You don't need to report the following events on a TBAR:

  • pension payments
  • investment earnings/losses
  • when an income stream is closed because the interest has been exhausted
  • concessional contributions
  • the death of a member.


I'm not sure about the meaning of your statement that "the pension withdrawals are not reported until year end". Maybe this is referring to the updated member account balances (which would reflect pension payments made), which are reported on your SMSF annual return.


Hope this helps.




This is my personal view; I’m an ATO employee who chooses to help out here in my own time.


Replies 3

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to reply.


It's still very ambiguous to me, though:

>>super income streams that have started in retirement phase, including reversionary income streams<< (Must report)


>>pension payments<< (Do not report.)


Surely they are one and the same thing?


Our tax accountant says that, having reported before the 28th of October the fact that we have the $1.6 in pension phase, we don't have to report further until the tax return next July. Then of course we report the pension payment for the 18/19 year.


Replies 2

Hello Wellington,

with the greatest of respect you are confusing the commencement of  an income stream i.e. moving funds from accumulation to pension, as against the annual pension payment you then have to make. A simple example might help. Say you move $500,000 from accumulation to pension. You must inform, via TBAR, of the commencement of this income stream i.e. the movement of the $500,000. If, based on your age you need to pay a minimum pension of 5% i.e. $25000 per annum; you do not have to advise the ATO of that payment. The balance of your accounts i.e. how the remaining $475,000 either grows or shrinks (movement in investment value) will show in your annual return.(This final point is only relevant to your total super balance.)

Hope this helps.   


Replies 1

Ah, that makes it quite clear!

One of the (many) problems with finding facts from the ATO website for the uninitiates is that every page has hyperlinks to several other pages, each of which has many etc etc. I usually find that after going deper and deeper into submenus that I've forgotten the original question!

"Income stream" to me does suggest just that - a pension "stream", not a virtual transfer of assets from accumulation to pension.

Thank you for a much more informative explanation than anything I've found previously.


Replies 0

Glad I was able to help.

You are right in pointing out that I jumped a step in my example by referring to an income stream immediately after mentioning the $500,000. I simply jumped ahead by assuming that you would understand that moving the lump sum to pension stage would lead to an income stream being paid i.e. the lump sum is not the income stream but the movement of funds to pension stage leads to an income stream being payable. Hope I have correctly understood the point you were making.

The issue about the amount of funds in pension (and,possibly,  accumulation) at the end of the financial year leads to all sorts of issues in relation to use of the segregation or non segregation (proportionate) method for distribution of income when you have a total super balance above or below $1.6m(you mentioned this figure in an earlier post) is the next area of complication!    


Replies 4

Hi there,


Where there is a fund with a member who has three seperate ABP accounts. Does each ABP have to be seperately noted in the spreadsheet document? 


Also we presume that no TTR has to be reported for TBA reporting unless they are close to or above the $1.6 million.


Could you please confirm the above.


Kind Regards,


Devotee Registered Tax Practitioner

Replies 3

I looked at the spreadsheet  -  it looked like a lot of work!


When I started doing TBARs, I just wrote them out  -  did not take long.


Doing them on BGL takes no time at all.


But, to address the questions, 3 ABP accounts  =  3  separate entries on TBAR forms, whatever method is used.


TTR, AKA TRIS,  is not reported as a pension on TBARs unless the TRIS enters retirement phase.


$ 1.6 M is not relevant to TBAR reporting, in the strictest sense, because ABP balances over $ 1.6 M were supposed to be fixed before 30 June 2017.  If the ABPs were not reduced at 30 June 2017, then the fund would have to report whatever the balances actually were  -  then cop whatever happens.



Replies 2

Thanks Bruce for your reply


The Spreadsheet can appear a bit cumbersome but I would be checking the numbers on Class anyway.


It isn't bad once you have worked out what is required and then it is copy and paste for alot of the ones in the same fund. 


Re TTR or TRIS i thought has much but just wanted to confirm


Thanks for the reply





Replies 1

I originally started this post when I was unclear about the requirements for lodging a transfer balance report when the only option appeared to be a paper form for individual accounts and my wife and I had nine pension accounts! The questions were asked as a trustee/member doing my own administration. (I would like to think that Bruce and I had some role to play in TBAR development.)

The whole process has changed (developed) since the original iteration, as I think has the information in this post.

I gather today's discussion between Reina and Bruce was by two tax agents as the discussion was about "spreadsheets". I believe only TAs can use this approach to lodge TBARs? Am I correct?

If so, I simply add this clarification for those reading this subject/post for the first time.