Parliament has passed a package of reforms that the Gillard government believes will improve superannuation law.

The changes include superannuation capital gains tax relief and measures to implement the government’s Stronger Super commitments.

The Superannuation Laws Amendment (Capital Gains Tax Relief and Other Efficiency Measures) Bill 2012 and the Superannuation Auditor Registration Imposition Bill 2012 both passed through Parliament yesterday (Thursday November 22).

“The measures further build on the government’s existing reforms to improve the efficiency and integrity of the superannuation system, which will increase the retirement outcomes for Australians,” said Minister for Superannuation Bill Shorten.

Merging superannuation funds

One of the changes sees the restoration of temporary tax relief in the form of loss relief and asset rollover for mergers of superannuation funds with some amendments.

From October 1, 2011 to July 1, 2017, superannuation funds that merge can roll over unrealised gains or losses on revenue and capital assets and allow the transfer of realised revenue losses and capital losses.

This taxation relief removes certain tax impediments to superannuation funds merging to achieve efficiencies and cost reductions for members in response to the Stronger Super reforms.

SMSF auditor registration

The bill will also establish a new registration regime for self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) auditors, commencing on January 31, 2013.

The measure will require auditors to register with ASIC and satisfy a range of minimum standards.

“As part of SMSF auditor registration, all auditors of SMSFs will be required to meet initial and ongoing requirements relating to their qualifications, competency and independence,” said Shorten.

The SMSF sector currently has over $400 billion, with members advised by a range of experts including auditors.

Expanded superannuation reporting