This time of the year, one of the most important things on SPAA’s agenda is to drop a line to Santa. We always send it express delivery, because with the North Pole, it can be a bit tricky getting the mail through sometimes, what with those pesky polar bears on the look-out for a quick meal.

The elves, too, have sometimes been known to flex their industrial muscle at Christmas time, so it pays to get in early.

This year we know already there are some goodies in Santa’s bag; those naughty elves love stealing his thunder. For starters, concessional caps for the over-60s have been increased to $35,000, and the over-50s will only have to wait until next year for the same gift. That’s not the only gift that we’ll find in our stocking, if the word out of the North Pole is to be believed. We have also heard that there are changes to the excess contributions tax regime that will allow trustees to seek a refund on their excess concessional contributions. For good measure it won’t be limited to excesses of less than $10,000 and will not be limited to a once-off refund.

SPAA, of course, wants Santa to extend this to excess non-concessional contributions, as it’s those breaches that usually attract more tax. Rest assured it will be on next year’s wish list – and the year after if necessary.

Super gift

Another gift strongly rumoured to be in our stocking is SuperStream, which will require superannuation funds, including self-managed super funds (SMSFs), to accept contributions and rollovers electronically, helping to improve the efficiency of the system.

As we all know, Santa is pretty clever. But if he can fill our stocking with solid investment returns in 2014 he might just earn himself a bottle of top-shelf champagne to accompany our customary thank you note.

Good investment returns aside, that’s what our Deep Throat has told us is in SPAA’s stocking. But our wish list does not end there. We have asked for the removal of the 15 per cent tax on any income above $100,000 earned in an SMSF in the pension phase.

We appreciate times are tough in the North Pole, but we are hoping Santa might see fit to grant us this wish. After all, we have been extra good.

Then there’s the question of all those nasty penalties, the fate of which is still to be decided. There’s the failure to record the appointment of an investment manager in writing, which could attract an $850 fine; or the failure to keep records relating to the change of a trustee, which could set you back $1700.

Cutting red tape
Now Santa runs a big workforce; we’re quite certain he’s sympathetic to the odd slip-up in keeping to the rules and regulations. Indeed, we’re hearing a rumour he’s very keen to cut red tape – so perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised if we get our wish.

Recent changes to the age pension deeming rules may also be in our stocking. With this goody we have a little time up our sleeve, as the deeming rules for age pension income testing will only extend to account-based superannuation pensions from January 1, 2015, with all existing pre-January 1, 2015 pensions being grandfathered.

If Santa makes this delivery, some pensioners will lose some of their age pension when their post-January 1, 2015 pension is included in their income test.

Finally, Santa would put a smile on a lot of people’s faces if he delivered a promise to continue the low-income super contribution.