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SMSF Bank Accounts

Compare SMSF bank accounts with Savvy to find the best one for your needs

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, updated on July 31st, 2023       

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More about bank accounts for self-managed super funds

Self-managed super fund (SMSF) bank accounts are bank accounts designed specifically for SMSFs to help manage the members’ funds or to earn interest on them. Although some are highly flexible bank accounts that allow members to receive contributions and transfer money in and out, there are also high-interest SMSF savings accounts that are designed for long-term storage of superannuation money. Compare bank accounts here with Savvy to find one which best suits your SMSF’s banking needs.

What features should I compare in a SMSF bank account?

The features you should look for when comparing bank accounts for SMSFs relate directly to the purpose of the account. The types of accounts you can open for your SMSF include:

SMSF savings accounts

If you want to deposit your superannuation funds into a savings account and leave them to gain interest, the interest rate (and perhaps bonus interest conditions) should be your main focus when comparing accounts.  The sole purpose of this fund is to earn interest, so aim to find a fund with the highest interest rate possible and the lowest fee structure to maximise your fund growth.

SMSF trading accounts

If you’re wanting to link to your trading account, the best SMSF accounts are those which offer seamless compatibility between your accounts and quick and easy money transfers across to your trading platform.  If both your bank account and your investment trading account are with the same bank, you should be able to make instant payments into your trading account.  This is useful if you want to actively invest your funds and purchase shares.  If your account isn’t with the same bank as your trading platform, you may experience a delay of as many as two to three days between when you transfer your funds and when they’re cleared for use to purchase shares, options or CFDs in your trading account.  This can hamper the opportunity to take advantage of time-urgent trading opportunities.

SMSF transactions accounts

If you’re after a transaction account, look for the lowest fees, fee-free transactions and the ease with which you can make payments to other people when comparing.  Your account should allow you to use OSKO or PayID to ensure you’re able to make instant payments to others, plus allow you to use BPAY and QR codes to make payments.  Make sure you won’t be charged transaction fees and that you can link your account to any existing fund credit cards you may have. Choose an account that also provides a debit card so you can make payWave or PayPass payments to purchase goods.

Do I have to have a bank account for my SMSF?

Yes – the ATO requires that all SMSFs have a bank account in the fund’s name.  When registering your SMSF, you’ll have to advise the ATO of your fund’s bank account details.  They advise that the fund’s account must be kept completely separate from any of the trustees’ individual bank accounts or any related employers’ accounts.  You don’t have to open a separate bank account for each fund trustee, but you must keep accurate records of each person’s entitlements, contributions, earnings and any benefits paid to them.

Which documents will I need to open a SMSF account?

The documents you’ll need to provide before you open a SMSF bank account include:

  • 100 points of ID for yourself and any other fund members, including photo ID, your signature and current residential address
  • The full name of your SMSF
  • Your SMSF’s tax file number (TFN)
  • Your SMSF’s ABN
  • Details of who the fund’s trustees are

Types of bank account

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More of your questions about SMSF bank accounts

What tax do I have to pay on the interest my SMSF account earns?

As long as your SMSF complies with all the regulations stipulated by the ATO, all income will be taxed at the concessional rate of 15% p.a.  However, if your fund is found to be non-complying, you’ll be stung with a tax bill which is equivalent to the highest marginal tax rate, which is currently 45% for those earning over $180,000 p.a. 

What capital gains tax (CGT) discount applies to SMSFs?

Complying SMSFs are entitled to a CGT discount of 33%, as long as the relevant asset had been owned for at least 12 months.  For example, if your SMSF bought an investment property and, after five years, sold it for a profit of $150,000, you would only be liable to pay tax on $100,000 of that profit, as a third of the profit has been discounted.  Capital gains tax isn’t separate from income tax: you calculate your capital gains tax obligation, add this to any other income you may have received and pay income tax on this as a whole amount.  In this example, you’d add $100,000 as a CGT income amount to any other income your fund had made that financial year, and you’d pay 15% income tax on it. 

What is the SMSF supervisory levy and do I have to pay it?

The SMSF supervisory levy is a fixed amount which all SMSFs pay to the Australian Taxation Office to help pay for fund supervision.  The levy has to be paid in advance.  Currently, the annual SMSF levy is $259 per year.  However, because it has to be paid in advance, you’re initially required to pay two years’ worth of levy ($518) when setting up a new SMSF, which ensures you are paid in advance.  After this initial payment of $518, each subsequent year you’ll pay just $259.  This amount is payable regardless of which month your SMSF’s registration date is, so you’ll pay $259 per financial year of operation, or part thereof.  When a SMSF is winding up, it is not required to pay the levy in its final year of operation due to its previous advance payment.

Can I set up a SMSF myself or should I get professional help?

There is a multitude of rules and regulations which apply to self-managed super funds, including which forms must be submitted to the ATO to register the fund.  A SMSF must be run for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits for the trustees and, as the trustee operating the fund, you’re fully responsible for complying with all relevant legislation (and there are heavy penalties for non-compliance).  You should consider whether you have the time, knowledge and professional skills to set up and run a SMSF yourself, or whether you’d be better off delegating this to a professional financial advisor, super fund or accountant.

Can I have a SMSF but get someone else to invest my money on behalf of my fund?

Yes – you can have a SMSF but place your money in a professionally managed fund.  This means you’ll have the freedom to be able to make choices about how your funds are invested (for example, what proportion of your funds are invested in property, shares, fixed interest term deposits and more) but professional fund managers do the investing on behalf of your fund.  There are also managed fund pools which combine the funds from many SMSFs.  You can buy into these pools by purchasing units, or ‘shares’, in the pooled funds’ profits.  Naturally, there are fees charged for these investment services, ranging from monthly fees to an annual fee which can be several hundred dollars depending on the level of investing service you require.

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