Speaking at the 2018 National SMSF Conference, ATO deputy commissioner James O’Halloran had a few things to say about where the regulator was sharpening its focus on the SMSF sector.
In a broad-ranging speech, O’Halloran acknowledged the "significant role SMSFs play within the Australian financial sector," noting they now represent 27% of assets held in super. "So by any measure," he said, "the SMSF sector is a key part of the Australian super and retirement landscape."
He also mused on the particular role the ATO plays in the SMSF space, saying that it doesn’t act as a prudential regulator but instead aims to “protect the integrity of the sector” by “[addressing] behaviour that seeks to take advantage of the closely-held and concessionary nature of an SMSF, or which seeks to undermine the retirement system by accessing savings in circumstances not allowed under law.”
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Remember: the devil's in the detail.