Superannuation and SMSF

Navigating the new Transfer Balance Cap Rules: A guide for SMSF Trustees

Charlotte Jackson profile picture Charlotte Jackson
8 November 2023
4 min read

The Transfer Balance Cap (TBC) has been a trending topic in the world of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF) lately. Effective from July 1, 2023, the TBC saw a substantial increase to $1.9 million through indexation. This change is crucial for SMSF trustees and members who are approaching or have reached retirement age.

If you're wondering how this affects you, here's what you need to know to navigate the new Transfer Balance Cap Rules from the SMSF experts at Findex:

Understanding the TBC

The Transfer Balance Cap (TBC) is the maximum amount of superannuation benefits that can be transferred into the retirement pension phase. In this case, income is tax-free. But how is it calculated?

Your TBC is linked to your Transfer Balance Account (TBA), which records reportable events. Reportable events include the commencement and cessation of pension income streams.

Knowing which events to report is essential because they impact your Personal Transfer Balance Cap (PTBC).

Why knowing your PTBC matters

Your PTBC is a figure that guides decisions on events that influence your retirement savings. Exceeding the PTBC can have tax implications, affecting your holdings.

On the flip side, understanding your PTBC allows you to maximise tax-free earnings in your retirement fund. Increasing your savings over time.

Reporting obligations

From July 1, 2023, all SMSFs with members in the retirement phase must report events that affect their TBA on a quarterly basis. This reporting requirement ensures that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has accurate data on your superannuation.

What's New in the Rules?

Before July 1, 2023, the reporting requirements were determined using Total Super Balances (TSB) in the year the first member commenced a retirement income stream. If any SMSF member had a TSB of $1 million or more on June 30 of the previous year, quarterly reporting was necessary. Others with no members exceeding $1 million TSB reported annually. However, starting July 1, 2023, all SMSFs must submit a Transfer Balance Account Report (TBAR) within 28 days after the end of the quarter in which the event occurs.

Transition Rules

For events occurring during the 2023 financial year, there's a transition period. These events must have been reported by October 28, 2023. Read on to know which events must be reported.

Reportable events

Reportable events include:

  • When a member starts or ceases a retirement income stream

  • When a member receives a death benefit income stream

  • Commutations (lump sums) drawn from an existing income stream

  • Some LRBA payments in certain circumstances

  • Compliance with ATO-issued commutation authorities drawn from income streams

  • Personal injury (structured settlement) contributions.

These events must be promptly reported through TBAR. 

Exempt events

Certain events don't require reporting, such as:

  • Pension payments

  • Investment gains or losses

  • Income stream cessation due to depletion, member death

  • Family law payment splits

  • Debit events like fraud, dishonesty, or bankruptcy.

Why timely reporting matters

Accurate and timely reporting is essential for SMSF trustees. Neglecting it can lead to compliance issues, penalties, and even result in total denial of tax benefits.

Timely reporting highlights the importance of proactive SMSF compliance management.

Penalties for late reporting

Late reporting can result in compliance actions and penalties. Non-compliance with ATO-issued commutation authorities might lead to the denial of exempt current pension income (ECPI) claims, affecting members in the retirement phase.

The bottom line

The new reporting requirements aim to provide timely and accurate information to manage transfer balance accounts and caps. SMSF trustees must adapt to these changes to avoid costly consequences.

If you are an SMSF trustee or member nearing retirement, make sure you're up to date on these crucial rules and reporting obligations. Don't risk your retirement savings; stay informed and compliant.

To simplify compliance with these new requirements, contact us today to discuss your specific SMSF needs and ensure you stay on the right side of the Transfer Balance Cap.


This document contains general information and is not intended to constitute legal or taxation advice. If you need legal or taxation advice, we recommend you speak to a qualified adviser.

Charlotte Jackson profile picture
Author: Charlotte Jackson | Senior Client Manager