Illegal early access to super

Faced with tough times, some people may be thinking about accessing their super early.
Taxpayers may have been approached by a promoter claiming they can withdraw their super
or use an SMSF to pay off debts, buy a car, or pay for a holiday.
The ATO warns taxpayers that this is illegal, and it has prepared a fact sheet ('Accessing your
super early may be illegal')  to help super fund members recognise the warning signs.
Super funds should remind members that super is for retirement. Members need to meet
very strict conditions to access their super early, and accessing their super outside of these
strict conditions is illegal.
Illegal early access to super can have a significant impact on members' retirement savings,
result in additional tax, penalties and interest, and lead to members being disqualified from
ever being able to be an SMSF trustee again. When trustees are disqualified, their name is
published and this can affect their personal and professional reputation.
If a promoter gets a member to provide them with enough personal information, they may
also steal their identity and use it to access their super for themselves.
Members can report any promoters of illegal access to super schemes using the ATO's 'tip off
form' (QC16789 on the ATO's website).

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