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ATO allowed to disclose super assets in separation proceedings under new law

A new law makes it harder for parties involved in splitting assets to hide or under-disclose their superannuation.

ATO allowed to disclose super assets in separation proceedings under new law
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  • Juliet Helmke
  • September 03, 2021
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Legislation to improve the visibility of superannuation assets in family law proceedings officially passed Parliament on Thursday.

Under the Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measure No. 6) Bill 2021(Schedule 5), the Australian Taxation Office is now permitted to release superannuation information to a family law court upon request.

An applicant wishing to obtain this information will have to be party to a family law property proceeding. They can apply to a family law court registry to request details on their former partner’s superannuation, held by the ATO. Using this information, they can then seek up-to-date superannuation information from their former partner’s super fund.

The bill intends to make it difficult for people involved in separation proceedings to hide or under-disclose their super assets. In announcing the reform, the government said the new law would reduce the time, cost and complexity for parties seeking information about their former partner’s super holdings.

The news was outlined in a joint statement issued by Michaelia Cash, Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, and Jane Hume, the Minister for Women's Economic Security and Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy.

They noted that super has become a significant asset in the property pool for separated Australian couples.

“Access to this information will better support separated couples to divide their property on a just and equitable basis. This will help alleviate the financial hardship and negative impact on retirement incomes that women in particular can experience after separation,” their statement read.

Parties will be able to apply to family law court registries for access to superannuation information from 1 April 2022.

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