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Accessing You Super Early May Be Illegal

Are you one of those people who believed that they could rely on their super if faced with tough times? Or have you been approached by a promoter who claimed that you could just use your SMSF to buy a car, pay off your debts or even pay for a holiday?

Well, let us tell you that it is not true. You can not access your super prematurely unless you meet the legally mandated conditions, or you will have to face severe consequences. 

In this article, we will discuss when you can access your super legally along with the consequences of accessing it illegally.

Accessing You Super Early May Be Illegal

When Can You Legally Access Your Super? 

Super, otherwise called superannuation, is designed in a way that it can provide financial security to people during their retirement years. 

Accessing your superannuation funds is typically restricted to specific conditions. You can usually tap into your super:

  • when you reach your preservation age and retire, or 
  • when you turn 65, regardless of whether you’re still working. 

However, it’s crucial to meet the criteria outlined in the superannuation law to access your funds legally.

While there are some circumstances where early access is permitted, such as for specific expenses, it’s important to note that accessing your super prematurely for reasons other than those allowed by law is illegal. (Reach out to the official website of the Australian Taxation Office to know more about it.)

Legally Accessing Your Super

Always remember that accessing your super should be done in accordance with the law, as unauthorised access can have serious consequences.

Illegal Early Access Schemes 

Be cautious of schemes that encourage you to access your super before it’s legally allowed. Be wary of individuals promoting these schemes, as they may suggest setting up a self-managed super fund (SMSF) to access your super early for personal expenses like paying off credit card debt, buying a property or car, or funding a holiday.

If someone approaches you offering to set up an SMSF for early access to your super, make sure they’re a licensed financial adviser before proceeding. It’s important to confirm the legitimacy of such offers to avoid getting involved in illegal activities.

Consequences of Illegally Accessing Super

The consequences of accessing your super illegally go beyond just the money you withdraw. You could face serious financial penalties and risk losing your retirement savings.

Any illegally accessed funds must be reported as income on your tax return, even if you return them. This could result in:

  • Paying additional income tax
  • Facing tax shortfall penalties
  • Accruing interest charges.

Once you’ve taken out super illegally, you can’t put it back into your fund. Attempting to do so will be treated as a new contribution.

Consequences of Illegally Accessing Super

If you provided false documents to the ATO or your super fund, you could be penalised for making misleading statements.

If a promoter assisted you in accessing your super illegally, you can’t claim a personal deduction for any fees they charged.

Participating in illegal schemes also puts you at risk of identity theft. This occurs when someone uses your personal information for fraudulent activities, potentially stealing your super in the process.

If you’ve accessed your super illegally or been involved in a scheme, it’s important to contact the Australian Taxation Office immediately. When determining penalties, your willingness to disclose and your circumstances will be taken into consideration.


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Given the evolving nature of financial regulations and conditions, the accuracy and reliability of information may change over time. Users are urged to exercise due diligence and consult with a qualified financial professional for personalized advice. ‘Clear Tax Accountants’ bears no responsibility for direct or indirect consequences, encompassing financial loss or legal matters stemming from the use or misuse of the information on this website.

Please be aware that the information, by no means, is a substitute for financial advice.