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Assistance available for SMSFs and their members

Posted on April 30, 2020 by admin

The Government’s economic response to coronavirus will provide SMSFs and their members with additional support, including reducing minimum drawdown rates and early release of superannuation.

The minimum annual payment required for account-based pensions and annuities has been reduced in an initiative to assist retirees. For the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years, the minimum annual payment required for members has been reduced by 50%.

If the minimum drawdown amount has been paid, no further payments will be required for the rest of the year. Those who have already paid more than the minimum drawdown amount are able to have their member recontribute this amount if the member is eligible to make contributions. Re-contributions will continue to be subjected to rules or limits, such as contributions caps.

Members of SMSFs who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 may be able to access up to $10,000 of their super before 1 July 2020, as well as a further $10,000 between 1 July 2020 and 24 September 2020, on compassionate grounds. To be eligible, members must satisfy at least one of the following criteria:

Applications for early access can be made through myGov.

In addition to these initiatives, the Government will also be automatically deferring the lodgement of 2019 SMSF annual returns until 30 Junes 2020.

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Avoiding mortgage default

Posted on August 26, 2020 by admin

As individuals struggle with cash flow through the coronavirus, the Australian Bankers Association records that repayments on almost 500,000 mortgages have been deferred for six months. While repayments can be delayed, they cannot be avoided altogether.

Lenders can send you a default notice the day your repayment is overdue. However, they could also wait until your repayment is overdue by 90 or more days. When you receive a default notice, you are given 30 days to repay the amounts you have missed in addition to the regular repayment on your loan. Individuals who are struggling with their home loan repayments can avoid mortgage default by considering the following.

Contact your lender
Lenders are generally willing to work with you through financial hardship. Don’t be afraid to contact your lender to discuss your situation and find out what options are available for you. Lenders are often willing to negotiate short-term variations to repayment schedules that both parties can agree to. However, make sure that you do not agree to unrealistic repayment conditions that cannot be met.

Many Australian banks are offering a six-month deferral on mortgage repayments (including interest) for customers who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. If this is you, contact your bank to see if this is an option.

Apply for a hardship variation
Mortgage holders may be able to change the terms of their loan or temporarily pause or reduce their repayments under a hardship variation. A hardship variation can still be requested after you receive a mortgage default. To apply for one, contact your lender’s “hardship officer” and tell them that you wish to change your loan repayments due to financial hardship. This will usually require you to explain why you are struggling to make payments and to estimate how long your financial problems will continue to determine how much you can afford to repay.

After submitting a hardship variation request, your lender must contact you within 21 days with the outcome of your request. They may ask you for more details regarding your request; in this case, they must contact you again within 21 days from when you provide the additional information.

Consider selling your home
Selling your home is a tough decision, but in some cases this may be the better option if your circumstances are unlikely to improve. If you get to the point where your lender takes possession of your home and sells it, it’s likely that you won’t make as much as if you sold it yourself. When you sell your house on your own terms, chances are you will get a better price and avoid having to pay the legal fees passed on by your lender. Inform your lender if you decide to sell your home; they may ask for proof, such as a copy of the contract with your real estate agent or property advertisements.

Renting out your home until you can afford to make repayments again may also be an option if you are able to live somewhere else during this period.

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