Illegal early access to super
To access your super legally, you must satisfy one of the twelve conditions of release.
Generally, you can only access your super when you:
- Reach preservation age and retire
- turn 65 (even if you’re still working).
It is illegal to access your super for any reason other than when it is allowed by the superannuation law. Illegal early access schemes encourage you to withdraw your super before you’re legally entitled. Often the promoters of the early access schemes help you set up a self-managed super fund (SMSF) to remove your super and use it to pay for personal expenses such as credit card debt, holidays, gambling, alcohol, etc.
The warning signs of illegal early access schemes and their promoters include:
- They tell you to transfer or rollover your super to an SMSF so you can access it
- Targeting vulnerable people, including those who are under financial pressure or unaware of super laws
- Claim that you can access your super and put the money towards anything you want
- Charge high fees and commissions
- Request your identity documents.
Taxpayers illegally accessing their super are subjected to additional income tax, tax shortfall penalties, and interest. If you provided fraudulent documents to the ATO or your super fund, you would also be liable for penalties for false and misleading statements.