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How much do I need to start an SMSF?


This is directly proportional to the cost of setting up your SMSF and your annual costs.

Cost of setting up the fund

The fact is that you can set up an SMSF very cheaply. It is true that you will have to pay for a trust deed and other documents to set up the fund, but the cost of this is very modest - see my set up packs (opens in new window). If you use individual trustees there is nothing else to pay (there is no fee to be paid to the ATO upon registration of the fund for example).

If you want to use a corporate trustee, then there is a fee to pay to ASIC, and the set up pack is more expensive see set up packs (opens in new window).

If you are unsure whether to go for individual trustees or for a corporate trustee this article will help you to decide this (opens in new window).

Annual cost of maintaining the fund

This can also be cheap if you are prepared to do your fund's accounts (financial statements) and complete its tax return. Each year every fund must prepare financial statements, have these audited, and complete a tax return. In my packs, there are Excel spreadsheets which you can use to produce financial statements provided it has simple investments. The spreadsheets also provide you with the information to put in the tax return based on the data you insert. If you use the spreadsheets properly (and there are comprehensive instructions to help with this) then you will not incur accountant's fees. The auditors fees are payable every year however, and there is also a fee to the ATO.

If the fund has a corporate trustee then every year a fee needs to be paid to ASIC but this is a small amount because the company is a special purpose company. There is no other maintenance required for the company except of course to inform ASIC within 28 days of any change of address or change of the directors.

The other thing a fund should do is to review its investment strategy regularly. I would suggest at least once a year. There is guidance in the pack about how to do this. If you need professional assistance to review the investment strategy then this will be further expense for you.

How to set up the fund

For a brief description about how to set up your new super fund please see how to start an SMSF.

If you have any queries or problems contact me by email at or by mail at PO Box 354 Corinda QLD 4075 to discuss.

Jeremy Gordon
24 February 2017

Copyright © Jeremy Gordon

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This article only applies to Australian self-managed superannuation schemes regulated by the Australian Tax Office.

This article does not arise from any instructions from you and it is not legal advice given to you. You should check for yourself about how much you need to start an SMSF. If you follow the information on this page, you do so at your own risk.

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Jeremy Gordon is an Australian barrister. He can be contacted by email using or by mail at PO Box 354 Corinda QLD 4075.
The conditions applying to his work are here (opens in new window).