Master the essentials to successfully undertake your self-managed super fund work with Smarter SMSF's comprehensive course.

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SMSF Essentials Course

$600.00 + GST

SMSF Essentials Course

This 7 module accredited course built by SMSF specialist and CEO of Smarter SMSF, Aaron Dunn, provides 21 CPD hours and is designed to help professionals understand the core requirements of self-managed super funds.

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About the SMSF essentials course

The SMSF essentials course is built and maintained by two of Australia’s leading SMSF specialists, Aaron Dunn, CEO and co-founder of Smarter SMSF, and Tim Miller, SMSF Technical & Education Manager.  The course contains 7 modules, providing a total of 18 accredited CPD hours, which can be applied towards obligations with the SMSF Association, the major accounting bodies (CPA, CAANZ, IPA), Tax Practitioner’s Board, and for FASEA purposes.

All modules include interactive activities, workbooks, additional supporting materials and important links (e.g. rulings).  Each module includes CPD assessment that must be completed as you work through the course.

The SMSF essentials course is available to purchase via Smarter SMSF’s learning platform, along with an enterprise solution for larger organisations to utilise via your own Learning Management System (LMS).  It is fully responsive, allowing you to access the modules to complete via a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile device.

“We know that staying up-to-date is the biggest challenge facing professionals today.  That’s why we built the SMSF essentials course to help professionals feel better equipped to learn what is essential in SMSFs to complete their work.

In an ever-changing environment within the SMSF sector, our starter, smarter, smartest approach to delivering our SMSF courses, allows students to access high quality CPD education that suits their level of knowledge – from understanding the basics through to creating a pathway towards specialisation.”

Aaron Dunn

Fellow SMSF Specialist Advisor & CPA

Course outline

On successful completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify the different types of superannuation funds that exist and list the advantages and disadvantages of SMSFs
  • Explain the requirements to operate an SMSF, including the trustee structure, requirements of the trust deed and a trustee’s responsibilities.
  • Outline the key requirements of trustees preparing and maintaining a fund’s investment strategy
  • Explain the investment restrictions imposed on how a trustee can invest within a SMSF
  • Explain the different types of contributions that can be made into superannuation and the limitation in making contributions.
  • Outline the different types of pensions that can be paid from a SMSF and how benefits can generally be paid to a fund member.
  • Describe the taxation issues specific to SMSFs, including the different tax rates and exemptions that apply within a fund
  • Explain the different statutory requirements that a trustee must adhere to in running a SMSF.

This module covers:

  • The regulation of Australia’s superannuation system
  • The three pillars of superannuation in Australia
  • The different types of super funds that exist in Australia
  • The key features and regulation of self-managed super funds
  • The definition of a self-managed super fund
  • How a SMSF operates through the requirements of its trust deed and key super laws including the sole purpose test and residency rules

This module covers:

  • What is an investment strategy?
  • The requirements of an SMSF investment strategy
  • How an SMSF can invest and acquire assets
  • What investment restrictions exist within the super laws
  • Some exceptions that exist to allow certain investments within a SMSF
  • The arm’s length basis dealings requirements

This module covers:

  • What is a contribution, the eligibility requirements and how contributions can be made into super
  • The types of contributions that can be made
  • How a member’s total superannuation balance impacts them making contributions
  • Meeting the work test and work test exemption requirements for a member to make a contribution
  • The timing of contributions be made into super
  • The contribution caps, the operation of the bring-forward rule and the ability to split contributions with a spouse
  • Dealing with excess contributions
  • Other types of contributions that can be made into super

This module covers:

  • The preservation rules, preservation age and conditions of release
  • How benefits can be paid, including lump sums and super income streams
  • The types of pensions that can be paid within a SMSF
  • Account Based Pension requirements, including commutation rules
  • Transition to Retirement Income Stream rules
  • Understanding the legacy pensions that continue to be paid from SMSFs
  • Understanding how a pension can cease
  • The transfer balance cap, transfer balance account and exceeding the transfer balance cap

This module covers:

  • What type of contributions are assessable and the tax treatment of concessional contributions
  • Dealing with excess contributions, understanding contributions are assessable and how Division 293 tax applies for high income earners
  • The capital gains tax rules that apply to super funds, including CGT transitional relief and trading stock exemption
  • The types of income the fund might generate that are assessable
  • Tax deductions, including when a fund can claim and the deductibility of expenses
  • How the non-arm’s length income (NALI) provisions apply to a fund’s income and expenditure
  • How tax exemption applies to income supporting pensions in the retirement phase, including the methods in calculating ECPI
  • How the GST rules apply within SMSFs
  • How the tax laws apply to member benefits paid as a lump sum, income stream or in the event of a member’s death

This module covers:

  • The financial reporting requirements for SMSFs
  • The appointment and role of the SMSF Auditor and lodgement of the SMSF Annual Return, inclusive of the supervisory levy
  • The various record-keeping requirements and reporting obligations for SMSFs
  • The obligations of Transfer Balance Cap Reporting of member events within a SMSF
  • The responsibilities of reporting for activity statements, along with PAYG instalments and withholding
  • How the SuperStream rules apply with SMSFs
  • How the Regulator deals with non-compliance
  • How to wind-up a SMSF

This module covers:

  • Super does not form part of an estate
  • Compulsory cashing rules on death
  • Who can be paid a super death benefit?
  • Who is a dependant?
  • Death Benefit Nominations
  • What happens if a Binding Death Benefit Nomination is invalid?
  • How can a death benefit be paid?
  • Governing rules – death benefit payments
  • What happens when a member dies who is receiving an income stream?
  • Death benefit rollovers
  • Appointing a new trustee

Complimentary SMSF Association Associate Membership*

Students who have completed the SMSF essentials course are eligible to claim their complimentary period of SMSF Association membership, which is available until 31 March of the following calendar year.*

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Ready to grow your SMSF knowledge?


Here’s a list of frequently asked questions about the SMSF Foundations Course:

How long do I have access to the course for after purchase?

Four month from activation date, unless you purchase the renewal update service that provides you with ongoing access to the course, including updates to accommodate changes to the law or other additions to the course.

What is included within the course?

Each module will take between 1.5 to 5 hours to complete, which also includes a range of supporting materials that should be also be read including workbooks (200+ pages in total), links, sample documents and other supporting materials.

How often is the course updated?

The course is regularly reviewed and updates made within a reasonable timeframe following any superannuation and tax laws changes.

When does the CPD certificate get issued?

Immediately after successfully completing all modules and assessments.  You will be able to download from the course page as per the screenshot below:

Can a CPD certificate be issued for more than one person?

No, only 1 x CPD certificate will be issued per course purchase, unless otherwise agreed to by Smarter SMSF.

Is the course available to purchase for larger organisations, member bodies or dealer groups?

Yes, Smarter SMSF has a custom-built enterprise solution that can be provided for the course that allows you to add each of the modules onto your own learning management system (LMS) or alternatively can be hosted by Smarter SMSF.

Get in contact with us on 1300 95 94 76 or email to discuss pricing on this option further.

If you have any other questions, simply contact us using the form or call 1300 95 94 76.

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