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Property valuations still ‘high on the audit hit list’

By Miranda Brownlee 29 December 2021 | 1 minute read

SMSF auditors are requiring valuations for many property investments again this financial year, and in some cases seeing pushback from trustees.

Property valuations

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, BDO partner, superannuation Shirley Schaefer cautioned that SMSF auditors are paying close attention to property investments again for audits for the 2020-21 financial year.

Property valuations are still high on the hit list, they vary from area to area, but generally you would expect to see a significant increase up to 30 June 21, for most property investments, explained Ms Schaefer.

In some cases, Ms Schaefer said auditors are getting some pushback from trustees because they might have had the property valued or appraised on 30 June 2020.

I know auditors are saying well if you’re saying it hasn’t increased from June 2020, then [you still need] to get confirmation from the person who did the appraisal that the value is still relevant and is still current because there will absolutely be examples where property prices haven’t changed, but auditors are not property agents, said Ms Schaefer.

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Property valuations for SMSFs have been an area of focus for the ATO and auditors for a number of years, with the regulator releasing various pieces of guidance on what SMSFs need to provide to their auditor in order to comply with regulation 8.02B of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994.

Evolv audit associate director Daria Galstyan told SMSF Adviser in August that while many of the requirements for property valuations are straightforward, some transactions can be more of a grey area.

The required evidence, Ms Galstyan explained, may become problematic when there are transfers of properties in and out of the fund between related parties.

“Most trustees utilise a direct sales or market comparison approach to support the market valuation of property,” she said.

“For commercial properties, the issue is the lack of readily available market data, with some properties also being special purpose in nature. It can be quite difficult for the trustees to actually determine market value without seeking assistance from a commercial real estate specialist or a registered valuer.”

RELATED TERMS

Property

Property refers to either a tangible or intangible item that an individual or business has legal rights or ownership of, such as houses, cars, stocks or bond certificates.

SMSF

A self-managed super fund is a private super fund that provides benefits to its members upon retirement, directly managed by an individual for their benefit and in compliance with super and tax laws.

Valuation

Valuation is defined as the evidence-based process of assessing the value of a property provided by a qualified professional.

Valuation

Valuation is defined as the evidence-based process of assessing the value of a property provided by a qualified professional.

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Property valuations still ‘high on the audit hit list’
Property valuations
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