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Why you might wind up an SMSF

People can wind up their SMSF for many different reasons, including:

Illness or death of someone in your SMSF

Relationship breakdown with someone in your SMSF

It took too much time to manage

Accounting fees cost too much

Didn’t make enough investment returns

Should I get advice?

Getting professional tax and financial advice can help you decide when to wind up your SMSF. Learn how to close a self-managed super fund and switch to an account with us.

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How to wind up an SMSF

Once all members of your SMSF have agreed to wind up your fund, there's plenty you have to do. Before you get started, it's a good idea to speak with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). And think about how you'll manage the money within the superannuation system.

SMSF wind-up checklist

You need to let the ATO know within 28 days if you want to close down an SMSF.

Check the trust deed

The trust deed, as the legal document of your SMSF, lists anything extra you need to do.

Get written agreement

All trustees of the SMSF need to agree in writing to wind it up. Get their confirmation and signatures (digital signature is okay). Keep this with the SMSF records.

Sell off the assets

When closing an SMSF, you need to sell off or get rid of all the fund's assets at market value, and pay any capital gains tax (CGT).

Final reports about member payments

Send your last reports to the ATO, including transfer balance account reports for a pension/income stream. You may need to send a PAYG payment summary for benefits you've already paid to members, or a lump sum to a deceased estate.

Pay last expenses and tax

You might need to pay any last expenses, legal and accounting bills, and tax.

Distribute money to members

Work out how much money each member should get, then pay the benefit to them (or their account with another super fund, or their estate).

Book an audit

An approved SMSF auditor must do an audit and finish any paperwork or reports before you lodge your final SMSF annual return.

Lodge SMSF annual return

Once your audit's done, you'll lodge an SMSF annual return. Include wind-up details, any super regulatory information, member contributions, and SMSF supervisory levy.

Transfer your super

Check the steps below to transfer your SMSF money to us.

Let everyone know

Tell any employers the SMSF is closed and give them your new account details for future super payments. The ATO cancels the SMSF's ABN. If you had a company, you'll need to deregister it with ASIC.

Close the bank account

You can close the SMSF bank account once there's no more money in it and nothing left to pay. You'll also need to keep your SMSF records for at least 5-10 years for most documents, so check the requirements.

Read more

Watch: When should I wind up my SMSF?

Advice from the ATO

Winding up an SMSF can have an impact on your retirement savings. So, it's important to get financial advice and plan an exit strategy before you close it. Keep in mind that once you've wound up an SMSF, you can't reopen it.

For more details, see the ATO website.

What are the benefits of winding up an SMSF?

Changing from an SMSF to an industry fund or any other fund has a few key benefits. Of course, it always depends on your situation.

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How to transfer your SMSF to Australian Retirement Trust

Once you've decided to close the SMSF, it's easy to transfer your super to a Super Savings account.

Follow these 5 steps

Open an account

It only takes 3 minutes to open an account with us online.

Set up your transfer

If you don't already have one, set up an electronic service address (ESA) and SuperStream. (We can't accept BPAY or cheque from an SMSF.)

Send us your super

Use the payment reference number (PRN) and our BSB/account number from SuperStream to send your super to us by online banking transfer. If your bank has a transaction limit, you might need to do multiple smaller payments.

Wait while we process

We'll let you know once the money is in your ART account. This can take 3 business days.

Let your employer know

Send any employers your new account details online or by form.

Important details

Fund name:

Australian Retirement Trust, Super Savings account


60 905 115 063

USI (replaces SPIN):

60 905 115 063 003


13 11 84

Fund address:

GPO Box 2924
Brisbane QLD 4001

Your member number:

If you don't know it, we can help you find your member number.

FAQs about winding up an SMSF

If you need any help with transferring your super to us, please contact our friendly team. You can speak to a local specialist in superannuation. And if you need personal advice, we can help you find a financial adviser.

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Yes, you can wind up an SMSF in the pension phase. You just need to make sure the SMSF has no money left in it before winding up.

So, you'll need to make the final pension payments and pay the remaining balance to your members.

If you want to keep your money within the super system, join us and use your super to open our Retirement Income account and/or Lifetime Pension.

It's worth getting financial advice about your options, the timing for opening accounts and adding contributions, potential Centrelink impacts and how you may be affected if, for example, your pension income stream stops.

Running an SMSF can be complex and time-consuming. Winding up an SMSF can also be complex because of all the paperwork and tax implications.

But once it's done, you can choose an easier option.

In general, industry super funds like Australian Retirement Trust have several features:

  • Focus on strong long-term returns
  • Returning profits to members as lower fees and better services
  • No commissions or incentives to recommend products
  • Board including both employer and employee representatives

If you'd like to speak to someone about closing your SMSF, we have a national network of financial advisers we can connect you with.

Yes, you can have an SMSF and an account with an industry super fund like us at the same time.

Let's say you have an account-based pension like our Retirement Income account with a super fund. You can also invest some of your super through an SMSF.

But you should get financial advice about whether having both open at once is the best choice for you. And check our pros and cons of SMSFs.

You can transfer your SMSF to an industry fund or other fund by following the steps in the SMSF wind-up checklist above.

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