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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

Managing it was time-consuming

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. When you’re ready, find out how to close a self-managed super fund and switch to an account with us.

See advice options

How to wind up an SMSF

Once all members of your SMSF have agreed to wind up your fund, there are several things you have to do, like paying any final benefits and sending your last reports to the ATO. First off, it's a good idea to speak with the ATO before you get started, and think about how you'll manage the money within the superannuation system.

SMSF wind-up checklist

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

Check the trust deed

The trust deed, as the legal document of your SMSF, lists anything extra you need to do. All trustees of the SMSF need to agree in writing to wind it up.

Get written agreement

Get written confirmation and signatures from all trustees (digital signature is okay) to wind up the SMSF, and keep this with the SMSF records.

Sell off the assets

When closing an SMSF, you need to sell off or dispose 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. For benefits you’ve already paid to members, or a lump sum to a deceased estate, you might need to send a PAYG payment summary.

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 is entitled to, then pay the benefit to each member (or their account with another super fund, or their estate).

Book an audit

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

Lodge SMSF annual return

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

Transfer your super

If you want to transfer your SMSF money to us, open an account online, then use SuperStream to send us your super. You'll need an electronic service address (ESA) to do this. The SMSF trustee needs to complete the ATO form NAT 70944.

Let everyone know

Let any employers know the SMSF is closed and 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 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 information about winding up your fund, see the ATO website.

How to transfer your SMSF to Australian Retirement Trust

Once you've made a decision to close the SMSF, transferring your super to a Super Savings account is easy.

Follow these steps

Open an account

It only takes 5 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

Using the payment reference number (PRN) and our BSB/account number from SuperStream, 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, and you’ll be able to see it when you log in to your account. This can take 3 business days to finalise.

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.

What are the benefits of closing an SMSF?

There are usually a few main benefits of changing from an SMSF to an industry fund. Of course, it always depends on your situation.

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Save time

We take care of all the administration, legal compliance, and reporting for you.

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Save effort

We've designed a range of investment options and retirement products for you, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel.

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Save stress

If something ever happens to you or the other SMSF members, we're there to make a hard time easier.

Find out more

FAQs about winding up an SMSF

If you need any help with the wind-up process, please reach out to our friendly team. You'll speak to a local specialist in superannuation. And if you need personal advice, we can help you find a financial adviser.

13 11 84

8:00am-8:30pm AEDT (7:00am-7:30pm AEST) Monday to Friday

When overseas +61 7 3333 7400

Yes, you can wind up an SMSF in the pension phase. You just need to make final pension payments and pay the remaining balance to your members before winding up, so that the SMSF has zero money left in it.

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

As always, it's worth getting financial advice about your options and the timing for opening accounts and adding contributions.

Winding up an SMSF can be complex because of all the paperwork and tax implications. On the other hand, running an SMSF can be complex and time-consuming.

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 of Trustees including both employer and employee representatives

It's always wise to get financial advice about what to do in your specific situation. 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 Australian Retirement Trust at the same time.

For example, someone could have an account-based pension like our Retirement Income account with a super fund, while continuing to invest some of their super more actively through an SMSF.

However, you should get financial advice about whether having both open at once is the best choice for you.

If you want to, you can transfer your SMSF to an industry fund by following the steps in the SMSF wind-up checklist above.

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