The Taxation Act 1953 was recently amended to allow litigants in current property settlement proceedings to request Superannuation information of their former spouse or de facto partner. The Superannuation Visibility measure provides better visibility over superannuation assets at the end of a relationship, when a party is not full and frank with their disclosure.
Parties to Family Law proceedings have a duty to the Court, and to each other party, to give full and frank disclosure of all information relevant to the proceedings. This is because the Family Court needs to be aware of the property between the parties in order to determine what is a just and equitable order for division (to see more about how the court divides property see https://hansonslawyers.com.au/property-settlement-division/).
In financial cases in particular, Rule 6.06 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021 lists examples of the information that must be provided in accordance with a party’s duty of disclosure, which pertains to the party’s direct and indirect financial circumstances. This includes a party’s income and earnings, property, liabilities, financial resources, trusts, and Superannuation. This is a crucial aspect of all property proceedings, as it allows the Court to determine whether a proposed property division is just and equitable.
Although this is the case, there are many instances where parties may not provide full and frank disclosure. The Visibility of Superannuation measure is therefore a welcome change that allows for far greater transparency throughout property proceedings.
Superannuation can make up a large portion of the total asset pool of the parties to property proceedings, which some parties may fail to disclose. From 1 April 2022, the amendment allows parties to property settlement proceedings to request Superannuation information from the ATO. The ATO provides the requested information directly to the Court, who will then provide the information to all parties.
The following information is required by the ATO in order to locate the Superannuation information sought:
- Full name (including any former name)
- Any known addresses
- Date of birth
- Phone number and/or email address (if known)
Once the request has been made, the ATO will inform the Court of the outcome of their search within 5 business days from receipt of the request. The Court will then distribute the information to all associated parties in the family law proceedings.
The information provided by the ATO may include:
- Super fund name
- Super fund ABN
- Super fund USI (if applicable)
- Last reported balance
- Date of last reported balance
- Account phase
Although there is an existing process to access super information directly from a Super fund, this new measure will be beneficial to parties who suspect that their former spouse or de facto partner may not disclose the entirety of their Super assets which may be held across multiple funds. The Superannuation visibility measure is expected to help parties avoid the cost and complexity involved in seeking undisclosed superannuation information which in turn will result in more just and equitable outcomes for parties.
If you need assistance with the division of assets after the breakdown of your relationship, contact our office to organise a consultation with one of our friendly family law solicitors on 42 222 666 or by email at email@example.com