The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) can now release superannuation information to a family court, under a new law passed at the beginning of September 2021.
New provisions under the Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measure No. 6) Bill 2021 make it more difficult for parties to hide the true value of their superannuation assets to their ex-partner and will allow the accurate sharing of information quickly and inexpensively. It is a welcome change in the family law sector as it will make it easier for parties, particularly victim-survivors of financial abuse, to recover their fair share of the matrimonial asset pool.
A party to family law property proceedings can apply to a family court registry to request their ex-partner’s superannuation information held by the ATO. Once granted, parties can then access up-to-date information about their ex-partner’s superannuation entitlements.
Making superannuation information more accessible will improve property division outcomes for all parties, by ensuring the process is just and equitable. It resolves the unfairness that arises where one party is not providing a complete disclosure of their assets and enables parties to engage on a level playing field. This legislation is particularly helpful where there are multiple superannuation entities involved over the years and records are incomplete or hard to follow. Finally, it will help to mitigate the negative effect of separations on retirement incomes, particularly of women.
If you would like to learn more about these new changes in the law or believe that your proceedings may be affected by them, please do not hesitate to contact us on (02) 8917 8700.