Q&As

ATO High Risk Areas: What's Under the Spotlight with Darren Chinnappa

Friday May 25, 2018

Darren Chinnappa has been a member of the Superannuation Division at Nexia Sydney for over eight years.  

Darren Chinnappa Crop 

Legalwise Seminars interviewed Darren about the key challenges and opportunities in the SMSF industry today. You can find the full Q&A below.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a CA SMSF Specialist and the Manager of the Superannuation Division at Nexia Sydney. I have been at Nexia Sydney since I was an 18 year old undergraduate which is over 9 years ago now! Nexia Sydney is a mid-tier chartered accounting firm located in the Sydney CBD, with over 10 partners and 100 staff that specialise in providing a broad range of professional services relating  to accounting, taxation, business strategy and personal wealth.

What are some of the challenges practitioners facing when an ‘ATO Audit’ takes place?

In my opinion, the main challenges faced by practitioners during an ‘ATO Audit’ are poor document/record keeping and underestimating the time costs of putting together a response file for the ATO.

What are the common mistakes practitioners usually make when their SMSF clients get audited by the ATO?

The ATO is usually very specific with what information they require as part of their audit and I think a common mistake is not providing exactly what the ATO is after. Providing too much or too little information to the ATO is not ideal and can lead to the audit dragging on for a lot longer than all parties involved would like!

You will go through a few current ATO high risk areas during your presentation. Are the areas are quite different from pre-reforms? If yes, what are they?

A couple of the high risk areas such as dual fund strategies and use of reserves are directly a result of the reforms. However, the remainder of them have been on the ATO’s radar for a while now, including related party property development and auditor independence.

What do you see are some of the key takeaways and benefits for practitioners for their practice from attending your session?

The key benefit will be that practitioners will gain insight on the specific superannuation areas that the ATO will be focussing their resources on. This will help practitioners keep their clients out of trouble with the ATO by ensuring that they tread carefully and have the appropriate documentation in place when operating in these ‘high risk’ areas.


During this time, Darren has developed several areas of expertise including all aspects of superannuation and compliance (in particular SMSF's), managing complex superannuation structural issues as well as retirement and estate planning. Darren provides clients with tailored strategies and holistic financial advice specific to SMSF's, which ranges from the establishment of SMSF's to strategic advice around contributions/pensions. Darren is a registered Chartered Accountant, who is authorised to provide superannuation advice under Nexia Sydney Financial Solutions Pty Ltd's AFSL.

Would you like to hear more from Darren? Attend the conference, SMSF Symposium in the Primus Hotel Sydney, on Tuesday June 5.

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