Understanding SMSF Setup Costs

Understanding SMSF Setup Costs


When considering setting up a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF), it’s essential to understand the costs involved. This article aims to provide an in-depth analysis of SMSF setup costs, including the expenses associated with establishing an SMSF and ongoing management. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of these costs, you can make informed decisions about the financial implications of managing your own superannuation fund.

SMSF Setup Costs

Trust Deed:

The establishment of an SMSF requires drafting a trust deed, a legal document that outlines the rules and regulations governing the fund’s operations. The cost of drafting a trust deed can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the complexity and customization required. Seeking professional assistance from lawyers or SMSF specialists is advisable to ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Professional Services:

During the SMSF setup process, professional services such as accounting, financial advice, and SMSF specialists may be engaged. The cost of these services will vary depending on the complexity of the SMSF and the level of assistance required. It’s important to consider the expertise and qualifications of the professionals to ensure proper guidance throughout the setup process.

Regulatory Fees:

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) charges an annual supervisory levy for each SMSF to cover regulatory and compliance costs. The levy amount is determined by the ATO and is subject to change. As of 2021, the levy ranges from approximately $259 to $1,153 per year, depending on the fund’s assets. Click here to read more about SMSF Setup – A Comprehensive Guide.

Ongoing SMSF Expenses

Accounting and Audit Fees:

SMSFs are required to prepare annual financial statements, lodge tax returns, and undergo an independent audit. Engaging an accountant and auditor to fulfill these obligations can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars annually, depending on the complexity of the SMSF and the services provided.

Investment Costs:

Managing an SMSF involves investment expenses such as brokerage fees, investment platform fees, and ongoing management fees for managed funds or financial advisors. These costs can vary significantly depending on the investment strategy and the assets held within the fund.

Insurance Premiums:

SMSFs may choose to take out insurance policies to protect the fund and its members. Common types of insurance include life insurance, total and permanent disability insurance, and income protection insurance. The premiums will depend on factors such as the members’ age, occupation, and desired coverage.

Administrative Expenses: SMSFs have administrative costs associated with day-to-day operations, including bank account fees, legal fees for documentation updates, and other miscellaneous expenses. These costs are typically modest but should be accounted for in the overall SMSF budget.

Cost Efficiency Considerations

While SMSF setup and ongoing expenses exist, managing an SMSF can be cost-effective in the long run, especially for individuals with larger superannuation balances. As the fund grows, the fixed costs associated with running the SMSF become proportionately smaller, making it more financially viable.


Understanding the costs associated with SMSF setup and ongoing management is crucial for individuals considering establishing their own superannuation fund. By accounting for expenses such as trust deed drafting, professional services, regulatory fees, accounting and audit fees, investment costs, insurance premiums, and administrative expenses, individuals can make informed decisions about whether an SMSF aligns with their financial goals. Seeking professional advice to assess the specific costs and benefits based on individual circumstances and objectives is highly recommended.