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The Fire and Emergency Services Superannuation Fund (FES Super) is the superannuation fund for employees of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services of Western Australia and some associated employers.

FES Super Latest News

Early release of super/ATO action
If you're adversely financially affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible to access some of your superannuation early.

Eligible members can submit an application through the Australian Tax Office (ATO) online services in myGov, between 1 July 2020 and 24 September 2020. However the government has announced they will extend the application period to 31 December 2020.

NOTE:  We are NOT able to release any funds from a Defined Benefit Account. 
We can only release funds from an Accumulation Account.


To be eligible, members must require the COVID-19 early release of super to help them to deal with the adverse economic effects of COVID-19. To lodge a claim please see https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/withdrawing-and-using-your-super/early-access-to-your-super/?anchor=Compassionategrounds#Compassionategrounds

While most claims are genuine, the ATO has reported examples where people are doing the wrong thing. In some cases, the ATO has stopped applications and prevented super money from being released. In other cases, the ATO will review circumstances after an application has been processed to ensure the integrity of the program.

The ATO has a variety of data sources that allows it to check for claims made incorrectly. For example, the Single Touch Payroll system gives the ATO real time information about whether people are employed and how much they are being paid. Behaviours that attract ATO attention include:

  • applying when there is no change to your regular salary and wage or employment information,
  • artificially arranging your affairs to meet the eligibility criteria,
  • making false statements or fraudulent attempts to meet the eligibility criteria, and
  • withdrawing and recontributing super for a tax advantage.

The ATO reports it would “consider a range of possible outcomes – from taking no action where workers voluntarily disclose that they had withdrawn funds due to an honest mistake about their eligibility, up to imposing penalties of $12,600 for misleading statements.”
 
 
Source: ATO website and article in the Guardian Australian tax office moves to track down people who withdrew super inappropriately 30 July 2020 available at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jul/30/australian-tax-office-moves-to-track-down-people-who-withdrew-super-inappropriately

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Special Notice

COVID-19 – Early Release of Superannuation
Individuals financially affected by COVID-19 can access some of their superannuation early. 

Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and will not need to include it in their tax return.
The application is available through ATO online services in myGov.

Eligible Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are able to access up to:
• $10,000 of their super until 30 June 2020
• a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020.

NOTE:  We are NOT able to release any funds from a Defined Benefit Account. 
We will only release funds from an Accumulation Account.


To apply for early release, you must satisfy one or more of the following requirements:
• you are unemployed;
• you are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for job seekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance; or
• on or after 1 January 2020, either:
- you were made redundant;
- your working hours were reduced by 20% or more; or
- if you were a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.
Be aware about scams or schemes where people:
• impersonate the ATO, or a trusted organisation like this super fund, to steal your money or personal identifying information; and
• contact you and charge for services that are free, like gaining early access to your superannuation.
If you receive a phone call, text message or email offering to help you release your super early, do not:
• provide your personal information; or
• click on any links.
For any further information, please contact the Superannuation Office on (08) 9382-8444 or by email: admin@fessuper.com.au

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Super Office and Staffing

We appreciate everyone is being inundated with constant messaging but we consider it our prerogative to keep you abreast of matters as they unfold.

Quite clearly the evidence is indicating an acceleration of people becoming infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19).  While we are confident in our own health and ability to withstand infection and illness, we fear for those members and family members of staff that may be more susceptible to a more severe reaction.

Given some of the evidence on the recent spread and health consequences of COVID-19, as well as clear government guidelines, we are enacting the following measures:

1. Implementing an office-based staff roster arrangement whereby we have 50% of staff operating at 242 Rokeby Road, and the remaining 50% working remotely.
2. Stopping ‘face to face’ member and other third-party meetings.

While it is always more effective for face to face discussion, we encourage members to use email to contact the office.

Given all the communications that you will no doubt be receiving we will endeavour to keep our updates to you as concise as possible.  Clearly these are unprecedented times.  What we know is that human nature is hardwired to progress and innovate.  The essential ingredients that will enable solutions to be developed and an eventual outcome of current conditions normalising.

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Inactive Low-Balance Accounts transferred to ATO

The Australian Parliament has passed new legislation, the ‘Protecting Your Super’ package, which took effect on 1 July 2019.
The package includes several changes designed to reduce erosion of superannuation account balances. One of the changes may affect some FES Super members.
From 1 July 2019, non-defined benefit superannuation accounts with a balance under $6,000 must generally be transferred to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) unless the member’s account has in the previous 16 months:
  • Received a contribution, rollover or automatic transfer from another fund,
  • Made an investment choice,
  • Changed their insurance cover,
  • Made a binding beneficiary nomination, or
  • Provided written notice to the ATO or to FESSuper that they do not want their FESSuper account to be transferred.
The first transfer to the ATO will be made on or before 31 October 2019.
If your account is identified as a low balance inactive account, we’ll contact you with information about how you can choose to stay with FESSuper.
Note the above change does not affect members with a defined benefit account.
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Investment Market Volatility

You will no doubt know that investment markets have been extremely volatile over the past few weeks, caused by the spread of COVID-19 and compounded by the recent oil price falls.  Equity markets do not like uncertainty and have fallen substantially from their recent highs.

COVID-19 was first experienced in the Chinese provinces of Wuhan and Hubei in late December 2019.  Since that time the virus has spread to multiple countries.  On 12 March 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared the virus as a global pandemic.

While COVID-19 is a humanitarian challenge, its direct and consequential effect on wider economic, business, employment and social dimensions collectively contributes to the pandemic affecting global investment markets.

At times like these it is important to focus on the long term.  Diversification and long-term strategic asset allocation underpin the investment process at the Fund and although the current volatility will impact short term performance, history shows that markets recover over time.

We continue to monitor the situation and will provide further updates as necessary.

Further information is available on our website at www.fessuper.com.au

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Certified Copy of proof of your identity for rollovers or payments

Members are reminded that we are required by law to confirm your identity before you can withdraw all or part of your benefit from the Fund or where you wish to transfer money into the Fund.
Enhanced security measures adopted by the Superannuation Board with effect from 1 January 2018 require you to provide to the Fund a certified copy of your proof of identity on each and every occasion that you seek a payment from the Fund, where you seek to transfer money into the Fund or on such other occasion as the Superannuation Board requires you to prove you are the person to whom the superannuation entitlement belongs. The proof of identity document provided should have photographic evidence of your identity and be dated within 7 days of your request for a payment or a transaction.
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