Costs / Fees


So one of the most asked questions is what are the costs involved in starting and running your own Self Managed Superannuation Fund. The easiest way to understand this is to break it in four separate areas, the initial advice costs, the establishment costs, the ongoing administration and ongoing advice costs.

SMSF Costs

What am I up for?


The initial advice fee will depend on if you are seeking advice specifically on setting up an SMSF or a full plan looking at your Superannuation, Insurance, Debt and other investments. You should meet with a Financial Planner, preferably a SMSF Specialist Advisor™, to ensure you are dealing with an experienced professional, and ask for a quote before agreeing to any work. Depending on the complexity of your situation you can expect to pay between $4,800 and $18,800(for really complex cases). The average seems to be about $5,200.


The upfront or establishment costs will be determined on whether you have an individual trustee or a corporate trustee but we always recommend a sole purpose corporate trustee (See here for reasons why). If you use a Corporate Trustee, it should be no more than $880 to 1,500 to setup inclusive of the $512 ASIC Incorporation Fee. These are just the pure basic costs of the legal documentation required to establish the fund and register it as a Complying Super Fund and apply for an ABN and TFN.


To borrow for property via an SMSF you will need a Bare Trust and usually a Trustee company, see here for more details.  Basically the Bare Trust holds the property whilst the loan is in place. The upfront or establishment costs will be determined on whether you have an individual trustee or a corporate trustee but we always recommend a corporate trustee. If you use a Corporate Trustee, it should be no more than $1,000 to 2,000 to setup inclusive of the $512 ASIC Incorporation Fee. You do not apply for an ABN and TFN for Bare Trust/Trustee


The ongoing administration cost will be determined by the complexity and size of your fund and whether it’s Accumulation or Pension mode. Typically however you will be paying 2 lots of administration fees on an ongoing basis. You will be paying your Account Keeping fee, to get your tax return. You will be paying the Audit fee, because you are now the trustee so you need to get an audit every single year.

The total of fees should not exceed $2,000 per annum if you have a simple fund and online providers are bringing the costs down dramatically with a $79 – $189 per month fee covering Admin and Audit. If you have a more complex Fund, you can expect to pay around $2500 – $5000 per annum but these costs are being driven lower with the use of data feeds and as I mentioned competition from online administrators so shop around. Be careful about choosing your administrator as often you get what you pay for but some of the better providers are becoming lower cost as well.

Now these administration and audit costs are just the base costs of what you need to run your fund and keep it compliant. There may be additional costs that may be applicable to you. For example, if you buy an investment property and you have a bare trust there will be one extra layer of cost associated with this.


If you need ongoing advice on strategy and/or investments from an advisor or in-depth/specific tax advice from an accountant then you will also have to pay for their professional services. The great thing about a self managed superannuation fund however is that you control the cheque book, so you can decide if you are getting value for money.

It is quite easy to see the fee you are paying each service provider and you have the choice to shop around and seek alternatives annually. Don’t be afraid to switch as it is often a case of just one letter of instruction and your files can be moved to a new administrator or advisor behind the scenes.

As The SMSF Coach and our parent firm, Verante Financial Planning, we specialise in the strategy, structure and education with investments being a byproduct after the other areas have been addressed. Our SMSF service operates on a Fee for Service basis for new clients so you know your annual costs upfront and can walk away at any time if not satisfied.

We don’t do the administration or audit but can offer a range of solutions with local or online providers to suit your needs. We are more than happy to work with your existing accountant and often find that relationship grows even stronger when our education sessions give people the confidence to use their accountant’s expertise to their full potential.

Sample Annual Fees:
SMSF Coach Annual Minimum Retainer (Advice Only*) $3,300 – $22,000
Online Accounting Admin & Audit $960 – $3990 (Basic preparation and submission of financials and tax return service – lower cost options do not include tax , accounting or structure advice)
Annual ASIC Corporate Fee $56
ATO Supervisory Levy $276 ($552 for new funds in 2021/2022 as pay 2 years upfront)
Total: Between $3,600 per year to $4,500 for basic fund (suits 90% of trustees)

Sample LRBA Fees:

  • Advice to allow us sign Financial Advice Certificate from Lender $4,400+
  • Bare Trustee Company $662-$880 (inclusive of ASIC fee $512)
  • Setup: Bare Trust Documents $500 – $1500

Extra LRBA Ongoing fees

Annual ASIC Corporate Fee for Bare Trustee company $276

*Advice revolves around structure and strategy and making the most of the system and your circumstances and would entail matters like:

• Salary Sacrifice
• Super Splitting, Spouse Contributions and Co-contributions
• Gearing
• Recontribution Strategies
• Transition to Retirement
• Insurance via Super and leaving cover in other funds
• Binding Death Nominations
• Reversionary Pensions

For separate investment portfolio design and maintenance we offer a fee for service quote for clients starting at $990 per annum.

Why not keep updated by putting an email address in on the left hand column and pressing the “Sign me up!” button.

If you would like to discuss your options without any obligation to proceed then you can contact Liam or Michael at our Castle Hill or Windsor offices or we are happy to use Skype, phone or email as suits your needs. Alternative use the “Schedule Now” button to set up some times that suit you.

For a copy of our Financial Services Guide please visit our website

Bye for now and hopefully talk to you soon!

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

verante nice logo

Corporate Authorised Representative of Viridian Select Pty Ltd ABN 41 621 447 345, AFSL 515 762

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Leave a comment


  1. Chris

     /  January 8, 2021

    HI, can the setup fees for a SMSF be paid out of the fund itself. In the case that one is low on spare cash but has enough in the super to cover it ?


  2. luke

     /  September 14, 2020

    hi – with a superfund around 90k and you can generate close to 9-10% per year, is it still worth while doing it? i know per year the fee will be around 1k.


    • If you could guarantee 9-10% per year consistently when no professional manager has managed that long term I would gd surprised. I have seen many people with proven systems blow up what little they had when things go wrong. Accounting, audit, ASIC fee, ATO supervisory level bring minimum fees possible in at about $1300-$1500 before investment costs and tax. I personally waited until I had $200K and will only set up account for those with similar minimums. So you can do it but expect ATO scrutiny


  3. S R

     /  July 21, 2020

    IN order to setup the SMSF, do I have to payout of pocket expense to an accountants etc? or can that deduction be made out of my Super Account itself?


    • Many service providers will take care of the upfront costs and invoice the fund once the first Rollover has been received so just ask their process. However you do sign a Engagement form so you are responsible for those costs even if you get cold feet afterwards. You can pay for them yourself and be reimbursed by the SMSF, again as soon as possible after the first rollover/contribution received in to the fund. You also have the option subject to your contribution limits of leaving it in the fund as a personal contribution. Remember many of the initial costs are for legal documentation and ASIC fees so know what you are paying for.


  4. Ashley

     /  August 1, 2019

    I have about $90000 in super and was looking at setting up a smsf to buy property in WA would this be a wise option considering property prices are so low in Perth?


    • We would not recommend setting up an SMSF with less than $200k as fees and charges would eat up the balance. Most lenders would not touch you unless you have 30% deposit and a few years interest cover. So check with local brokers first before committing to an SMSF


  5. Sandeep

     /  December 23, 2018

    Hi Liam,

    I want to buy an investment property with me and my wife’s super ~ 170K. There worn’t be much of other complicated investments. What do you think the set up and running costs would be? we are in Brisbane.


    • Sandeep thank you for the question. Before setting up an SMSF to just buy property you need to ensure that a lender will let you borrow with a balance as low as yours. I normally will not set up a SMSF for clients who want property unless they have $300-$400,000 as many of the lenders want to see 30% Deposit and enough liquidity to ensure loan interest cover for 2-3 years either as cash , tds or other liquid investments like shares or ETFs. You will also need to show consistent above compulsory contributions for 2-3 years. Cost wise you may need a planner to sign off on the strategy which will be $3300+ as they must cover the full picture in terms of the strategy, rollovers, structure, insurance, exit strategies, future contribution plan etc. set up costs for the strategy are outlined in my article but you should allow $1000 for the trust deed and corporate trustee, $1250 for Bare Trust and Trustee, $2500 for Lender legal costs/valuation. $1250 annual Accounting and Audit, $600 annual ASIC costs for 3 entities (SMSF $259, Trustee $53, Bare Trustee $259). I hope this helps. Liam


      • Sandeep

         /  December 23, 2018

        Thanks Liam for the prompt reply. I was looking at buying a unit at ~300K in Brisbane. But I take your advise on board and will contact the bank.

        Cheers Sandeep

        Liked by 1 person

  6. owan

     /  June 1, 2018

    How can ~$9000 be justified to exit/rollover a smsf of <M$1 after audit/returns ready?


    • Sounds expensive. Ask for a breakdown of the fees. We would normally charge approx $3300 for advice on wind-up and rollover to new options and accountants $2200 for final financials and rollover statements


  7. Paul

     /  April 26, 2018

    hi Liam
    we ( my wife and I )already has a SMSF set up with a property fully owned ( no bear trust ) we run a small business and can vary our contributions as we see fit. what should it be costing us per year to run the fund ?


    • Hi Paul, sounds fairly simple so $960 (offshore processing) or about $1650 (Australian Based) per year for Accounting and Audit.
      Annual ATO Supervisory level $259 and
      Annual Corporate Trustee ASIC fee $48
      + Strategy Advice Fee from either a SMSF Specialist or Accountant/Financial Planner which depends on your needs if any


  8. Rachel

     /  February 15, 2018

    I am just wondering of the SMSF setup/establishment and ongoing costs come out of the SMSF or do they need to be paid externally.
    Also is it possible to buy an overseas property as a investment property thereby negating stamp duty costs.


    • Yes the SMSF fees can pay all set up fees. Buying international property in an SMSF is very complicated so would require full background details, property details and compliance guidance so I recommend you see a SMSF specialist Adviser to get specific advice. It can be done but involves 2 jurisdictions and other risks that must be considered.


  9. david vinegrad

     /  April 17, 2017

    Thanks Liam,

    That sounds good to us,

    We will make an online booking with you and look forward to chatting with you soon!

    Kind regards.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. david vinegrad

     /  April 17, 2017

    Hi Liam,

    What is the fee for a 30 minute Skype chat?

    We are based in Melbourne and like the idea of using Skype.

    Kind regards.


    • Hi David, the initial meeting is at our cost and is just to see if we can help you and identify strategies that may be appropriate. Also for you to gauge if You feel we are the right advisors for you. After that meeting if we think we can help we will provide a Letter of Engagement outlining areas to advise on and fee involved.

      We do visit Melbourne client’s 2-3 times per year once on board.





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