ATO backs off on SMSF property crunch | | MacroBusiness

In November 2011, a draft tax ruling (TR2011/D3) by the ATO caused concern among Self Managed Superannuation Fund trustees and property investors in particular. The ruling suggested that the pension tax exemption …

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Superannuation — tax certainty for deceased estates – Government MYEFO announcement good for SMSFs

The release of draft taxation ruling TR 2011/D3 in July last year caused much concern when it suggested that the pension exemption ceases automatically upon death (unless a reversionary pension was in place).

Under those proposed rules if an SMSF member died with assets carrying unrealised Capital Gains, even if the deceased were receiving a pension, upon death the pension would cease (unless the pension qualified as an auto-reversionary pension). If SMSF assets were then sold/transferred, the SMSF would have CGT implications.  (more…)

Skeletons in the Cupboards and Tax Man at the Door – Estate Planning Solutions for SMSF members

Here is one solution to a big problem that may become more common with blended families and increased divorce as well as de-facto arrangements.     SMSF Estate Planning

Our client , lets call him , Scott (age 78) is a widower in the Hills district and he has a $652,000 account based pension (containing a 100% taxable component to keep it simple). His two adult daughters who are financially independent are noted as 50/50 beneficiaries on his non-lapsing binding death benefit nomination (see here for more details). Any lump sum death benefit they receive will be subject to 16.5 per cent tax. In dollar terms, this is $107,580 (calculation: $652,000 x 16.5%) and he wasn’t too happy about this.

Scott was advised by his specialist he has 2-3 years maximum to live due to an aggressive cancer. He threw this curly one at me to come up with a strategy as he wants to maximise his estate for his kids but also retain access to the funds while alive to fund medical and living expenses. Our strategy involves Scott taking a tax-free withdrawal from his account based pension. He then let me know about some skeletons he had in his cupboard!

Scott could retain these funds within a bank account, however the account will form part of his estate upon his death. Even though his estate will be paid predominately to his adult daughters, he is concerned about his estranged son from an affair he had in his late 50’s who might challenge the Will.

We advised that a valid alternative available to Scott is to invest into an investment bond with himself as the owner and the life insured. Since an investment bond is a non-estate asset, upon his death the funds will be paid tax-free to his adult daughters.

Both strategies will avoid the $107,580 of death benefits tax on funds paid to his daughters, however only the investment bond will ensure the funds do not become part of his estate. Scott’s two daughters need only produce a copy of his death certificate to gain access to the funds within the bond. This could also avoid lengthy delays with the administration of the estate and overcome possible estate challenges from his estranged son.

In terms of costs we were looking at foregoing the tax-free status in pension phase for the 2 years but that was far outweighed by the savings in the death benefits tax and we are actually able to wind up the SMSF  to save his children the hassle of dealing with that later.

For further information on the issues raised in this blog please contact our Castle Hill SMSF Centre or Windsor Financial Planning Office.

I hope this guidance  has been helpful and please take the time to comment. Feedback always appreciated. Please reblog, retweet, put on your Facebook page if you found information helpful.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AdvDipFS AMC

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter  Liam Shorte on Linkedin  NextGen Wealth on Facebook Follow Liam on Google+

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 8853 6833,  Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St, Castle Hill NSW 2154

308 George St, Windsor NSW 2756


ABN 20 060 778 216 • AFSL No.232686

Liam Shorte is a partner in Verante financial Planning, Corporate Authorised Representative of Genesys Wealth Advisers Limited, Licence No 232686, Genesys Wealth Advisers Limited ABN 20 060 778 216.

Important information :

The information in this article is provided for illustrative purposes only and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. You are encouraged to seek financial advice suitable to your circumstances to avoid a decision that is not appropriate. Any reference to your actual circumstances is coincidental. Genesys and its representatives receive fees and brokerage from the provision of financial advice or placement of financial products.

Understanding transition to retirement pensions

If you have reached your preservation age you can use a transition to retirement pension to access your superannuation as a non-commutable income stream while you are still working. This may be particularly attractive if you have reduced your working hours and need to top-up your income to maintain your standard of living.

There was another great benefit of setting up the pension which was that all the funds supporting the pension move in to a tax exempt status. Yes that means those funds paid no earnings tax and in fact they received a full refund of any franking credits on your investments. For the average investor this can increase your returns by 0.5% to 1% a year risk free every year! However that tax free status will be removed as of 1 July 2017.

The strategy still remains effective for those needing a boost in income or those who can combine the pension with salary sacrifice.

What is a transition to retirement pension?

Transition to retirement pensions allow you to access your superannuation as a non-commutable income stream, after reaching preservation age (see below), but while you are still working.

The aim of these income streams is to provide you with flexibility in the lead up to retirement. For example, you may choose to reduce your working hours and at the same time access your superannuation as a transition to retirement pension that can supplement your other income. It may also allow you to salary sacrifice to give your retirement savings a boost.

Not all superannuation funds offer the transition to retirement pensions, so you need to check with your own fund to see if they do. You can also start one in a self-managed superannuation fund.

Are there any special characteristics?

These pensions are essentially like a normal account-based pension, but with two important differences.

Firstly, they are non-commutable, which means they cannot be converted into a lump sum until you satisfy a condition of release, such as retirement or age 65.

Secondly, you have a minimum pension amount you must withdraw each year but you can only withdraw up to 10% of the account balance (at 1 July). No lump sum withdrawals are allowed.

What is my preservation age?

Your preservation age is generally the date from which you can access your superannuation benefits and depends upon your date of birth.

Date of birth Preservation Age
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964 59
After 30 June 1964 60

How are transition to retirement pensions taxed?

Transition to retirement pensions are taxed the same as regular superannuation income streams.

If you are under age 60, the taxable part of your pension will be taxed at your marginal rate, but you receive a 15% tax offset if your pension is paid from a taxed source*.

However, once you reach 60, your pension is tax-free if paid from a taxed source*.

  • Most people belong to a taxed superannuation fund. Some government superannuation funds may be untaxed and you will pay higher tax on pensions.

Can you still contribute to superannuation?

As long as you are eligible to contribute, you and your employer can still contribute to superannuation for your benefit. In any case, your employer’s usual superannuation guarantee obligations would still apply. You need to have an accumulation account to pay these amounts into.

Is a transition to retirement pension right for you?

Transition to retirement pensions can provide you with flexibility in the years leading up to your retirement and can help to boost your retirement savings in some circumstances.

People who might find the transition to retirement pensions attractive include those who:

  • have reduced working hours from full-time to part-time, eg down to three days per week. The reduced salary can be topped up with income from the transition to retirement pension
  • are able to salary sacrifice to superannuation – the outcome of combining the transition to retirement pension with salary sacrifice can be a greater build-up of superannuation savings by the time you reach actual retirement

The transition to retirement rules and associated strategies can be very complicated. It is recommended that you seek expert advice from your financial adviser before deciding if this type of income stream and strategy is right for you.

Want a Superannuation Review or are you just looking for an adviser that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options. Do it! make 2016 the year to get organised or it will be 2026 before you know it.

Please consider passing on this article to family or friends. Pay it forward!

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557

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.

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