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SMSF Loan Arrangements that Contravene Super Laws. SCAM ALERT


With low interest rates and a struggling economy people are often tempted by early release or get rich quick schemes that are promoted on glossy brochures and may look genuine but can destroy your retirement if they go wrong.

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This is an excerpt from a speech by Matthew Bambrick, the ATO’s Assistant Commissioner for SMSF Segment of Superannuation to the Tax Institute.

SMSF loan arrangements that contravene super laws are also on our radar at the moment. We’re concerned that some organisations are promoting arrangements where SMSF assets provide members with a current-day benefit using vehicles such as pooled investment trusts. Put simply, an organisation invites SMSF members to invest their fund’s assets in a pooled investment trust type of product where the scheme operator draws a commission and if this condition is met, monies from the trust can be accessed as a loan by the fund’s members.

This is a simple form of such an arrangement but there are variations such as offering fund members’ relatives an opportunity to apply for a partial mortgage to cover the value of an asset and then invite their family to use their SMSF benefits to invest in a pooled investment trust. Their relatives can then be granted a second mortgage to further finance their investment.

We encourage anyone who has been approached to invest their SMSF monies into a trust, company or investment product and then offered some or all of that money back as a loan, to seek independent, professional advice before proceeding.

Keep an eye on our website as we’ll be publishing more information about these arrangements in a future edition of SMSF News

So we are back to the basic advice that if it seems to good to be true then it is very likely to be a scam or carry high risk of penalties and drawing the ire of the ATO.

If in doubt contact a SMSF Specialist member of the SMSF Association in your local area or drop me a line with some detail for an initial feedback. We can usually easily spot a scam

I will also be updating readers on any scams or “arrangements” that they should be aware of. If it sounds too good to be true then Google the promoters and search for “complaint” “alert” “scam” associated with that name.

The full transcript of the speech covering a number of relevant issues is available here

Are you looking for an advisor 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.

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.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Herd Mentality and Bubbles – Be Careful When Following the Crowd


Whether you are a long-term investor or an opportunist, many investors find comfort in knowing that many others are investing the same way they are and they get caught up in the media hype on a certain sector. Think of the Dot Com craze in the late 90’s when many invested in this sector even though they did not understand it well and as prices rose even the hesitant among investors poured more money in for fear of missing out or FOMO as I prefer to term it. A good adviser should help you identify the risk of these fads and keep you well diversified.

Here is a good educational video from Franklin Templeton Investments on the subject.

I believe that you always need to do your own research on an investment and then cross check that with others. Be prepared to listen to those who may seem wacky, over optimistic or pessimistic before making your decisions. A good Self Managed Super Fund advisor should be able to get you a selection of research from different sources to stress test any investment.

Bubble’s go back a long time, even centuries and while we are weary of each investment that crashes we rarely learn enough to avoid the next one. From my personal collection is one of my favourite prints called Gekko’s Tulip Mania which you may have seen in the movie Wall Street 2. I have it hanging on my office wall as a constant reminder! You can read more on this bubble at Wikipedia – Tulip Mania

 “This is the greatest bubble story of all time… they call it the Tulip Mania.” - Gordon Gekko

“This is the greatest bubble story of all time… they call it the Tulip Mania.”
– Gordon Gekko

For those looking for a truly Australian history of bubbles I would recommend reading a 2003 paper by the John Simon and published by the RBA available free online called Three Australian Asset-price Bubbles

Are you looking for an advisor 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.

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.

 

SMSF Using an Unrelated Unit Trust for Property Development


Following on from my previous article How a SMSF can Purchase a Property with a Related Party – Using a 13.22c Trust , another strategy for those wishing to engage in property development with their SMSF involvement is for the fund trustee to invest in a unit trust that holds the development land / existing property by subscribing for units in the unit trust with partners so that no related entity group owns more than 50% of the units in the trust.

Propert Development

Where the fund trustee invests in an unrelated trust the trustee for the unit trust is not required to comply with the requirements of regulation 13.22C of the SIS Regulations. This means that the trustee for the unit trust can borrow to fund the land development without the fund trustee breaching the in-house asset rules in s71 of the SIS Act.

To make it very clear the unit trust will be unrelated if the fund trustee and its associates do not:

  • exercise Sufficient Influence; or
  • have a fixed entitlement to more than 50% of the income and capital of the unit trust; or
  • have the power to remove or appoint the trustee for the unit trust.

So each SMSF or related group of investors can own exactly 50% in combination between them and still maintain an unrelated trust and meet the above requirements.

Keep it simple as it  is important that the units in the unit trust carry equal rights to income and capital so that you do not also trigger the non arm’s length income provisions under s295-550 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (1997 Act).

The diagram below shows 2 unrelated Self Managed Superannuation Funds investing in a unit trust equally (50/50) to carry out a property development. One of the SMSFs uses as related party loan to fund their purchase of the units. Remember it is only the units that are offered as security not the property in the trust.

Unrelated Unit Trust

Each SMSF contributes $350,000 and the property is developed for a total cost of $700,000 and sold for $1m. The$300,000 profit flow back through the Unit Trust to the unit holders equally.

Sufficient Influence

Where two unrelated SMSFs each hold 50% of the units in the unit trust, it is important that the trust management decisions are decided on a 50/50 basis. It should be very clear from documentation and minutes of the trust that decisions are made jointly.

How to avoid distributions to the SMSF being treated as non-arm’s length income?

Where the SMSF invests by way of a unit trust structure, any income received by the fund trustee may be treated as non arm’s length income and taxed at 47% under s295-550(5) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (1997 Act), where:

  • the parties are not dealing at arm’s length terms; and
  • the fund trustee receives an amount it would not otherwise have received if the parties were dealing on arm’s length terms.

Similarly, income the SMSF derives as a beneficiary of the trust, other than because of a fixed entitlement to income, will be treated as non arm’s length income and taxed at 47%.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that the unit trust is a fixed trust, meaning that the entitlement of unit holders to receive income and/or capital from the unit trust is fixed and indefeasible. However, even with a fixed trust it is necessary for the income to be no more than the income that would have been derived if the parties were dealing with each other at arms-length (s295-550(5)).

Managing powers of trustee appointment or removal

Again to avoid falling foul of the legislation, the constitution of the trustee company of the unit trust should be designed to ensure that the SMSF trustee and/or its associates do not have the power to control the trustee by effectively having the power to appoint and remove the trustee for the unit trust by reason that they hold a majority of the shares in the trustee. One trap is a constitution that allows the chairperson to have a casting vote where the chairperson is a SMSF Trustee or representative of the SMSF trustee.

Documentation

When the transaction is structured by way of an unrelated unit trust arrangement, the following documents should be prepared by an experienced legal expert (not off the shelf):

  • purpose specific unit trust deed and accompanying minutes of meeting; and
  • unit holders’ agreement all ensuring none of the requirements breached..

Gradual acquisitions of more units by the SMSF

Where a fund trustee invests in an unrelated unit trust the fund trustee may acquire the units held by the other party over time, subject to complying with the provisions of the SIS Act and keeping their related entity group to less than 50% of the overall trust units.  Keep in mind that where the unit trust is land rich, there may be a corresponding stamp duty liability and there may be capital gains tax implications for the initial owner as well as valuation fees at each transaction date.

Remember the Sole Purpose Test

In the zest for undertaking any strategy I always remind clients about the reason for undertaking any investment. Your aim should be to provide for a better retirement. If that is not the core purpose then you are breaching the sole purpose test and should reconsider the whole strategy. Also you must review or amend your fund’s investment strategy to ensure this investment falsl within it’s guidelines..

Important information (emphasised for use of this material):

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, tax and legal advice suitable to your circumstances to avoid a decision that is not appropriate. Any reference to your actual circumstances is coincidental. Magnitude, Verante and its representatives receive fees from the provision of financial advice.

Are you looking for an advisor 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.

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.

Image courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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