01st Jul, 2021
Would you like to hold a wine collection, artworks, or a classic car in your self managed superannuation fund (SMSF)? Well, you can if you follow some strict rules.
Firstly, the investment in collectibles or personal use assets must be for genuine retirement purposes and not to provide any present day benefit to either the members of the SMSF or related parties. Secondly, the assets cannot be used by members or related parties in any capacity. Thirdly, the asset must be insured in the fund’s name within seven days of acquisition. All of these requirements, plus other rules, need to be met to avoid falling afoul of super rules.
This means that whatever collectable or personal use asset your SMSF purchases, it can’t be used by members or related parties in any capacity. Consider a classic car: if it is owned by the SMSF as an investment, it cannot be driven by a member or any related party for any reason. This holds true even if the only reason for driving the car is to maintain it or to perform restoration work.
The rules also mean that any collectable or personal use asset owned by your SMSF can’t be stored at the private residence of any member or related party.
However, the asset can be stored – not displayed – in non-private-residence premises owned by a related party. For example, an artwork can’t be displayed in the business premises of a related party where it would be visible to clients and employees, but it could be stored in a cupboard. It could also be leased to unrelated parties on arm’s length terms.
The ability to insure must also be considered where your SMSF is investing in collectables or personal use assets. The items must be insured within seven days, under either separate policies or one collective policy. The owner and beneficiary of the policy must be the SMSF itself. If the SMSF has already made the investment but cannot to obtain insurance, the ATO must be notified.
17th Nov, 2020
The ATO has advised that it will not apply a penalty for self managed super fund (SMSF) trustees that have difficulty obtaining evidence to support market valuations of assets due to COVID-19.
SMSF trustees are required to provide objective and supportable evidence to their auditor each year to establish that assets of the fund are valued at market value.
During the 2020 and 2021 financial years, the ATO will not apply a penalty if it is satisfied that the difficulty in obtaining valuation evidence is due to COVID-19. Instead, the ATO will send the SMSF trustee a letter advising them to ensure they comply with the ATO’s valuation guidelines and have supporting valuation evidence by the time of their next audit if possible. However, the ATO warns that repeated contraventions of the valuation evidence requirements could lead to future penalties.
11th Apr, 2020
The ATO’s COVID-19 frequently asked questions (FAQ) is a resource tool for people and businesses in the community who need clarifications in relation to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The FAQ is broken into common questions for individuals, employers, businesses (including internationals) and self managed superannuation funds (SMSFs).
Common questions centre around issues relating to the nationwide shutdown – late or deferring payment obligations; deductibles from working from home; residence status due to travel restrictions; GST and FBT impacts from cancellations; and SMSF losses and strategies.
12th Feb, 2020
On 20 January 2020 the ATO announced an extension of the tax assistance package for people impacted by the 2019–2020 bushfires in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.
Commissioner of Taxation Mr Chris Jordan said the 3.5 million businesses, individuals and self managed super funds (SMSFs) in the impacted local government areas will have until 28 May 2020 to lodge and pay BAS and income tax returns. This additional time is on top of the two-month extension previously granted.
Additionally, the ATO said it will fast-track any refunds that are due to taxpayers in the impacted regions. For example, businesses expecting a refund as a result of GST credits due to large purchases to replace stock are encouraged to lodge their activity statements at the first opportunity. The ATO will also remit any interest and penalties applied to tax debts since the commencement of the bushfires.
12th Feb, 2020
To be eligible for superannuation fund tax concessions, self managed super funds (SMSFs) must be maintained for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits to members. This is known as the sole purpose test. Failing the test could expose trustees to civil and criminal penalties in addition to the SMSF losing concessional tax treatment.
Previously, it was thought that any benefit provided directly or indirectly to members or related parties of an SMSF from an investment would contravene the sole purpose test. However, a recent Full Federal Court decision will provide some flexibility to trustees on certain investments. The Court decided that an SMSF investment in a fund to acquire a fraction interest in a property to be leased at market rent to the member’s daughter did not breach the sole purpose test.
While the Full Court found the SMSF had not breached the sole purpose test, it ultimately ruled against the trustee, finding that the investment was an in-house asset and breached the 5% limit. Crucially, the ATO warned it may still apply compliance resources to scrutinise whether an SMSF investment in fractional property investments contravenes other legal requirements.
29th Oct, 2019
SMSFs can be a great option for building retirement savings, but they may not be suitable for everyone. Before you jump in, make sure you understand the differences between SMSFs and other types of funds to help you make an informed decision. Here are a few issues to consider.
While public offer funds are managed by professional licensed trustees, for SMSFs the management responsibility lies with the members. Every SMSF member must be a trustee of the fund (or, if the trustee is a company, a director of that company). This is an advantage if you want full control over how your super is invested and managed, but it means the members are responsible for complying with all superannuation laws and regulations – and administrative penalties can apply for non-compliance.
Fees charged by public offer funds vary, but they are generally charged as a percentage of the member’s account balance. Therefore, the higher your balance, the more fees you’ll pay.
SMSF costs tend to be more fixed. As well as paying establishment costs and an annual supervisory levy, SMSFs must hire an independent auditor annually. Most SMSFs also need professional assistance, such as accounting services, financial advice, administration services and asset valuations. An SMSF can sometimes be more expensive than a public offer fund.
A major benefit of SMSFs is that the member-trustees have full control over investment choices. This means you can invest in specific assets, including direct property, that wouldn’t be possible in a public offer fund. SMSFs can also take advantage of gearing strategies by borrowing to buy property or even shares through a special “limited recourse” borrowing arrangement. However, with control comes responsibility. SMSF trustees must create and regularly update an “investment strategy” that specifically addresses things like risk, liquidity and diversification.