As SMSF trustees review their investment options for the year ahead, one development they need to consider is the recent changes limited recourse borrowing arrangements may make borrowing a less popular option self-managed super funds.
The outstanding balance of borrowings of self-managed superannuation funds will, in certain circumstances, have to be counted as part of the SMSF’s total superannuation balance.
Under a provision included in Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No.1) Bill 2019, an individual SMSF member’s balance may be increased by their share of the outstanding balance of a limited recourse borrowing arrangement commenced after 1 July 2018.
The intention of the legislation is to more accurately reflect the overall value of the assets that support the individual’s superannuation interests.
According to the most recent Australian Taxation Office SMSF figures, total lending to SMSFs through LRBAs is $43.1 billion, which has been fairly steady over the past couple of years. LRBAs represent 6 per cent of total LRBA assets.
The impact of this change is that it may make borrowing a less popular option for SMSF members who are close to their $1.6 million transfer balance cap – the amount that can be held in a superannuation pension to produce tax-free income.
It may also limit, or eliminate, the opportunity for SMSF members to make non-concessional contributions. This is because once a fund member’s total super balance reaches $1.6 million they can no longer make non-concessional contributions.
The rule change applies very specifically – to members who have “satisfied a condition of release with a nil cashing restriction” or those whose interests “are supported by assets that are subject to a limited recourse borrowing arrangement between the SMSF and its associate.”
Members who have satisfied a condition of release have been targeted because of the concern that they might seek to avoid balance problems by withdrawing money from their account and using it to set up an LRBA.
Borrowing arrangements with associates have been targeted because of the risk of borrowings being established on non-commercial terms.