Wed 24 Jan, 2018
5 Things You Can Buy With Your Superfund, and 5 Things You Certainly Can’t
Commencing a self-managed superfund gives you total control over what investments your superfund buys. That means, if you’re a real estate aficionado, you’re free to grow your wealth with property investments. The same goes for ethical investors – an SMSF gives you the freedom to invest in whatever you like. The main rule being that your investments’ sole purpose must be to grow the value of your superfund for retirement. What would you buy with your fund balance if you had the freedom to manage it yourself?
Here’s 5 things you can buy, and 5 things that don’t quite hit the mark:
5 Things Your SMSF Can Buy
An investment property
Yep, you can use your superfund to get into that tough property market. You can use your fund to buy a property outright, or put down a loan and borrow to bridge the gap – the technical term is a Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangement. The sole purpose of buying the property must be to grow your fund’s wealth, so you must rent it out to the general market and invest the rental income back into your fund. You can’t vacation in the property, live in it yourself, or rent it out to anyone you know.
A commercial premises for your business
Your fund can buy commercial property, too, but in this case you can use it for your own business operations. The key thing to understand here, is that you are not buying the premises – your fund is. As such you must lease it from yourself at an ‘arm’s length’ arrangement, by paying rent at market value.
A retirement home
Alright, we said no loopholes. But this is sort of a mini loophole, if you choose to see it that way. Your fund can buy a residential property as normal, and rent it out to generate income to your superfund. When you reach retirement, you can buy the property from your fund – remember, you didn’t buy it, your fund did. That does mean you’ll still have to pay transfer taxes and duties
– like stamp duty.
Yes, your fund can buy a business. Whether you want to buy a law firm or a dog grooming centre, technically the ATO says you can. But, as with every investment – and we’re sorry for sounding like a broken record here – it must meet the sole purpose test. If your business provides any other value to you other than generating income for retirement, it’s a no no. Play your cards right and you could enjoy some tax benefits and build income for your retirement pot, but blurring the lines of sole purpose could prove problematic. Things like overdrafts may also get complicated.
Bucket-Loads of Kombucha
Alright not exactly. But you can buy shares in business of your choice. While a regular superfund invests your fund in shares of their choice, an SMSF lets you invest in whatever businesses you want. Whether you think Kombucha is the next big money-maker or you’ve dreamt of owning a slice of the Tim Tam fortune since you were a biccie-loving tot, with your SMSF you can go nuts.
5 Things Your SMSF Can’t Buy
A sweet ride
Ok, so it’s no secret that cars tend to plummet in value the second you put your foot on the accelerator. But, even if you found a sweet vintage ride that was going to appreciate in value, you can’t really buy it with your superfund. In theory, it is an investment – yes. But you’d have a rough time convincing the ATO that your purchase was for the sole intention of growing your superfund. You would have to rent the car out in order to generate income, and you – or anyone you know – would be prohibited from driving it, even for maintenance purposes. So, while you technically could, we’ll bet you the hands-off approach wasn’t exactly what you had in mind.
A lifetime supply of Vegemite
You can’t have your Vegemite on toast and eat it too. Unless you could prove that there was going to be a global shortage of Vegemite very soon, and buying out the nation’s stocks was going to make you very rich, it’s a no no from the ATO. Oh, and even if that happens (let’s hope it doesn’t!), you couldn’t eat it yourself.
Your first home
Before you ride your superfund balance all the way to the bank, remember that you can’t live in a property you buy with your superfund – even if you paid to rent it out. There are no loopholes here either, unfortunately. You can’t sublet with a friend, as you cannot lease the property to anybody connected in any way with any members of the fund.
A handy tip: don’t try to beat the ATO. It won’t end well.
A home for a friend or relative
Like we said, no loopholes here. You can’t buy a property for your partner, children, parents or friends with your superfund. If your tenants are found to be connected to a fund member in any way, you could end up in hot water.
Additions to your stamp collection
Whether you collect stamps, Beanie Kids, model helicopters, sporting memorabilia or garbage from your favourite footy player’s bins, you can’t really add to your collection with your superfund. The same rules apply with all investments – the sole purpose must be to grow the value of your superfund. In short, you can’t get any enjoyment from your investments! It sounds tough, but that’s really the essence of it. You can’t use your superfund to transform yourself into the Barefoot Investor. Reserve those investments for your regular income.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how a self-managed superfund can work for you,
contact Squirrel Super now.