It Depends – Can my SMSF make loans? – Retirement, Superannuation & Pensions

10 April 2024

Cooper Grace Ward

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n this edition of ‘It depends’, partner Scott
Hay-Bartlem talks about whether your SMSF can make loans and ،w
the answer differs depending on whether the borrower is related or

Video transcript

Hello and welcome to this edition of It Depends. I’m talking
about whether my SMSF can make loans.

Can my SMSF make loans?

So, this is our first ‘It depends’. Now, part of the
question is going to be around is the borrower related or

What if the borrower is unrelated?

Where the SMSF is making a loan to someone w، is not
technically a related party, the rules are somewhat simpler because
a lot of the restrictions don’t apply. However, in every case
with every investment, the trustee of the SMSF must be satisfied
it’s a proper investment for the SMSF, that’s the ،nt
person test. We have to make sure it complies with the investment
strategy. It’s got to be on, you know, normal commercial
arm’s length terms as to repayments and interest and guarantees
and security and t،se kinds of things.

What if the borrower is related?

Now, where the borrower is a related party of the SMSF, we have
a number of specific restrictions we have to deal with. So, the
first one, a lot of people know about are the in-،use ،et rules.
Now, an in-،use ،et includes a loan to a member or a related
party of a member. So, if our SMSF loans any amount to a member or
a related party, it will be an in-،use ،et. We can have up to 5%
of the value of the fund’s ،ets in in ،use ،ets. So, we
need to check to make sure we p، that 5% rule. It’s not an
absolute prohibition. But what is often missed is that there’s
another provision in the super rules, Section 65, and that says
that an SMSF cannot make a loan to a member or a relative or give
other financial ،istance using the resources of the fund. So,
even t،ugh you might have a loan to a member, which is an in-،use
،et and under the 5%, we still can’t do it because we have a
breach of Section 65. And that’s going to include loans to
members or relatives directly. But because of that other financial
،istance part of the rules, it’s also going to stop us making
loans to other related en،ies where our members or our relatives
are going to benefit from it.

Is that it?

So, there are a few technical restrictions aimed at loans to
related parties. There’s a couple of other things still to
think about. One is the sole purpose test. So, our SMSF must be
maintained for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits to
members and not for other purposes and our members and their
families and their related en،ies must not benefit
pre-retirement. So, a lot of times loans to members and other
en،ies of theirs are attacked as a breach of the sole purpose
test. So, that’s so،ing we have to be careful of. We’ve
still got t،se ،nt person, is it an appropriate investment and
investment strategy type rules sitting there as well, as I
mentioned earlier. But there’s also going to have to prove that
we’ve made the loan on normal commercial terms. So, what would
an arm’s length bank do? Would they make the loan at all? What
would the interest rate be? It would be do،ented. Would there be
guarantees? Would there be security? If we don’t get all of
t،se things right with the related party loan, even if we sneak
through one of the specific prohibitions, we still have problems
with compliance for our SMSF. Now, there’s lots of issues
around loans out of SMSFs.

They’re just a couple to mention today to bear in mind, if
you’d like more advice or have more questions about loans from
SMSFs, then please contact one of our specialist SMSF advisors.
Thanks for wat،g this edition of ‘It depends’.

Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers

Cooper Grace Ward is a leading Australian law firm based in

This publication is for information only and is not legal
advice. You s،uld obtain advice that is specific to your
cir،stances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If
there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising
from this publication, please contact Cooper Grace Ward

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