SMSF trustees have until 31 January 2017 to review their limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs) to ensure they are consistent with an arm’s length dealing, or alternatively brought to an end if they are not.
The Tax Office recently provided further guidance to SMSF trustees on when the non-arm’s length income (NALI) provisions apply to an SMSF’s LRBA in their Practical Compliance Guideline (PCG 2016/5) and Taxation Determination (TD 2016/16).
When determining whether the NALI provisions apply, SMSF trustees must recognise it is a two-step process. First, it needs to be determined whether:
1. The terms of the LRBA are consistent with the safe harbours in PCG 2016/5
2. The SMSF trustee can otherwise demonstrate that they are arm’s length.
If the borrowing arrangement is on arm’s length then SMSF trustees do not have to consider TD 2016/16 and the ATO will not apply the NALI provisions.
However, trustees with an LRBA on terms that are non-arm’s length will need to consider TD 2016/16. Trustees will need to consider the second limb of the NALI provisions and whether or not the income the fund obtains under the arrangement is greater than it would otherwise have been.
SMSF trustees should be aware that TD 2016/16 is not an alternative to the safe harbours set out in PCG 2016/5 and only applies if borrowing terms of an LRBA are non-arm’s length.