Inappropriate loans from super funds

The ATO has issued a guide for trustees of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) that asks:


"Has someone asked you to invest your SMSF funds into a trust, company or investment product, and then offered to lend some or all of that money back to you, your company or any entity you control?"

If the answer is 'yes', then it is likely this arrangement contravenes superannuation laws.

What's wrong with this type of arrangement?

The ATO understands that some individuals and organisations are promoting arrangements where SMSF monies are deposited into unit trusts or pooled investment trusts, less a management fee.

This money is then used to obtain a personal or business related mortgage, which results in the SMSF assets being used to provide members with current-day benefits.

That is, the primary purpose of such arrangements is to enable individuals and any associates to use their super savings to provide assistance to members or relatives.

As such, the ATO is currently closely scrutinising these lending arrangements, and it reminds trustees that these arrangements would breach the sole purpose test, as the SMSF is being used for a purpose other than providing retirement benefits for members.