We have previously written about the pitfalls and risks of purchasing property in SMSFs and we continue to warn our clients of those. However we should also write about the advantages of this investment strategy as well.
Buy your business premises and rent it back
Probably the greatest perk to buying property in your SMSF is available to business owners. The strategy here is to have your SMSF purchase your business premises and then rent it back to you.
You must ensure that the sale price is at market prices though; hence you can’t exchange the property for less than what a non-related party would pay.
In addition to the above, where the property owned by your SMSF is the property from which you run your own business, superannuation rules require your business to pay a commercial rate of rent to the fund – providing you with a way to accelerate your superannuation savings.
The rent that your business pays into your SMSF will be tax deductible to your business, but more importantly for superannuation purposes, it will not be treated as a superannuation contribution.
Because you are limited as to the amount you can contribute into your SMSF each year, the ability to make tax deductible rent payments into your superannuation fund – without this rent counting towards these limits – enables you to build your retirement benefits quicker and tax efficiently.
Concessional tax on rental income
Where you hold an investment property in your own name, tax will broadly be payable based on your personal rate of tax, which could be as high as 46.5%. Similarly, if you were to hold an investment property through a company, the tax rate is 30%.
Due to the concessional tax rate that applies to superannuation investment earnings, rent received by your SMSF will be taxed at a maximum rate of 15%. And, because certain expenses related to the ownership of the property such as land rates, property maintenance etc will generally be tax deductible to the fund – the effective tax rate may come down even further.
Concessional tax on future capital gains
Special superannuation tax rates also apply to any capital gain made as a result of an increase in the property’s value. As a result, depending on when you decide to sell the property, any capital gain your fund makes on the sale of the property may be completely tax-free.
- If you sell the property while still in the “accumulation” phase, the fund will generally pay CGT of up to 10% on any growth in the property value assuming that the property has been owned for at least 12 months).
- On the other hand, if you decide to sell the property after you have transferred it into the “pension” phase, within your SMSF, any capital gain will be exempt from tax altogether!
Increased purchasing power
Your savings outside the superannuation environment – or even your individual savings within superannuation – may not be sufficient to invest in direct property. Combining your capital with the other members of your SMSF, though, may give you the purchasing power you need to invest.
Depending on your personal circumstances, there could also be other benefits from holding property within your SMSF.
For example, superannuation assets are generally protected from creditors in bankruptcy situations. So, in the unfortunate event that you fall on difficult times, holding property within your SMSF may provide you with some added protection.
Further, if you are a small business owner, superannuation assets are not included when determining your eligibility for the generous small business CGT concessions that apply when you sell your business or retire. By planning ahead, you can ensure that you better qualify for these concessions.
If you would like to know more about purchasing property in your SMSF please contact us.