Jess and Pete of Trekk Mt Isa discusses about acquiring collectibles inside SMSF.
September 19, 2022 By Eryan Haddon

Acquiring collectibles inside your SMSF

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Clients with self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) often ask what assets the SMSF can acquire.

‘Why’?

The golden rule for acquiring assets inside your SMSF is why? To be compliant, your fund must be maintained for the sole purpose of providing retirement benefits to members, or to their dependants if a member dies before retirement. The sole purpose test (section 62 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993), is your starting point. If the collectible you are looking to acquire does not fulfil this purpose, then you have an immediate problem.

Let’s assume you are looking to acquire vintage cars. The question to ask is, is the acquisition a viable investment or simply a desire of the members to own vintage cars? Does the investment stack up relative to other forms of investment to build/protect the retirement savings of members?

The sole purpose test extends to how the collectible is managed once acquired. Given the asset is for the sole purpose of the member’s retirement benefits, the members (or their associates) cannot use or enjoy the asset in any way. This means:

  • Storage of the collectible cannot be at the trustee’s residence or displayed at their office. The ATO says, “You can store (but not display) collectibles and personal use assets in premises owned by a related party provided it is not their private residence. They can’t be displayed because this means they are being used by the related party. For example, if your SMSF invests in artwork it can’t be hung on the business premises of a related party where it is visible to clients and employees.”

  • Leasing or use of the collectible can only be undertaken with an unrelated party.

  • The collectible must have its own insurance policy owned by the SMSF (multiple items can be listed on the same policy i.e., wines of different brands). The insurance policy must be in place within 7 days of acquisition.

  • Like all other assets, if a collectible is sold to a related party, then it must be sold at market value. Collectibles also require a qualified independent valuation if sold to a related party.

This means you cannot stay in a holiday home owned by your SMSF, you cannot drive a vehicle owned by the SMSF, and you cannot enjoy artwork held by the SMSF. And, those bottles of Penfolds Grange owned by the SMSF that broke (wink, wink) are likely to trigger an audit as they should have been properly stored in a way that prevents breakage.

Your investment strategy

An SMSF investment strategy should articulate the plan trustees have for a fund and the investments they choose to hold. It should drill down into the reasons why certain assets will be acquired (or sold) and how these choices align with the retirement goals of the members. If your SMSF is considering purchasing collectibles, it is essential that your investment strategy is aligned to these types of investments and articulates why the asset fits within the strategy. This is particularly important if the collectible/s will dominate the types of assets held by the fund, its liquidity, and its diversity.

A common question is, can my SMSF purchase, let’s say artwork, from a member or a related party of the fund? The answer is no. SMSFs are not allowed to purchase assets, other than listed shares and business real property, from related parties. But, the SMSF could transfer the artwork to a member as an in-specie lump sum payment if the member meets a condition of release, or sell the asset to the member but only if the transaction is at arm's length, and an independent valuation confirms the market value of the asset.

Your partner in the world of SMSF

We've got a whole SMSF team who can offer you the expertise in building and managing your own Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF). This includes all the relevant advice on setting up and structures, managing the administration, tax returns, reporting, financial statements and more. SMSF's have been a popular area, but they don't suit everyone - They come with a range of responsibilities, expenses rules and regulations you must comply with. We know it all sounds a bit intimidating, but that's why we are here to help. Get in touch with us now to talk about your SMSF journey. 

 

About Author

Eryan Haddon

Eryan is an Director of Trekk Advisory and operates from our Townsville and Mount Isa offices. She's been in Public Practice for over 20 years because she loves working with business owners to achieve their version of success - whether its more profit, more cash, more time - It's all about being a part of a team and being able to share those 'F*ck yeah!' moments with her clients when we get results that make a difference. Outside of work, you will probably find her getting ready for a game at the netball courts or touch-field (OR in the car driving her two daughters from one sport to the next). Being active and sharing this with her daughters is something special, and she wouldn't have it any other way. Eryan is all about motivating her team, clients and herself - it's about being strong, confident and humble - so she'll often share little nuggets of wisdom. One of her fave pieces of advice is "Stand up for the things that matter, don't settle, don't apologise for who you are . . . Be f*cking brave" - Lisa Messenger and she loves a motivational podcast to get her going; Oprah's Super Soul, Crappy to Happy!

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