The Government has released the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2015 Measures No. 2) Bill 2015 which, if passed in its current form, will provide for “look through” tax treatment for trusts set up for limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBA).
In effect, this means that, from a tax law perspective (except for certain limited exceptions), the asset of the LRBA trust will be deemed to be held by the super fund and the actions of the trustee of the LRBA trust in relation to the asset will be deemed to be the actions of the trustee of the super fund. This will reduce adverse tax consequences (eg capital gains tax on collapsing the trust, losses being trapped in the trust and difficulties of passing franking credits) and result in a reduction to tax administration (eg the trust will not require a TFN or be required to prepare a tax return). It also means that, from a tax law perspective, super funds no longer need a bare trust for a LRBA in order to achieve a look through approach.
Unfortunately, the Government has not extended this look through approach to GST nor will it apply for the purposes of the State and Territory duty and land tax laws. In addition, the amendments under the Bill will not change the trustee’s obligations under trust law. As a result, it is still recommended that LRBA trusts be bare trusts.
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