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Why unwind your LRBA when you no longer have to? There are good reasons.

21/08/2015

An instrument by the ATO last year means that the fund’s interest in the bare (holding) trust will not become an in-house asset merely because the loan has been repaid.  Accordingly it is no longer critical to transfer the property to the fund in order to comply with the in-house asset rules.
 
In light of this, many trustees decide to do nothing and leave the property in the name of the holding trustee until it is either sold to a third party or eventually transferred to the fund. However we recommend that the trust be unwound and title to the property be transferred to the fund sooner rather than later.

And this why.

Financial reasons

While keeping the property in the holding trust may seem the cheapest option, this may not remain true in the long run.  

Let’s not forget that there are ongoing costs of maintaining the holding trust and the corporate holding trustee.  For example the ASIC’s annual fee for the corporate holding trustee remains payable until the company is de-registered (and it is critical that this does not happen until after the transfer to the fund is registered). The current ASIC annual fee is $246 for a standard company.  

It may also be necessary to prepare financial statements each year for the holding trust and/or the holding trustee.

There is no need to worry about stamp duty: provided the transaction was properly set up from the outset (i.e. the fund paid for all of the purchase money, including the deposit) only nominal stamp duty is payable on the transfer from the holding trustee to the fund trustee. For example, in New South Wales stamp duty is $50 and in Victoria it is exempt from duty.  

While there are other associated costs for the preparation of the necessary documentation to record the termination of the trust and implement the transaction, the long term savings are likely to outweigh these costs.

Let us illustrate this: the fee for our unwinding suite of documents is $825 (inc GST) with a further $495 (inc GST) in fees if trustees want Townsends Business & Corporate Lawyers to attend to the stamping and registration of the transfer for them.  Stamp duty and government charges will be approximately another $380 (no GST).  All up the transfer is likely to cost about $1,700, so if trustees intend to hold the asset for more than say 3 or 4 years it could be cheaper to transfer it to the fund than to continue to pay for the upkeep of the holding trustee and trust. Different fees apply from the duties and titles offices depending upon where the property is located.

Less hassle if you do it now

If the fund is going to transfer the property into the name of the fund trustee anyway, why wait? Postponing the transfer only increases the risk of losing or forgetting evidence which is crucial to the application for concessional stamp duty, thereby jeopardising its assessment by the local Duties Office.  Instead, the trustee should start the process while everything is easily available or accessible.

Dealing with the property  

Transferring the property to the fund means the trustee can change or improve the property or do an in-specie transfer to members more easily.

Selling the property

If the holding trustee is to sell the property directly to a third party, compliance documents should be prepared to show the holding trustee is acting at the direction of the fund trustee.  Alternatively, if the property has already been sold, it may be wise to have documents prepared confirming the winding up of the trust for audit purposes.

If you require assistance to transfer property back to the fund following repayment of a loan or guidance on the current requirements please contact our SUPERCentral helpdesk on (02) 8296 6266 or email info@supercentral.com.au.