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  • Non-arm's length income

    The factors that you need to consider when deciding whether a transaction is at arm's length or non-arm's length depend on whether the income is:

    These factors are discussed in the following sections.

    Complying SMSFs do not include non-arm's length income at A to T in section B. Instead they include it at:

    For example, non-arm's length unfranked dividends are included at U1 Net non-arm's length private company dividends instead of at J Unfranked dividend amount.

    Non-complying SMSFs do not need to separate their non-arm's length income from their arm's length income. They include both arm's length and non-arm's length income at A to T.

    Private company dividends that are non-arm's length income

    A dividend paid by a private company, or ordinary income or statutory income reasonably attributable to such a dividend, is non-arm's length income unless the amount is consistent with an arm’s length dealing.

    To decide whether the amount is consistent with an arm’s length dealing, have regard to:

    • the value of the shares held by the SMSF in the company
    • the cost to the SMSF of the shares on which the dividends were paid
    • the dividend rate on those shares
    • whether dividends have been paid on other shares in the company (and at what rate)
    • whether the company has issued shares in lieu of dividends to the SMSF and the circumstances of the issue, and
    • any other relevant matters.

    Consider any connection between the private company and the SMSF.

    If the SMSF received non-arm's length private company dividends, include it at:

    • U1 Net non-arm's length private company dividends if the SMSF is complying
    • the appropriate question A to T (as if it were arm's length income) if the SMSF is non-complying.

    For more information about determining whether income is non-arm's length income, see:

    Trust distributions that are non-arm's length income

    A distribution from a trust is non-arm's length income of a complying SMSF if:

    • the SMSF does not have a fixed entitlement to income from the trust (generally discretionary trusts) (see subsection 295-550(4) of the ITAA 1997), or
    • the SMSF has a fixed entitlement to income from the trust (generally unit trusts), which is derived under a scheme where the parties were not dealing with each other at arm's length, and either or both of the following apply (see subsection 295-550(5) of the ITAA 1997)    
      • the income is greater than might have been expected had the parties been dealing with each other at arm’s length in relation to the scheme
      • the loss, outgoing or expenditure (either revenue or capital in nature) incurred in acquiring the entitlement, or in gaining or producing that income, is less than (including a nil amount) what might have been expected had the parties been dealing with each other at arm's length in relation to the scheme.
       

    If the SMSF received non-arm's length trust distributions, include it at:

    • U2 Net non-arm's length trust distributions if the SMSF is complying
    • M Gross trust distributions (as if it were arm's length income) if the SMSF is non-complying.

    For more information, see:

    Legislation

    Section 295-550 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

    Identifying other types of income that are non-arm's length

    Other types of income (that is, income that is not a private company dividend or distribution from a trust) are non-arm's length income if the income is derived under a scheme where

    • the parties were not dealing with each other at arm's length, and
    • either or both of the following apply    
      • the income is greater than might have been expected had the parties been dealing with each other at arm’s length in relation to the scheme
      • the loss, outgoing or expenditure (either revenue or capital in nature) incurred in gaining or producing the income is less than (including a nil amount) what might have been expected had the parties been dealing with each other at arm's length in relation to the scheme.
       

    Whether income is non-arm's length income depends on all of the circumstances of the relationship including the return on the investment and the commercial risks undertaken by the SMSF. Other non-arm's length income may include, for example:

    • interest on loans
    • rent from property
    • profit on the sale of assets
    • net capital gains.

    If the SMSF received non-arm's length income that is not a private company dividend or a trust distribution, include it at:

    • U3 Net other non-arm's length income if the SMSF is complying
    • the appropriate question A to T (as if it were arm's length income) if the SMSF is non-complying.

    For more information, see:

    Legislation

    Section 295-550 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997

    Tax treatment of cryptocurrencies

    • If you acquired cryptocurrency as an investment or disposed of it in 2020–21, you may have to pay capital gains tax on the disposal. For more information, see Tax treatment of cryptocurrencies.
    • If you acquired or disposed of cryptocurrency in the ordinary course of your business in 2020–21, the funds or property you receive through the acquisition and disposal are likely to be ordinary assessable income. For more information, see Tax treatment of cryptocurrencies.
    Last modified: 27 May 2021QC 64911