Finally - Clarity on Related Party Finance for Super Borrowings

by Megan Kelly Published

There has been a lot of confusion as to the ATO’s view on related party lending for a super fund borrowing arrangement. The ATO have offered us some clarity by releasing a Practical Compliance Guideline offering us some “Safe Harbour” related party loan terms.


It was always clear that a super fund could borrow from a related party, such as you, to finance a limited recourse borrowing arrangement. Why not be the bank if you don’t need the bank. However the confusion arose as to on what terms a related party loan needed to be on.

The ATO compounded this confusion by releasing a one off opinion which accepted 0% interest rates for related party loans. This opinion was written in response to a question asked considering only one small section of the super legislation. The opinion was never intended to represent the ATOs view on all areas of the super legislation.

At businessDEPOT we always believed that a 0% interest rate resulted in further issues for the super fund.

In an attempt to rectify this confusion, the ATO eventually issued a further 2 interpretive decisions in December 2014. These rulings confirmed that a related party loan term with generous terms would result in non-arm’s length income.


All this meant, that if you had loaned money to your super fund and the loan terms were not on arms-length basis, you would be taxed at 47% on all income received from the asset. [i.e. All rental income from a property, and ultimately the property when it is sold by your fund].

The key problem areas that were normally a problem were:

  1. 0% or discounted interest rates
  2. 100% or Higher LVRs than a bank would offer
  3. Unusual repayment terms

But this still left us with the burning question as to what would the ATO accept as arms-length terms?


To offer clarity the ATO released a Practical Compliance Guideline yesterday.

In summary, the ATO has set the following benchmark loan terms for related party lending to a super fund to purchase a property:

Interest rate5.75% for 2015/2016 FY
Term of Loan15 years with any refinancing to be limited to an overall 15 year loan term.
Maximum Loan to Value Ration [LVR]70%
SecurityA registered mortgage
Personal guaranteeNot required
Repayment termsMonthly repayments on a principal and interest basis (no interest only)
Loan AgreementsMust be written and executed

The ATO have also released guidance for lending on other assets such as Listed Equities. It is also notable that private share or unit trust investments are not included in any of the safe harbours.

Where you have loan terms or assets outside the safe harbours then it is still possible to apply for a ruling from the ATO on the arrangement. In doing so, it would be advisable to benchmark the loan terms considered against what an actual bank might lend and show evidence of this.


If you have an existing related party loan to your super fund and you fall outside the above Safe Harbours, you have a number of options available to bring your loan in line before 30 June 2016:

  1. Adjust the loan terms to meet the guidelines
  2. Refinance to an arms-length lender
  3. Pay out the borrowing

If your fund cannot comply with the ATO safe harbour requirements before the 30 June 2016 deadline, you can write to the ATO to discuss your particular circumstances.

If you are our client and have an existing related party loan, we will be in contact with you in the coming days to discuss your options and confirm the compliance of your loan.

General Advice Warning:

Information provided on this website is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate. Individuals must not rely on this information to make a financial or investment decision. Before making any decision, we recommend you consult a financial adviser to take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation and individual needs.

Depot Superannuation Pty Ltd is a corporate authorised representative (No 1240831) of Hunter Green Pty Ltd AFSL 225962.

Megan Kelly
read more by Megan Kelly

Megan’s skills in self-managed super to provide both the accounting and strategic advice solutions for clients. Her many years working with business owners on their SMSFs has meant that she understands the value of including their superannuation in a business owners overall financial plan.

Her passion is to assist client’s in taking control of their future, through supporting them in making decisions in relation to the self-managed fund and their retirement. Megan regularly provides advice in relation to investment structuring, SIS compliance as well as pension and retirement planning.

Megan has also provided specialist support in relation to estate planning, family law disputes and compliance issues. She is a member of the SMSF Association Queensland Community, and a valued member of the network of SMSF specialists.

Megan Kelly is an authorised representative [No. 1240833] of Hunter Green Pty Ltd AFSL 225962. Your Adviser may offer you services through Depot Superannuation Pty Ltd which is a separate business. Although the same Adviser may offer you services under the above businesses, each business is solely and separately responsible for the advice they each provide. In particular, Hunter Green is only responsible for the financial planning services provided by Megan Kelly.

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