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Benefits of franking credits in a SMSF

Dividend franking turns 30 in 2017. Despite this, many are unfamiliar with the benefits franking credits can bring, especially to SMSFs.

SMSF trustees who invest in Australian shares can benefit from franking credit refunds which can offset the fund’s expenses, such as tax payable or any lump sums. A franking credit, also known as an imputation credit, is the amount of tax paid by a company of the dividend to the SMSF.

Franking credits are particularly beneficial for SMSFs as the tax rate for the fund is 15 per cent, while franking credits can be equal to 30 per cent of the gross dividend – leaving a significant excess to offset any tax payable on the other taxable income earned by the fund.

When the fund is in pension phase, there are even more benefits as the tax rate is reduced to zero per cent. If the franking credits are larger than the SMSFs tax liabilities, the fund will receive a refund for the excess credits.

A company will only distribute franking credits if a SMSF satisfies the holding period rule, where the fund retains the shares “at risk” for at least 45 days, excluding the day your fund acquires or sells its shares. This is extended to at least 90 days for some preference shares.

Posted on 6 December '16 by , under Super.

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Transition to retirement

The transition to retirement (TTR) strategy allows you to access some of your super while you continue to work.

You are able to use the TTR strategy if you are aged 55 to 60. You can use it to supplement your income if you reduce your work hours or boost your super and save on tax while you keep working full time.

  • Starting a TTR pension: To start your TTR pension, transfer some of your super to an account-based pension. You have to keep some money in your super account so that you can continue to receive your employer's compulsory contributions as well as any voluntary contributions you may be making.
  • Government benefits and TTR: The benefits you or your partner receive might be impacted if you choose to opt for this strategy. How and what exactly will change might become clearer upon discussing this with a Financial Information Service (FIS) officer.
  • Life insurance and TTR: In some cases, the life insurance cover you have with your super may stop or reduce if you start a TTR pension – check this before making any decisions or changes.

TTR can help ease your mind as you transition into retirement but it can be a bit complex. Before you choose whether you want to use TTR to reduce work hours or save on tax, or even if you want to use TTR altogether, you should figure out how this will impact all aspects of your finances.

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