Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Buy sell deeds, family trusts and the deemed market value substitution rule

Insurance, Buy-sell, Business succession, Capital gains tax, Trust deed, Trust distributions, Trust beneficiaries,
Click here for an overview of buy-sell arrangements

With thanks to co View Legal director Tara Lucke, today’s post considers an issue that has been raised with us by an adviser recently.

It is generally accepted that where a business succession plan is structured with self owned insurance policies and a buy sell deed using put and call options, the deemed market value substitution rules apply for taxation purposes.  This outcome occurs notwithstanding that the transfer has been funded (either wholly or partly) by insurance.

Given the recent changes to the rules relating to the taxation of trusts, some uncertainty has arisen in relation to the ability to effectively manage the taxation consequences of a deemed capital gain arising from a transfer under a buy sell deed.

Under the ‘interim’ taxation rules relating to trusts, there can be particular problems relating to distributions of capital gains arising under the deemed market value substitution rule.  In particular, it is generally not possible to create specific entitlement to a deemed capital gain, notwithstanding that there may be a streaming power in the trust deed. 

However, where $1 of consideration has been received (which is how we generally recommend buy sell deeds be crafted), provided a beneficiary is made specifically entitled to the $1 of consideration, the deemed gain should be distributed to that same trust beneficiary.

It will therefore be important in each case to consider the specific terms of the trust deed and the other income of the trust, and to craft the distribution minute correctly to ensure the gain can ultimately be distributed to individuals who can access the general 50% capital gains tax discount. 

Until next week.