The government has opened a consultation on amending the expense rules for non-arm’s length income (NALI) provisions which apply to both ARPA-regulated superannuation funds and SMSFs.

The NALI provisions are designed to prevent income from being unduly diverted into super funds to benefit from lower rates of tax.

A media release from financial services minister Stephen Jones on Tuesday morning outlined the potential amendments to the NALI provisions for super funds which could be adopted:

  • Self-managed superannuation funds and small APRA-regulated funds would be subject to a factor-based approach which would set an upper limit on the amount of fund income taxable as NALI due to a general expenses breach; and
  • Large APRA-regulated funds would be exempted from the NALI provisions for general expenses.

“While the NALI provisions are operating broadly as intended, the government appreciates some superannuation industry stakeholders have raised the potential for disproportionately severe outcomes for breaches relating to general expenses,” Jones said in the release.

“For the purposes of stakeholder consultation Treasury has developed potential policy changes to the NALI provisions, where they relate to general expenses which have a sufficient nexus to all ordinary and statutory income derived by the fund.”

The policy proposed by the government seeks to balance maintaining the integrity of tax system while providing certainty for trustees regarding the consequences of any breaches.