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Interest deductibility for bonus share plans

Discussion in 'Accounting, Tax & Legal' started by coolcup, 9th Jul, 2018.

  1. coolcup

    coolcup Member

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    Hi everyone

    I have a quick question. I understand that if I use a loan to fund a share investment that is expected to produce dividend income, the interest on the loan is likely to be deductible.

    If I borrowed money to invest in AFIC and then chose to reinvest their dividends by way of their Dividend Substitution Plan so that the dividends were not assessable income for tax (it is instead like a bonus issue of shares), would the interest on the loan be deductible? Obviously in this case, AFIC could produce an assessable income and I could choose to turn the Dividend Substitution Plan off - so wondering if the Dividend Substitution Plan complicates here from a deductibility perspective.
     
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  2. Terryw

    Terryw Well-Known Member

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    Interesting question. If there is no expectation of income from dividends then the interest could not be deductible under s8-1.
     
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  3. coolcup

    coolcup Member

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    Thanks Terryw. If the strategy was to do the bonus plan for a few years and then to turn it off and earn an income from the shares - would this establish an expectation of income from dividends or is it a year by year thing?
     
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  4. Terryw

    Terryw Well-Known Member

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    There doesn't necessarily need to be an expectation of a dividend immediately, but you will need to speak to a tax adviser to do some research into the ATO's opinion on this matter. Perhaps a private ruling.
     
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  5. JoelVermeer

    JoelVermeer Member

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    Great question @coolcup. I have often been tempted to think more deeply about these Bonus Share Plans (BSPs), without having had the avenue to explore. And as @Terryw suggests, it would be interesting to know the ATO's opinion.

    The BSPs offered by some of the LICs seems to me to have the sole purpose (which is certainly not without merit) of avoiding the taxable income associated with dividends by converting that income into a capital gain. If that is the sole purpose, then my guess is that the ATO would disallow the deductibility of the interest on any debt used to purchase the shares. So my question comes down to: is that really the sole purpose of BSPs? Or can anyone think of another?
     
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  6. Hosko

    Hosko Well-Known Member

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    Do you still own the original AFIC purchase? If so, wouldn't the loan remain against this?
    And as a layman, I would have thought that this scenario would be perceived as income by the ATO but could be completely wrong as the experts have mentioned other outcomes.
     
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  7. Terryw

    Terryw Well-Known Member

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    Good point, but interest is only deductible where a loan is used shares that produce assessable income. The issue with this is there is no assessable income.
     
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