Can an SMSF Own a Car?

3 Jan 2024

Written by

David Busoli, Principal

A car can be owned by an SMSF but, as it’s classed as a personal use asset, it’s subject to significant restrictions.

Notably it can’t be an in-house asset as it can’t be leased to a related party. It must be a genuine investment made for genuine retirement purposes, not to provide any present-day trustee benefit, even if this benefit is paid for at market rates. This means that it can’t be used by the trustees at all. If the SMSF owns a car, related parties can’t drive it for any reason – not even for maintenance purposes or to have restoration work done – because this constitutes use of the asset.

Storage must be remote from the trustee’s residence which includes all parts of the dwelling, the land on which its situated and all other buildings on that land, such as garages or sheds.

It can be stored in premises owned by a related party, provided it’s not their private residence, but it can’t be displayed.

A record must be kept of the reasons for deciding where to store it. (We produce this document as part of our suite of Investment Strategy documents.)

Insurance requirements are also specific. If the vehicle is displayed by an unrelated party as part of a vintage or classic car display and covered by insurance arranged by that party, the car must be specified, and the fund must be noted on the policy as a named insured or beneficiary.

So the short answer to the question is yes but is it worth the hassle?

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