Can I Sell Property from My SMSF to Myself? Exploring the Risks and Benefits

  • Gareth LaneGareth Lane Troy BurnsTroy Burns
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    This information has been reviewed by our SMSF Mates before it was published as part of our review process.

Have you considered selling property from your Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) to yourself? The short answer is indeed, yes, you can, but it must meet specific conditions and align with the stringent guidelines set by the Australian Taxation Office. While this presents an appealing opportunity, the complexities involved demand careful scrutiny.

Navigating the rules, considering the tax outcomes, assessing potential risks, and identifying the benefits are all vital. This understanding starts with getting to know the Australian Taxation Office’s guidelines for such transactions.

In our exploration of SMSFs, we delve into the integral role of investment properties, the potential tax outcomes from their sales, and the specific regulations governing residential properties. Our journey is aimed at bringing clarity to these processes, emphasising the importance of professional advice, and demonstrating how such a sale could harmonise with your self-managed superannuation fund’s objectives.

Understanding Investment Property in SMSFs

A Self Managed Superannuation Fund is a private retirement fund, the management of which lies with the fund’s member or members. The primary objective of an SMSF is to provide retirement benefits to the members involved. If you’re interested in establishing such a fund, it’s advantageous to learn how to set up a SMSF to ensure you’re starting off on the right foot.

An essential element of an SMSF portfolio can be purchase property for investment, including both residential and commercial property types. These properties act as substantial financial assets that can grow over time and provide a substantial source of income upon retirement.

Generating Retirement Income

These properties serve a crucial role: generating income for retirement. They function as long-term investments that contribute towards the goal of financial stability in the later stages of life.

This financial stability is critical for enjoying a comfortable and worry-free retirement. However, it’s essential to consider the broader context of SMSF property purchased for investment when thinking about selling a property from an SMSF to oneself.

Selling SMSF Property to Members

It’s permissible to sell a property from an SMSF to its member, albeit under certain conditions. The transaction should occur at ‘arm’s length’, which means it should proceed as if between two unrelated parties, and the transaction must align with a market value supported by an independent valuation.

This is to ensure fairness and legality in the transaction process, maintaining the integrity of the SMSF and the member’s retirement benefits. It’s also worth noting that the SMSF’s trust deed and investment strategy must sanction such property transactions.

Selling a property to oneself, when done correctly, can align with an SMSF’s overarching investment strategy.

Arm’s Length Transactions

The term “arm’s length” refers to a deal where both parties, acting independently and without a relationship, determine the property’s sale price based on its true market value. This principle is essential within Australian SMSFs to ensure the integrity of the fund and its retirement benefits provision.

Capital Gains Tax Implications When Selling Your SMSF Property

Grasping the potential tax implications is crucial when dealing with transactions within self-managed superannuation funds. One key concept to grapple with is capital gains tax (CGT) which can be triggered when selling an investment property from your SMSF.

When an investment property within an SMSF is sold, it potentially attracts CGT. The process of determining CGT is intricate and affected by various factors such as the period the property has been retained within the SMSF and the fund’s earnings.

Appreciating the tax consequences can ensure the transaction aligns with the SMSF’s primary objective of providing retirement benefits and does not inadvertently undermine the member’s financial planning.

In House Assets

An important aspect of managing your SMSF’s investments is the categorisation of certain properties as in house assets. The categorisation of certain properties as in-house assets plays a pivotal role in managing your SMSF’s investments.

Within an SMSF, an in-house asset often takes the form of a loan, an investment, or a property lease extended to a party related to the fund. The categorisation of certain properties as in-house assets is an important aspect of managing your SMSF’s investments.

An in-house asset within an SMSF context may encompass a loan, an investment, or a lease of property to a party related to the fund. In compliance with Australian regulations, these in-house assets are carefully regulated, their combined value not permitted to exceed 5% of the fund’s total assets.

This regulation acts as a safeguard against the over-concentration of assets tied to the fund’s members, thus ensuring the fund’s stability and enhancing its potential for sustainable long-term growth. Nevertheless, maintaining this delicate balance necessitates diligent monitoring to circumvent inadvertent breaches of these regulations, which could potentially result in severe implications.

Business Real Property

The constraints also apply to what is known as business real property. Typically, this refers to assets like land or buildings, which can include your own business premises, exclusively employed in running a business.

Suppose you’re an SMSF member and a business owner, and your SMSF buys property that your business utilises. In this case, this property falls under the business real property category. Transactions of this nature are allowed, as long as they’re conducted at market value.

Residential Property in an SMSF

An important facet of managing an SMSF is understanding the rules governing the residential properties within it. These rules are outlined in the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act, more commonly known as the SISA rules.

According to these regulations, residential properties purchased by an SMSF cannot be lived in or rented out by the fund member or any related party. This restriction maintains the property’s role in serving the SMSF’s primary purpose, that is, providing retirement benefits.

When considering selling a residential property from an SMSF to oneself, it’s imperative to consider how these rules apply. Such a transaction comes with its own set of restrictions and requirements, which should be thoroughly understood to maintain the SMSF’s compliance status.

Non-compliance can lead to serious legal consequences and may undermine the retirement benefits of the SMSF, negating the purpose of setting up the fund in the first place.


Selling property from your SMSF to yourself is feasible under specific conditions, but it is far from straightforward. The transaction must align with the primary objective of your SMSF: securing retirement benefits.

The complexity of the process, along with aspects like acquiring property for your business operations, emphasises the importance of obtaining professional legal and financial counsel. Steering your way through this requires meticulous planning and strategic choices. Therefore, arm yourself with the right information and expert guidance to bolster your path to a financially secure retirement.

General Advice Warning

Gareth Lane

Concise Digital

Gareth Lane is a successful entrepreneur, businessman, and owner of the digital marketing and web agency Concise Digital, based out of Perth, Western Australia. Concise Digital have solved over 60,000 digital / web problems for clients since 2005. Gareth is one of the founders of SMSF Mate.

Gareth is passionate about helping small businesses be more successful online by avoiding the pitfalls of digital marketing. He regularly runs live talks, workshops and meetups discussing Google, social media and all things digital marketing.

Gareth studied Business and Commerce at Curtin University, and has held board positions for a number of organisations, including serving as the President of the Western Suburbs Business Association and as a non-executive member of WA Business Assist. A true entrepreneur at heart, he started his first business at 13 and has created and run multiple successful businesses since.

Gareth enjoys good food, great wine and time in the sun when he’s not at his computer helping other businesses get ahead!

You can find out more about Gareth or connect with him on Linkedin here:

Or visit his websites here: or

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Troy Burns

Non-Correlated Capital

Troy has more than 15 years investment and fund management experience, including management of hedge funds and multi-strategy funds. Troy has raised and managed over 300 million dollars in investments and has engaged and serviced over 150 high-net-worth clients for Non-Correlated Capital, the investment company which he serves as CEO and Portfolio Manager. Based out of Perth, Western Australia, Troy is one of the founders of SMSF Mate.

Troy’s educational qualifications include a Masters of Business Administration, Masters of Applied Finance, and Advanced Diploma, Financial Markets, completed at Charles Sturt University. Troy has also previously worked as a derivatives trader and the managing director of a civil engineering company.

You can find out more about Troy or connect with him on Linkedin here:

Or visit his website here:

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Kind words from Aussies managing
their own self funded futures

  • SMSF Mate is a unique website because it has ideas about how to approach SMSFs, insurance and other financial topics that come straight from first hand experience. It's much more useful than what you find on all the other financial websites that just offer generic info that you could easily get on the ATO's website. It's also nice to know there's no financial incentive behind the information, it's legitimately there to help people understand self-managed super funds and how to get the most out of them, not to get an affiliate commission from a broker or other financial services provider. The investment product information is also incredibly useful, I've never seen this kind of functionality on any other website that let's you look at such a wide range of products, sort by what info is most interesting or important to you, and subscribe to updates for different funds and financial products all in one place. Definitely worth checking out if you own or are considering an SMSF!

    David G, Self-Employed, SMSF Owner
  • SMSF Mate provides a unique insight into superannuation and financial topics in a way that is easier to understand than conventional websites. The colloquial nature of the site makes it easy to understand and they often speak about complicated topics in lamens terms so I can wrap my head around them. The investment product information is a great way to research funds that I am interested in investing in with my SMSF and there is a lot of helpful information on the site for better structuring my investment portfolio. In comparison to other websites which offer similar information, SMSF Mate excels as the information is free to access whereas many other sites charge a subscription fee for the same thing. Overall, I think SMSF Mate is a great resource for SMSF trustees and is worth looking at for a variety of super-related topics. Thanks.

    Tim B, Business Owner, SMSF Trustee