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ATO significantly revises SMSF lending figures

The ATO has explained why it revised its June 2014 quarter estimates for assets held by SMSFs under limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs), which revealed a discrepancy of almost $6 billion.

As part of the tax office's latest quarterly SMSF statistical report released this week, the June 2014 quarter estimates for assets held by SMSFs under LRBAs have been revised from $9.3 billion to $15.1 billion.

According to the ATO, the increase in the estimates can be attributed to some growth in the use of LRBAs by SMSFs and “improved data collection” through the new SMSF annual return.

However, the ATO cannot distinguish between these two factors.

“There’s two reasons for the revision. One of them is natural growth in the industry in this area, but the other one is because we just two years prior to this made a very significant change in the way we collect information. And we’ve been working with the industry to report better to us,” an ATO spokesperson said.

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“So there’s a mixture of natural growth and a mixture of the industry better reporting their holdings to the ATO.

“We revise figures for the past as we get more and more information. So with the June 2014 figures, we now basically have 98 per cent of the annual returns that we’re going to get. We have the actual data for the first time for that year. So the actual data is telling us the figure of [$15.1 billion].”

The ATO estimates SMSF assets held under LRBAs equal approximately $15.6 billion as at June 2015, representing 2.6 per cent of total assets held by SMSFs.

This report is the 35th in the ATO’s series of SMSF quarterly statistical reports about the SMSF industry, with the quarterly SMSF statistical report for the September 2015 quarter expected to be released in late November.

ATO significantly revises SMSF lending figures
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