SMSFs warned on ignoring valuation difficulties in unlisted securities and trusts
SMSFs making valuations of private company shares and trusts will need to ensure early preparation to meet any arising difficulties and costs that can commonly be ignored, resulting in increased scrutiny from the regulator, according to a technical specialist.
In a recent update, SMSF Alliance principal David Busoli said auditors would often take a look-through approach when dealing with valuations of private company shares and unit trusts.
This is because the ATO has advised [QC 26343] that company or unit trust financial statements that are signed and audited are unlikely to be sufficient evidence on their own, particularly if the assets have been valued at cost in the financial statements.
“The ATO expects that such valuations need to consider a number of factors, including the value of the assets in the entity and the amount paid on acquisition of the unlisted securities or units,” Mr Busoli said.
“Suitable evidence to support the valuation may include an independent expert valuation of assets held in the company or unit trust, a property valuation where property is the only asset of the company or unit trust, and the date and price of the most recent sale and purchase of a share or unit between unrelated parties.”
In cases where an independent expert valuation is not obtained, Mr Busoli noted that the ATO advises that SMSF trustees should provide evidence of how the market valuation was substantiated, including the objective and supportable data on which the trustees relied.
This also includes the valuation method used and any assumptions made.
“Due to the potential need to value the underlying assets of such entities, any potential difficulty in complying with this requirement should be considered before the investment is made,” he explained.
“For example, under certain conditions, an SMSF may hold a 50 per cent equity in an unlisted company that is running a business without invoking the in-house asset provisions.
“A consideration that is often ignored is the cost and/or difficulty of valuing the business if required by the SMSF’s auditor.”
Tony Zhang is a journalist at Accountants Daily, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the accounting sector.
Since joining the Momentum Media team in 2020, Tony has written for a range of its publications including Lawyers Weekly, Adviser Innovation, ifa and SMSF Adviser. He has been full-time on Accountants Daily since September 2021.