Right now, there are extraordinary opportunities for primary producers to take advantage of tax and duty concessions as part of their succession (and retirement) planning.
These include the small business capital gains tax concessions and other forms of rollover relief available under the Income Tax Assessment Act as well as the abolishment of stamp duty on the transfer of primary production business property (including water licences) under the Queensland Duties Act where the property has a mortgage or consideration is intended to pass between generations.
Coupled with this is the release by the Queensland Government, through QRAA, for primary producers to apply for a Farm Management Grant, which will reimburse eligible professional advisor costs for succession planning.
The Farm Management Grant provides a rebate for up to 50 per cent of fees paid for advice, at a maximum of $2500 for an applicant each financial year. CLICK HERE to apply online for reimbursement and even pre-approval of the grants.
Given the intricacy of family relationships of those involved in primary production, formally recording your succession plan has many benefits, in that they:
- Formally record the plan and, as much as possible, provide certainty in outcomes.
- Provide practical answers to decision-making and the goals of individuals and businesses.
- Offer evidence of recorded intentions and if there is a threat of future litigation, including risks of family provision applications, can help to ensure assets are passed on as you intended.
Too often, we see family businesses reliant upon the old ‘bush handshake’ as their succession plans. They may be recognised by family members as an unspoken business or personal arrangements, but in reality can fall apart because an agreement ‘in principle’ is simply not as firm as the hand it’s gripped with.
A succession plan could include any combination of the below documents, depending on individual circumstances:
- A heads of agreement.
- Amendments to constitutions and trust deeds.
- Shareholder and partnership agreements.
- Certain option and buy/sell agreements.
- Property transfers and other forms of property agreements or dealings including leases, licensing, agistment and share farming agreements.
- Binding financial agreements.
- Wills, enduring powers of attorney and nominations to deal with any superannuation.
You could consider the documents as a form of insurance, whereby once they are in place provide certainty of expectation by defining who, when and how a business and property may be taken over.
At the end of the day, by undertaking your ‘plan’, you are improving the commercial nature of your business and supporting family members along the way.
McCullough Robertson Lawyers recognise and understand the personal, commercial and agricultural needs and objectives of primary producers and their families and can offer expert advice on succession planning, asset protection and taxation and structuring issues. Obtaining legal advice from our firm around your succession planning will meet the requirements of the Farm Management Grant.
Contact Frances Becker, (07) 3233 8902, or John Ioannou, (07) 3233 8774, McCullough Robertson Lawyers.
The story Tap into succession, retirement plan funding | Opinion first appeared on Queensland Country Life.