Is it Legal to Buy Bitcoin with your Super?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the legal issues around owning Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies in your Australian Superannuation.

We’ve teamed up with Australian expert accountants and lawyers to bring you the latest expert information and validated opinions. Please don’t use this information as point of truth, check with the experts for the latest information, as everyone may have different circumstances.

Must read: Take a look at our article covering the Advantages of having crypto in your Superannuation which could help you further understand the pros and cons.

What is the ATO’s Current Laws on Crypto Super Investing?

  • Yes you can own bitcoin and other cryptocurrency in an SMSF.
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are treated as capital gains tax assets.
  • Cryptocurrencies held in an SMSF must be allowed for under the fund’s trust deed.
  • Owning cryptocurrencies in an SMSF must be done so in accordance with the fund’s investment strategy.
  • Purchases must comply with SISA and SISR regulatory requirements concerning investment restrictions.
  • An SMSF’s cryptocurrency investments must be held and managed separately from the personal or business investments of trustees and members.

The Requirements to Buy Crypto with Your Super

New Brighton Capital takes all ATO requirements into consideration when establishing your fund and keeps abreast of any ATO changes as time goes on. See the 10 Step Checklist to setting up your SMSF with detailed information on the process.


Is an SMSF required or can Super Funds Buy Crypto on your behalf?

Currently an SMSF is the only way to gain exposure to the crypto space with your superannuation. Any asset purchased by retail or industry superannuation funds (such as Suncorp Super, Australian Super, CBUS Super, QSuper, ANZ and others) needs to be listed on their approved product lists. Retail superannuation funds cannot invest in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies directly but will be able to invest indirectly into cryptocurrencies through listed ETFs or other regulated crypto products once they are approved by regulatory bodies.


Which Cryptocurrencies are legal to buy with your Super?

All cryptocurrencies are permitted. by the ATO provided the reporting is carried out correctly. You need to confirm with your accountant as to whether they can obtain the required information to complete the work (via appropriate reporting) and whether your auditors can verify the existence and value of the coins to their satisfaction.

Accountants and auditors are generally unable to verify the reports or existence or value of coins purchased on DeFi platforms or overseas exchanges. If your accountant or auditor cannot complete their work satisfactorily your SMSF may fail to complete its annual reporting obligations and your fund may become non-compliant. For this reason, if you are not 100% sure, double check with your accountant regarding the exchange and coins you wish to own before making any purchases.

New Brighton Capital has an approved providers list where you are permitted to purchase any coin that is listed on an approved exchange.

An SMSF’s investment strategy outlines its investment objectives and specifies the types of investments it can make. Before investing in cryptocurrency, SMSF trustees and members should consider the level of risk of the investment. Trustees and members may then review and if necessary, update their fund’s investment strategy to ensure the investment being considered is permitted.

ATO – Investment strategy and a fund’s governing rules

Whats the Minimum Super Balance Required?

There is no legal minimum balance you need to have an SMSF, it just needs to make sense to you in your situation.

The cost to run an SMSF is static, meaning it costs the same regardless of how much you have in you super. This is different to retail funds where you will pay on average of 1-1.5% of the value of your super in fees each year. Eventually it gets to the stage where you are crazy not to have an SMSF because it is cheaper, but after you do the sums, even if you find an SMSF more expensive for now, many people are happy to pay an extra few hundred dollars a year to be exposed to assets (like bitcoin) that they you would not otherwise be able to be exposed to in their superannuation.

Some experts suggest that you need a high amount in your super if you wish to invest with a SMSF. This simply is not true, according to New Brighton Capital “hundreds of clients have started their SMSF with under 50k and they were happy to pay an extra few hundred dollars a year in accounting fees compared to their retail fund so that they could own other assets like bitcoin.”.


Will the Australian Government Ban Buying Crypto with Super?

As it’s a fairly new market, the future of cryptocurrencies is still uncertain. However, there has been no indications so far that Crypto will be banned in Australia.

The fact that listed companies in the USA like Tesla and Microstrategy are holding bitcoin on their balance sheet and that Goldman Sachs is reopening its institutional cryptocurrency trading desk legitimises the space. This is because these companies would not risk shareholder equity in an asset if there was uncertainty regarding the government’s stance on cryptocurrencies. Australia will more than likely follow USA’s lead here and keep cryptocurrencies as a legal form of property.


Conclusions

If you want to hold bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in your super, currently an SMSF is your only option. The main consideration is to decide whether an SMSF is right for you. This is a personal consideration and is different for everyone.

Need help? Speak with Cryptocurrency Superannuation Expert at New Brighton Capital Book a Free 20 min Consultation


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