Understanding Trusts: A Guide to Tax Planning

Understanding Trusts: A Guide to Tax Planning

Trusts are legal arrangements where one person (the settlor) transfers assets to another person (the trustee) to hold for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary). Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes, including tax planning, asset protection, and estate planning.

In Australia, individuals and businesses benefit from our expert trustee services. We provide a range of financial trustee services, including trust legal services delivered by experienced trust lawyers in Sydney. Here, let’s learn about “Trusts” it so that you can make a better and more valid decision while doing your tax planning!

Learning the Benefits of Trusts for Tax Planning


For tax planning to work, you need to know about trusts and how it’s a plus point to get profit. Also know that trusts can offer a number of tax planning benefits, including:

  • Income tax splitting – Trusts can be used to split income among multiple taxpayers, which can help to reduce the overall tax burden. For example, a parent could set up a trust for their child and transfer income-producing assets to the trust. The income from the trust would then be taxed at the child’s tax rate, which is likely to be lower than the parent’s tax rate.
  • Deferral of capital gains tax – Trusts can be used to defer the payment of capital gains tax until the assets are sold. This can be useful for taxpayers who are expecting to be in a lower tax bracket in the future.
  • Exemption from estate tax – Trusts can be used to reduce or eliminate the estate tax liability of the settlor. This can be beneficial for high-net-worth individuals who are looking to pass on their wealth to their heirs in a tax-efficient manner.

If you want to make smart choices about how to set up a business or investment, you need to know how the different types of trusts work. There are many different types of trusts, but some of the most common types include:

  • Revocable trusts – Revocable trusts can be changed or revoked by the settlor at any time.
  • Irrevocable trusts – Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed or revoked by the settlor once they are created.
  • Testamentary trusts – Testamentary trusts are created in a will and take effect after the settlor’s death.
  • Living trusts – Living trusts are created during the settlor’s lifetime.
To set up a trust, you will need to create a trust agreement. The trust agreement should specify the following!

The type of trust

The settlor

The trustee

The beneficiaries

The assets to be transferred to the trust

The terms of the trust

Once the trust agreement has been created, the settlor will need to transfer the assets to the trust. This can be done by transferring the assets directly to the trustee or by transferring the assets to a bank or trust company to hold as trustee.

Know The Tax Considerations For Trusts

When it comes to paying income tax, trusts are seen as entirely independent taxpayers from their beneficiaries. This indicates that the trust will be responsible for filing its own tax return and making payments based on the revenue it generates. The tax rate that the trust is subject to is going to be determined by the kind of trust that it is as well as the quantity of revenue that it brings in.

The tax on realised capital gains applies to trusts as well. If a trust generates a profit from the sale of an asset, the trust is subject to paying tax on the capital gain generated by the transaction. The amount of capital gain, the type of asset that the trust owned, and the length of time that it held the asset all play a role in determining the capital gains tax rate that the trust is subject to pay.

Additional Tips For Using Trusts For Tax Planning

  • Choose the right type of trust – There are many different types of trusts, so it is important to choose the type of trust that is right for your tax planning needs.
  • Draft a carefully worded trust agreement – The trust agreement is a legal document that will govern the trust, so it is important to have it drafted by an attorney.
  • Fund the trust with income-producing assets – Trusts can be used to split income and defer capital gains tax, so it is important to fund the trust with income-producing assets.
  • Review the trust regularly – As your tax situation changes, you may need to review the trust and make changes to it.

Overall, Trusts can be a valuable tool for tax planning. Also, by using a trust, taxpayers can split income, defer capital gains tax, and reduce or eliminate estate tax liability. However, it is important to note that trusts are complex legal arrangements and should be set up with the assistance of an attorney. Our trustee management services ensure meticulous handling of your assets, and we pride ourselves on delivering trustworthy trust services that meet your unique needs. So give us a call you make a tax plan for you under the supervision of qualified trust lawyers Sydney!


Q1. What is a trust in legal terms?

A trust is a legal relationship between a trustee (holding title) and a beneficiary (for whose benefit trust assets are held).

Q2. What are common types of trusts in Australia?

Discretionary trusts (or family trusts), unit trusts, and hybrid trusts are prevalent, each with unique features.

Q3. How do discretionary trusts provide flexibility?

Discretionary trusts offer asset protection and income distribution flexibility, but in NSW, they aren’t eligible for the land tax-free threshold.

Q4. What characterizes unit trusts?

Unit trusts allocate a set proportion of income and/or capital to unit holders, providing clarity in entitlements.

Q5. What is a hybrid trust, and how does it differ?

A hybrid trust combines set and discretionary attributes, offering a blend of features from both types.

Q6. Are trusts suitable for business or investment?

Trusts can be suitable for business or investment, but their effectiveness depends on individual circumstances, considering advantages and disadvantages.

Q7. How is the relationship in a trust governed?

The relationship between the trustee and beneficiaries is governed by a trust deed, with legislative and general law overlays.

Q8. What are the mechanics of trust resolution?

Trust resolutions, outlining trustee powers, are made in accordance with the trust deed, executed by the individual trustee or the board of a corporate trustee.

Q9. Are resolutions important for trustees?

Yes, all resolutions should be retained for trustee records, ensuring transparency and accountability.

Q10. How do you choose the right trust for your circumstances?

The choice depends on individual needs. Discretionary trusts offer flexibility, while unit trusts provide certainty, particularly involving third parties. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages is crucial for informed decision-making.

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