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A matter of trust

FEDERAL legislation to come into effect next year will clamp down on investors in private companies or discretionary trusts.

A potential window of opportunity for investors will close, affecting 35,000 people and potentially saving the Government hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

From January 1, assets and income of discretionary trusts and private companies will be assessed under the Centrelink or Department of Veterans Affairs income and assets tests.

Until now they have escaped attention.

Beneficiaries of Centrelink payments have been asked to declare their share of the assets or income in the trust or company.

Failure to comply will mean the total value of the assets and income will automatically be attributed to the investor when an asset and income test is applied.

AM Corporation national manager Philip La Greca says a number of options are available before the legislation comes into force.

Investors may choose to re-nounce all interest in the discretionary trust, unwind the trust or transfer their interest to another party before the gifting provisions are applied as part of the changes.

Mr La Greca says investors need to look at ways in which their trust or company can earn more to make up for lost Government payments, or they should downgrade their spending.

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