Family Trust Structure

Family Trust Structure

Family Trust Structure

When it comes to creating and selecting an Australian company business structure, Inspire Accountants can help.

What is a discretionary family trust?

A Family Trust structure, commonly set up and sometimes referred to as a discretionary family trust, is a popular business structure in Australia. The main advantages of a discretionary family trust structure are the way in which the profits are distributed and the tax planning advantages, while still providing for asset protection if set up correctly. 

If you’re looking to restructure your business into a family trust structure, book a complimentary call with one of our friendly Senior Accountants online.

Should I trade in a Family Trust Structure?

A trust is a structure wherein a Trustee (either an individual or company) carries on the operations of the Trust on behalf of the beneficiaries. The actions of the Trustee are governed by the Trust Deed, which details the rights and obligations of all parties. Trusts are a common structure choice for family businesses as it enables the various family members to become beneficiaries of the Trust that is operating the business. While the trust is not a separate legal entity, it is a separate entity for tax purposes. The trustee must apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) for the trust and lodge an annual income tax return.

If a company trustee is used, the trust offers all the same asset protection benefits as using a company structure, along with the additional benefits of using a trust. A trust that has individuals acting as trustees exposes the trustees (the individual, or individuals) to the same levels of business risk as a sole trader.

What structure to operate from depends on what you want to do in your business and how you plan to grow. While operating from a trust has a lot of advantages, there are a lot of nuances that you will have to make consider before setting one up for your business. 

What is a Family Trust Structure?

A Family Trust is the most flexible form of business structure for a family trust. No single beneficiary has a fixed interest in the trust’s property or the trust’s income. The trustee has complete discretion in the distribution of funds to each beneficiary. This makes the Family Trust (with a corporate trustee) a strong and flexible option for a family business. The family members are protected from business risk and the trustee has the discretion to distribute the income in the most effective way possible.

Advantages of a Family Trust Structure

  • Flexibility with income and capital distribution.
  • Broader Tax planning opportunities.
  • Access to Small Business CGT concessions.
  • 50% 12-month CGT discount.
  • Asset protection (if a corporate trustee is used).
  • Can pay salaries and wages as well as superannuation.
  • Less regulatory requirements than trading as a company.

Disadvantages of a Family Trust Structure

  • Distributions must be in accordance with the Trust Deed.
  • Risk of resettlement if changes are made to trust members or trust property without giving consideration to the rules outlined in the Trust Deed.
  • Losses are quarantined in the trust
  • More of an investment to establish and maintain when compared to sole traders or partnerships.
  • Trustees can be personally liable for some debts of the trust (if individual trustees are used).

Brisbane accountants to set up a family trust structure

Business owners looking to shift their business operations into a trust structure can experience a number of benefits. We strongly recommend anyone interested in setting up a trust seek professional advice before doing so. Given the additional requirements of using a trust, we work closely with all clients using this structure to ensure all their obligations are satisfied and used in the most efficient manner possible.

Contact us online to see how a family trust can help benefit your business.


Family means the world to us so we only work with business owners who believe that family is their most important business.

What’s the point of great financial success if it comes at the cost of precious moments with those who we love most?

We work with clients who want to better understand the numbers that grow their business and as a result we have clients who are –

  • Dentists, Doctors, Psychologists, Physiotherapists and Psychiatrists
  • Property Developers, Project Managers and Builders
  • Personal Trainers, Gym Owners and
  • Marketing Agencies, Educators & Online Retailers
  • Lawyers, CFO’s, Directors and CEO’s

But most importantly our clients see themselves primarily as proud –

  • Mums & Dads
  • Husbands & Wives
  • Boyfriends, Girlfriends & Life Partners
  • Sons & Daughters
  • Nans & Pops
  • Cousins, Aunties & Uncles

In fact we don’t call our clients ‘clients’, they are affectionately known as our Inspire Family.

You might like to know that our clients are located all over Australia with a strong presence around Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne.

We help entrepreneurs and business owners:

  • Understand the Numbers that Drive their Business
  • Structure Effectively for Business Growth
  • Carry out Strategic Tax Planning
  • Implement Cloud Business Solutions
  • Keep Tax and Accounting Lodgement Obligations Squared Away
  • Set up and Run Self Managed Super Funds

We’re best known for 2 game-changing small business services –

“It’s all sorted” – a proactive small business tax and accounting service that pays for itself in tax savings. Our average tax savings for 2017 was $27,000 per client which is a 3.5 x return on their investment in our service.

“Get Cashed Up” – an 18 month business development service for business owners to double their profit and double their days off. Based on the 7 step method to pull more money, time and happiness from your business from the book “Cashed Up: 7 Steps To Pull More Money, Time and Happiness From Your Business”.

Yes, we more than cover your standard accountant’s’ role, and our clients say we’re set apart by two main things:

  1. Our ability to provide peace of mind through explaining the why and not just the what; and
  2. That we’ve “bought in” to their business, shoulder to shoulder, with intention to grow together.

We have a unique approach to providing insight into the numbers for entrepreneurs and business owners.

We want you, the business owner, to really understand the numbers behind what is going on in your business.

We work with you either on a monthly or quarterly basis, not just providing the numbers to you, but helping you to be able to use them in a meaningful way in the day to day management of your business.

We do not charge by the hour (so we aren’t rewarded for being inefficient), but rather we charge a fixed price that you know up front for the value that we provide.

It’s a different conversation and the focus for both of us is where the value is (rather than ‘let’s be quick and get this over with’ under the archaic hourly rate model).

When you come to us, we will agree on a price for any work to be undertaken at the start, then agree to a monthly ongoing amount moving forward. If there’s anything that pops up along the way, we will always agree on a price before we begin.

Oh, and we do not charge for every little phone call and email – this is just part of a working relationship!

In fact 9 times out of 10 your investment in our Tax & Accounting service pays for itself in tax saved. Sometimes 5 – 10 x times over!

That’s taking money that otherwise would have gone to the tax man and putting it towards building a family first business. Woohoo!

p.s. the 1 out of 10 exception to this rule represent the startups who aren’t earning enough money yet to make a significant tax saving!

We’ve heard some pretty bad horror stories of old school accountants taking days, weeks and sometimes even months to get back to your questions.

Our response time to phone calls and emails is key number that we focus on – and we measure it in hours, live on our website.

We successfully keep this number less than 24 hours on average for our clients.

The dream that we are working towards is getting this response time down to zero. How? We’ve anticipated your needs so well, and provided so much proactive advice that you’d never have to email or call.

We’ll get there one day!

‘Turnaround time’ is another key number that the team measures closely.

We aim to have any urgent projects and work turned around within 10 business days, so that we’re able to achieve the outcome without ridiculous delays.

Like a workflow tango, turnaround time on your tax work is a two way street – we need you to work with us too when it comes to getting us the info we need on time.

Cloud accounting

The adoption of cloud accounting software is saving businesses thousands of dollars, and hours of bookwork every week.

We work with multiple cloud accounting providers and dozens of their add-ons but we believe Xero are the absolute best solution for small business.

As a result almost all our clients are use (and love!) XERO so our team know it like the back of our hand (Xero even certified Inspire CA as their Gold Partners)

Ultimately the smart use of technology is all about saving you time.

We go into a bit more detail on cloud accounting over here.

We’re big fans of throwing around ideas on a whiteboard in the boardroom. But what about for the in between time?

We use technology such as Zoom to enhance web meetings and to describe concepts and run scenarios from our computers. We can share our screens and run you through diagrams using LucidChart.

We’ve also adopted online signing software, DocuSign, which is a dream to get documents signed and lodged.

To be able to provide real insights to your business, we need to be in contact with you many times over a year.

Ideally, we would catch up in some form at least every month, but if that is too regular for your stage in business, we can also catch up on a quarterly basis. (Any less than every quarter and we can’t provide as much value to you.

We’re a team of 20 who punch well above our weight in terms of adding value. Amongst our team are chartered accountants, business owners & serial entrepreneurs, ex-bankers, bookkeepers, CFO’s & educators.

We also engage a global team of experts when we need some extra hands on deck.
Why don’t you come on over and I’ll introduce you to the team…

Inspire Accountants was founded by Ben Walker at the age of 23 with nothing but a borrowed printer, a laptop and a simple idea: what if, instead of just doing tax and reporting on history, accountants could give game changing advice that could help people write a better future for their business and their family?

Four years on, Inspire Accountants has been showcased as a global example of what an Accounting firm should be, thanks to Ben’s disruptive approach to throwing out timesheets & charging by the hour, his challenge of the traditional ‘old school’ model of the accounting industry and belief that Accountants change lives.

Ben is a winner of the coveted Anthill Online 30under30 award for 2014, was named a finalist in the Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards and has been featured in many publications including the Courier Mail, Small Business Big Marketing Podcast with Tim Reid, Brisbane Business News & the Dent Podcast.

Today, while he continues to lead Inspire Accountants as CEO & Founder, Ben’s goal is to inspire others create a business that gives them the freedom to put family first and to make a positive difference in the world.

Budget $500 / month for our proactive tax and accounting service called “It’s all sorted”. We aim for this service to pay for itself in tax savings and in 2017 Financial Year our average tax savings per client was $27,000. That’s a 4.5x Return on Investment.

So my question to you is, is your accountant taking money or making money?

We are proud of our team of 20; 12 Accountants, 4 Admin team, 3 Marketing team, and 1 Executive Assistant.  Although we are small (compared to the faceless monoliths the founders used to work in before starting Inspire) we truly believe in the words of Margaret Mead who said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” In fact in 2016 we were the ONLY accounting business to be named Top 100 Companies in Australia in the coveted annual anthill online Cool Company Awards.

Yes absolutely. We have access to a team of qualified accountants offshore who help us churn through all the low level data entry work. Unfortunately this outsourcing model is no cheaper to us than having more local accountants but it does enable us to be free of all the lower value transactional tasks, leaving us free to do higher level tax and profit strategy with our clients.

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