Could you please tell me if the following could happen.
Could a company such as CBA pay an increased dividend before tax to a smsf, in lieu of a franked dividend?
A: No. Franking credits are of no value to the company – they just represent the tax the company has already paid to the Australian Taxation Office. So franking a dividend “costs” a company nothing – but increasing it in lieu (your suggestion) would be “hard” dollars.