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Generally, if you are an individual (not a company or trust) you can ignore a capital gain or capital loss from a CGT event that happens to your ownership interest in a dwelling that is your main residence (also referred to as ‘your home’).
To get the full exemption from CGT:
- the dwelling must have been your home for the whole period you owned it
- you must not have used the dwelling to produce assessable income, and
- any land on which the dwelling is situated must be 2 hectares or less.
If you inherited a dwelling or a share of a dwelling and it was not the deceased’s main residence, you may not get a full exemption (see flowchart 3.6 in appendix 3, and Inherited main residence).
If you are not fully exempt, you may be partially exempt if:
- the dwelling was your main residence during only part of the period you owned it
- you used the dwelling to produce assessable income, or
- the land on which the dwelling is situated is more than 2 hectares.
Short absences from your home (for example, annual holidays) do not affect your exemption.
If a dwelling was not your main residence for the whole time you owned it, some special rules may entitle you to a full exemption or to extend the partial exemption you would otherwise get. These rules can apply to land or a dwelling if you:
you choose to treat the dwelling as your main residence, even though you no longer live in it (see Continuing main residence status after dwelling ceases to be your main residence)
you moved into the dwelling as soon as practicable after its purchase (see Moving into a dwelling)
you are yet to live in the dwelling but will do so as soon as practicable after it is constructed, repaired or renovated and you will continue to live in it for at least three months (see Constructing, renovating or repairing a dwelling on land you already own), or
you sell vacant land after your main residence is accidentally destroyed (see Destruction of dwelling and sale of land).
There are some special CGT rules that are not covered in this section that may affect you if your home was:
compulsorily acquired (see Loss, destruction or compulsory acquisition of an asset).
If you own more than one dwelling during a particular period, only one of them can be your main residence at any one time.
The exception to this rule is if you move from one main residence to another. In this case you can treat two dwellings as your main residence for a limited time (see Moving from one main residence to another). Special rules apply if you have a different main residence from your spouse or dependent children (see Having a different home from your spouse or dependent child).
Last modified: 08 Jul 2013QC 28010