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  • When you can claim losses on shares and units

    You can only claim a loss for shares or units you have disposed of. You cannot claim a 'paper loss' on investments you continue to hold.

    When you make a loss from the disposal of shares or units, how you treat the loss in your tax return will depend on whether you are a share investor or trader.

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    Share investor

    If you made the loss holding the shares or units as an investor, it is a capital loss.

    On your tax return, you can:

    • offset the loss against any capital gains
    • carry forward any unused losses to offset against future capital gains.

    Your capital loss cannot be:

    • offset against your income from other sources
    • converted to revenue losses in future years. This is the case even if you have not been able to offset it against a capital gain.

    Share trader

    If you made the loss carrying on a business of share trading, it is a revenue loss.

    On your tax return, you treat it the same way as any other losses from business. You can generally offset the loss against income from other sources.

    Losses on worthless shares

    You may be able to claim a capital loss on worthless shares before a company is dissolved. You can do this if a liquidator or administrator declares in writing that you will not receive any further distribution from the company.

    Last modified: 04 Aug 2021QC 66048