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Chapter 8-Marriage breakdown

Last updated 5 October 2009

Read this chapter if your legal or de facto marriage ended on or after 20 September 1985 and:

  • you transfer an asset to or receive an asset from your spouse, or
  • a company or trustee of a trust transfers an asset to you or your spouse.

Note-New terms: There may be terms in this chapter that are not familiar to you. Refer to chapter 1 in part A for more information or to Explanation of terms.

When we talk about 'your spouse', this includes your de facto spouse, while 'transfer of an asset' includes disposing of an asset to the transferee spouse or 'creating' an asset in their favour.

The term 'transferee spouse' refers to the spouse to whom an asset is transferred, while the 'transferor' is the person (or a company or the trustee of a trust) who transfers an asset to the transferee spouse.

As a general rule, CGT applies to all changes of ownership of assets on or after 20 September 1985. However, if you transfer an asset to your spouse as a result of a marriage breakdown, there is automatic roll-over in certain cases (you cannot choose whether or not it applies).

This roll-over allows the transferor spouse to disregard a capital gain or capital loss that would otherwise arise. In effect, the one who receives the asset (the transferee spouse) will make the capital gain or capital loss when they dispose of the asset. If you are the transferee spouse, the cost base and other attributes of the asset are transferred to you.

You must keep all relevant records, as explained in chapter 3.