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Appendix 5 – Explanation of terms

Last updated 3 March 2016

Assessable income
Assessable income is all the income you have received that should be included on your income tax return. Generally, assessable income does not include non-assessable payments from a unit trust, including a managed fund.

Bonus shares
Bonus shares are additional shares a shareholder receives wholly or partly as a dividend. You may also pay an amount to get them.

Bonus units
Bonus units are additional units a unit holder receives from the trust. You may also be required to pay an amount to get them.

Calls on shares
A company may sometimes issue a share at less than its par or face value and then make calls to pay up part or all of the remaining outstanding balance.

Capital gain
You may make a capital gain from a CGT event such as the sale of an asset. Generally your capital gain is the difference between your asset's cost base (what you paid for it) and your capital proceeds (what you received for it). You can also make a capital gain if a managed fund or other unit trust distributes a capital gain to you.

Capital gains tax
Capital gains tax (CGT) refers to the income tax you pay on any net capital gain you make and include on your annual income tax return. For example, when you sell (or otherwise dispose of) an asset as part of a CGT event, you are subject to CGT.

Capital improvements
A capital improvement is an improvement you make to a CGT asset that is reflected in its state or nature at the time of a later CGT event. This does not include a repair that is deductible for income tax purposes.

Capital loss
Generally, you may make a capital loss as a result of a CGT event if you received less capital proceeds for an asset than its reduced cost base (what you paid for it).

Capital proceeds
Capital proceeds is the term used to describe the amount of money or the value of any property you receive or are entitled to receive as a result of a CGT event. For shares or units, capital proceeds may be:

  • the amount you receive from the purchaser
  • the value of shares (or units) you receive on a demerger
  • the value of shares (or units) and the amount of cash you receive on a merger/takeover, or
  • their market value if you give them away.

CGT asset
CGT assets include shares, units in a unit trust, collectables (such as jewellery), assets for personal use (such as furniture or a boat) and other assets (such as an investment property).

CGT-concession amounts
These amounts are the CGT discount component of any actual distribution from a managed fund.

CGT discount
The CGT discount is the amount (or percentage) by which a capital gain may be reduced under the discount method (see Discount method).

CGT event
A CGT event happens when a transaction takes place such as the sale of a CGT asset. The result is usually a capital gain or capital loss.

Consolidated income taxation of corporate groups
Taxing wholly owned groups as single entities. Subsidiary members are treated as parts of the head company. Intra-group transactions are disregarded for income tax purposes. Consolidation enables assets to be transferred between members of a group without triggering capital gains or requiring cost base adjustments for membership interests. Effective from 1 July 2002.

Convertible note
A convertible note is another type of investment you can make in a company or unit trust. A convertible note earns interest on the amount you pay to acquire the note until the note's expiry date. On expiry of the note, you can either ask for the return of the money paid or convert that amount to acquire new shares or units.

Cost base
The cost base of an asset is generally what it costs you. It is made up of five elements:

  • money you paid or property you gave for the asset
  • incidental costs of acquiring or selling it (for example, brokerage and stamp duty)
  • non-capital costs associated with owning it (generally this will not apply to shares or units because you will usually have claimed these costs as tax deductions)
  • costs associated with increasing its value (for example, if you paid a call on shares), and
  • what it has cost you to preserve or defend your title or rights to it.

The cost base for a share or unit may need to be reduced by the amount of any non-assessable payment you receive from the company or fund.

Debt forgiveness
A debt is forgiven if you are freed from the obligation to pay it. A commercial debt that is forgiven may reduce your capital loss, your cost base or your reduced cost base.

A demerger involves the restructuring of a corporate or trust group by splitting its operations into two or more entities or groups. Under a demerger the owners of the head entity of the group acquire a direct interest in an entity (demerged entity) that was formerly part of the group.

Demerger rollover
This generally applies to CGT events that happen on or after 1 July 2002 to interests that you own in the head entity of a demerger group and a company or trust is demerged from the group. Generally, the head entity undertaking the demerger will advise owners whether demerger rollover is available but you should seek our advice if you are in any doubt. The Tax Office may have provided advice in the form of a class ruling on a specific demerger, confirming that the rollover is available.

This rollover allows you to defer your CGT obligation until a later CGT event happens to your original or your new shares or units.

A company demutualises when it changes its membership interests to shares. If you received shares as part of a demutualisation of an Australian insurance company (for example, NRMA), you are not subject to capital gains tax until you sell the shares.

Usually the company will advise you of your cost base for the shares you received. The company may give you the choice of keeping the shares they have given you or of selling them and giving you the capital proceeds.

Depreciating assets
A depreciating asset is an asset that has a limited effective life and can reasonably be expected to decline in value over the time it is used. Depreciating assets include items such as computers, tools, furniture and motor vehicles.

Land and items of trading stock are specifically excluded from the definition of depreciating asset, as are most intangible assets such as options, rights and goodwill.

Discount method
The discount method is one of the ways to calculate your capital gain if:

  • the CGT event happened after 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999
  • you acquired the asset at least 12 months before the CGT event.

If you use the discount method, you do not index the cost base but you may be able to reduce your capital gain by the CGT discount. However, you must first reduce your capital gains by the amount of all your available capital losses (both current year and prior years) before you discount any remaining capital gain.

If you acquired the asset before 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999, you may be able to choose either the discount method or the indexation method, whichever gives you the better result.

Discounted capital gain
A discounted capital gain is a capital gain that has been reduced by the CGT discount. If the discounted capital gain has been received from a managed fund, the amount will need to be grossed up before you apply any capital losses and then the CGT discount.

Dividend reinvestment plans
Under these plans, shareholders can choose to have their dividend used to acquire additional shares in the company instead of receiving a cash payment. For CGT purposes, you are treated as if you received a cash dividend and then used it to buy additional shares. Each share (or parcel of shares) received in this way is treated as a separate asset when the shares are issued to you.

A dwelling is anything that is used wholly or mainly for residential accommodation. Examples of a dwelling are a home, an apartment, a strata title unit or a unit in a retirement village.

Employee share schemes
If you acquired shares or rights at a discount under an employee share scheme and the scheme complies with the income tax rules for employee share schemes, you can choose when to include the amount of the discount in your assessable income on your tax return. There are special CGT rules relating to the calculation of the cost base of these shares or rights and, in some circumstances, a capital gain or capital loss you make is disregarded.

Gross up
Grossing up applies to unit holders who are entitled to a share of the fund's income that includes a capital gain reduced by the CGT discount. In this case, you 'gross up' your capital gain by multiplying by two your share of any discounted capital gain you have received from the fund. You may also have to gross up a capital gain that was reduced by the small business 50% active asset reduction.

Income year
The income year is the financial year relating to your current income tax return.

Indexation factor
The factor is worked out based on the consumer price index (CPI) at appendix 2.

The indexation of the cost base of an asset is frozen as at 30 September 1999. For CGT events after that time the indexation factor is the CPI for the September 1999 quarter (123.4), divided by the CPI for the quarter in which you incurred costs relating to the asset. The result is rounded to three decimal places.

Indexation method
The indexation method is one of the ways to calculate your capital gain if you bought a CGT asset before 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999. This method allows you to increase the cost base by applying an indexation factor (based on increases in the consumer price index up to September 1999).

You cannot use the indexation method for:

  • CGT assets bought after 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999, or
  • expenditure relating to a CGT asset acquired after that date.

For CGT events after 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999 the discount method may give you the better result.

Legal personal representative
A legal personal representative can be either:

  • the executor of a deceased estate (that is, a person appointed to wind up the estate in accordance with the will), or
  • an administrator appointed to wind up the estate if the person does not leave a will.

LIC capital gain amount
This is an amount notionally included in a dividend from a listed investment company (LIC) which represents a capital gain made by that company. The amount is not included as a capital gain under item 17 on the tax return, or item 9 if you use the tax return for retirees. (See the example and refer to instructions for Dividend income at item 11 on the tax return or item 8 if you use the tax return for retirees.)

Main residence
Your main residence is your home – that is, the dwelling you regard as your main place of residence and nominate as such for any CGT concessions dealing with the disposal of a main residence.

Main residence exemption
Generally, you can ignore a capital gain or capital loss from a CGT event that happens to a dwelling that is your main residence (also referred to as 'your home'). You may make a capital gain or capital loss if you have used your home to produce income, if it was not your home for the full period you owned it or the land around your home is more than 2 hectares.

Managed fund
A managed fund is a unit trust. The types of managed funds available include cash management trusts, fixed interest trusts, mortgage trusts, property trusts, equity trusts, international trusts and diversified trusts.

Market value substitution rule for capital proceeds
In some cases, if you receive nothing in exchange for a CGT asset (for example, if you give it away as a gift) you are taken to have received the market value of the asset at the time of the CGT event. You may also be taken to have received the market value if your capital proceeds are more or less than the market value of the CGT asset, and you and the purchaser were not dealing with each other at arm's length in connection with the event.

You are said to be dealing at arm's length with someone if each party acts independently and neither party exercises influence or control over the other in connection with the transaction. The law looks at not only the relationship between the parties but also the quality of the bargaining between them.

Market value substitution rule for cost base and reduced cost base
In some cases, the general rules for calculating the cost base and reduced cost base have to be modified. For example, the market value may be substituted for the first element of the cost base and reduced cost base if:

  • you did not incur expenditure to acquire the asset
  • some or all of the expenditure you incurred cannot be valued, or
  • you did not deal at arm's length with the vendor in acquiring the asset.

Net capital gain
A net capital gain is the difference between your total capital gains for the year and your total capital losses (including capital losses from prior years), less any CGT discount and small business CGT concessions to which you are entitled.

Non-assessable payment
A non-assessable payment is a payment received from a company or fund that is not assessed as part of your income on your income tax return.

This includes some distributions from unit trusts and managed funds and, less commonly, from companies.

'Other' method
To calculate your capital gain using the 'other' method, you subtract your cost base from your capital proceeds. You must use this method for any shares or units you have bought and sold within 12 months (that is, when the indexation and discount methods do not apply).

Ownership interest
You have an ownership interest if you own a dwelling or land and/or meet the conditions outlined in chapter 6.

Acquired before 20 September 1985. Assets acquired before this date are generally exempt from CGT. An exception is if CGT event K6 applies.

Acquired on or after 20 September 1985.

Reduced cost base
The reduced cost base is the amount you take into account when you are working out whether you have made a capital loss when a CGT event happens.

The reduced cost base may need to have amounts deducted from it such as non-assessable payments.

The reduced cost base does not include indexation or non-capital costs of ownership such as interest on monies borrowed to buy the asset.

Rollover allows a capital gain to be deferred or disregarded until a later CGT event happens.

Scrip-for-scrip rollover
This can apply to CGT events that happen on or after 10 December 1999 in the case of a takeover or merger of a company or fund in which you have holdings. The company or fund would usually advise you if the rollover conditions have been satisfied.

This rollover allows you to defer your CGT obligation until a later CGT event happens to your shares or units.

You may only be eligible for partial rollover if you received shares (or units) plus cash for your original shares. In that case, if the information provided by the company or fund is not sufficient for you to calculate your capital gain, you may need to seek advice from the Tax Office.

Share buy-backs
If you disposed of shares back to a company under a buy-back arrangement, you may have made a capital gain or capital loss.

Some of the buy-back price may have been treated as a dividend for tax purposes. The time you make the capital gain or capital loss will depend on the conditions of the particular buy-back offer.

Small business CGT concessions
There are four small business CGT concessions available if certain conditions are satisfied. They are:

  • the small business 15-year exemption
  • the small business 50% active asset reduction
  • the small business retirement exemption, and
  • the small business rollover.

These concessions apply to CGT events that happen after 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999. Takeovers and mergers
If a company in which you held shares was taken over and you received new shares in the takeover company, you may be entitled to scrip-for-scrip rollover.

If the scrip-for-scrip conditions were not satisfied, your capital proceeds for your original shares will be the total of any cash and the market value of the new shares you received.

Tax-advantaged entity
A tax-advantaged entity is a tax-exempt entity, or the trustee of:

  • a complying superannuation fund
  • a complying approved deposit fund, or
  • a pooled superannuation fund.

Tax-deferred amounts
These amounts include indexation allowed to a trust on its capital gains and accounting differences in income.

Tax-exempted amounts
These amounts are generally made up of exempt income of the trust, amounts on which the trust has already paid tax or income you had to repay to the trust. Tax-exempted amounts do not affect your cost base or your reduced cost base.

Tax-free amounts
These amounts allow the trust to pay greater distributions to its beneficiaries. This is due to certain tax concessions trusts can receive.

Unit trust
A unit trust is a trust or fund that is divided into units representing capital and income entitlements. Units may be traded or redeemed (including the switching and transferring of units). A managed fund is a type of unit trust.