ato logo
Search Suggestion:

How to calculate a capital loss

Last updated 3 March 2016

Generally, you make a capital loss if your reduced cost base is greater than your capital proceeds. The excess is your capital loss.

Start of example

Example: Capital loss from a new income-producing asset

Antonio acquired a new income-producing asset on 28 September 1999 for $100,000. He sold it for $90,000 in November 2003. During the period he owned it, he was allowed capital works deductions of $7,500. Antonio works out his capital loss as follows.

Cost base


less write-off deduction


Reduced cost base


less capital proceeds


Capital loss



End of example


Start of example

Example: Capital loss from holding and selling shares

In July 1996, Chandra bought 800 shares at $3 per share. He incurred brokerage and stamp duty of $100. In December 2003, Chandra sold all 800 shares for $2.50 per share. He incurred brokerage of $75. He made a capital loss, calculated as follows.

Calculation of reduced cost base

Date expense incurred

Description of expense


July 1996

Purchase price


July 1996

Brokers fees and stamp duty


December 2003

Brokers fees


Reduced cost base



Calculation of capital loss

Reduced cost base


Capital proceeds 800 × $2.50


Capital loss



End of example

However, the reduced cost base is not relevant for some types of CGT events. In these cases, the particular CGT event explains the amounts to use (see appendix 1: Summary of CGT events).

Reduced cost base

You cannot index a reduced cost base.