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Guide to CGT 2008-09

A guide to capital gains tax for individuals with complex CGT obligations, and for companies, trusts and funds.

Last updated 8 March 2010

About this guide

The Guide to capital gains tax 2009 explains how capital gains tax (CGT) works and will help you calculate your net capital gain or net capital loss for 2008-09 so you can meet your CGT obligations. There are worksheets at the back of the guide to help you do this.

Who should use this guide?

An individual, company, trust or superannuation fund can use this guide to work out their CGT obligations.

A company, trust or superannuation fund that is required to complete and lodge a Capital gains tax (CGT) schedule 2009 (NAT 3423) (CGT schedule) should use the schedule included at the back of this guide. Part C explains when a schedule must be lodged.

If you have a small business, you should get the publication Guide to capital gains tax concessions for small business (NAT 8384).

Individuals may prefer to use the shorter, simpler Personal investors guide to capital gains tax 2009 (NAT 4152) if, during 2008-09, they only:

  • sold some shares
  • sold some units in a managed fund, and/or
  • received a distribution of a capital gain from a managed fund.

This guide does not deal fully with the CGT position of:

  • a company that is the head company of a consolidated group - the rules that apply to members of a consolidated group modify the application of the CGT rules. For more information about the consolidation rules or if you have technical tax enquiries, visit our website or phone the Tax Reform Infoline on 13 24 78
  • an individual or entity whose gains or losses are included as part of its income under other provisions of the tax law - for example from carrying on a business of share trading (see the fact sheet Carrying on a business of share trading)
  • an individual or entity that is not an Australian resident for tax purposes.

Publications and services

To find out how to obtain a publication referred to in this guide, see Publications. For information about our other services, see More information.


This guide will help you work out whether any of the assets you own (or may own in the future), and any events that happen, are subject to CGT. Where they are, it tells you how to work out your capital gain or capital loss. It also covers what records you need to keep.

New terms

We may use some terms that are new to you. These words are explained in Definitions. Generally they are also explained in more detail in the section where they first appear.

While we have sometimes used the word 'bought' rather than 'acquired', you may have acquired an asset subject to CGT (a CGT asset) without paying for it (for example, as a gift or through an inheritance). Similarly, we refer to 'selling' such an asset when you may have disposed of it in some other way (for example, by giving it away or transferring it to someone else). Whether by sale or by any other means, all of these disposals are CGT events.

How to complete the capital gains item on your tax return.

Use these worksheets to help you keep track of your records.

Find out if you need to complete a capital gains tax (CGT) schedule.

Check what's new for the capital gains tax guide 2009.

Changes that had not become law when this guide was finalised.

Changes were announced to the income tax concessions previously available to participants in employee share schemes.

Find out if you need to read Part A - About capital gains tax.

Use these steps to complete the capital gains section of your tax return.

Instructions to help companies, trusts and funds to complete the capital gains items on the relevant tax return.

Additional information to help you understand and complete your CGT obligations.

List of publications relevant to this guide.

Where to find more information and assistance.