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Keeping records

Last updated 7 July 2015

How to calculate a capital loss

Start of example

Example 14: Calculating a capital loss

Antonio acquired a new income-producing asset on 28 September 1999 for $100,000, including stamp duty and legal costs. He sold it for $90,000 in November 2014. 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 capital works deductions


Reduced cost base


less capital proceeds


Capital loss



End of example


Start of example

Example 15: Calculating a capital loss

In July 1996, Chandra bought 800 shares at $3 per share. He incurred brokerage and stamp duty of $100. In December 2014, 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

Brokerage and stamp duty


December 2014



Reduced cost base



Calculation of capital loss

Reduced cost base


Capital proceeds (800 x $2.50)


Capital loss



End of example

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

Reduced cost base

You cannot index a reduced cost base.

Keeping adequate records of all expenditure will help you correctly work out the amount of capital gain or capital loss you have made when a CGT event happens. It will also help to make sure you do not pay more CGT than is necessary.

You must keep records of everything that affects your capital gains and capital losses. Penalties can apply if you do not keep the records for at least five years after the relevant CGT event. If you use information from those records in a later tax return, you may have to keep records for longer. If you have applied a net capital loss, you should generally keep your records of the CGT event that resulted in the loss until the end of any period of review for the income year in which the net capital loss is fully applied.

For more information, see Taxation Determination TD 2007/2– Income tax: should a taxpayer who has incurred a tax loss or made a net capital loss for an income year retain records relevant to the ascertainment of that loss only for the record retention period prescribed under income tax law?

Keeping good records can help your beneficiaries reduce the impact of CGT after you die. If you leave an asset to another person, the asset may be subject to CGT when a CGT event happens to that asset in the future, for example, if your daughter (the beneficiary) sells the shares (the asset) you have left her in your will.