Appendix 4 Definitions
This information may not apply to the current year. Check the content carefully to ensure it is applicable to your circumstances.
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Assessable income is all the income you have received that should be included on your tax return. Generally, assessable income does not include non-assessable payments from a unit trust, including a managed fund.
Bonus shares are additional shares a shareholder receives wholly or partly as a dividend. You may also be required to pay an amount to get them.
Bonus units are additional units a unit holder receives from the trust. You may also be required to pay an amount to get them.
Call on shares
A company may sometimes issue a partly paid share and then make a call to pay up part or all of the remaining outstanding balance.
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.
A capital improvement does not include a repair that is deductible for income tax purposes.
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 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 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).
These amounts are the CGT discount component of any actual distribution from a managed fund.
The CGT discount is the amount (or percentage) by which a capital gain may be reduced under the discount method (see The discount method).
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.
Effective from 1 July 2002. Consolidation refers to taxing wholly owned groups as single entities, and enables assets to be transferred between members of a group without triggering capital gains or requiring cost base adjustments for membership interests. Subsidiary members are treated as part of the head company. Intra-group transactions are disregarded for income tax purposes.
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.
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)
- costs of owning it (generally this will not apply to shares or units because you will usually have claimed or be entitled to claim these costs as tax deductions)
- costs associated with increasing or preserving its value or installing or moving it, and
- what it has cost you to preserve or defend your title or rights to it - for example, if you paid a call on shares.
You may need to reduce the cost base for a share or unit by the amount of any non-assessable payment you receive from the company or fund.
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.
This may apply to CGT events that happened on or after 1 July 2002 to interests that you own in the head entity of a demerger group where 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. We 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, AMP, IOOF or NRMA), you are not subject to CGT until you sell the shares or another CGT event happens.
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.
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.
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 any capital losses made in the year and any unapplied net capital losses from earlier years. 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 you received the discounted capital gain from a managed fund you will need to gross up the amount 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, you disregard a capital gain or capital loss you make.
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.
An income year is the same as a financial year - a period of 12 months beginning on 1 July and ending on the next 30 June - and is the period covered by your tax return. (In particular circumstances, the Commissioner may allow a company or other entity to adopt another 12-month period).
The indexation 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 taken to three decimal places rounding up if the fourth decimal place is five or more.
The indexation method is one of the ways to calculate your capital gain if you acquired 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 acquired after 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999
- 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)
- 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 at item 18 on the tax return (supplementary section). See example 46 and the instructions for dividend income for question 12 in TaxPack 2009.
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. See Is the dwelling your main residence? for more information.
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 if the land around your home is more than 2 hectares.
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 previous owner in acquiring the asset.
Net capital gain
A net capital gain is the difference between your total capital gains for the year and the total of your capital losses for the year and unapplied net capital losses from earlier years, less any CGT discount and small business CGT concessions to which you are entitled.
Net capital loss
If your total capital losses for the year are more than your total capital gains, the difference is your net capital loss for the year. This loss can be carried forward and deducted from capital gains you make in later years. There is no time limit on how long you can carry forward a net capital loss.
Capital losses from collectables can only be used to reduce capital gains from collectables. If your total capital losses from collectables for the year are more than your total capital gains from collectables, you have a net capital loss from collectables for the year. This loss is carried forward and deducted from capital gains from collectables in later years. There is no time limit on how long you can carry forward a net capital loss from a collectable.
A non-assessable payment is a payment received from a company or fund that is not assessed as part of your income on your tax return.
This includes some distributions from unit trusts, managed funds and companies.
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).
You have an ownership interest if you own a dwelling or land and/or meet the conditions outlined in What is an ownership interest?
Acquired before 20 September 1985. Assets acquired before this date are generally exempt from CGT. An exception is if CGT event K6 applies.
Prior year net capital losses
See Unapplied net capital losses from earlier years.
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 costs of owning the asset such as interest on monies borrowed to buy it.
A rollover allows a capital gain to be deferred or disregarded until a later CGT event happens.
A scrip-for-scrip rollover can apply to CGT events that happened 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 us.
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
- small business 50% active asset reduction
- small business retirement exemption
- small business rollover.
These concessions apply to CGT events that happened after 11.45am (by legal time in the ACT) on 21 September 1999. For information on these concessions, see the publication Capital gains tax (CGT) concessions for small business - overview.
Takeovers and mergers
If a company in which you held shares was taken over or merged and you received new shares in the takeover or merged company, you may be entitled to a 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.
A tax-advantaged entity is a tax-exempt entity, or the trustee of:
- a complying superannuation fund
- a complying approved deposit fund
- a pooled superannuation fund.
These amounts include indexation allowed to a trust on its capital gains and accounting differences in income.
These amounts are generally made up of exempt income and non-assessable non-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.
These amounts arise where certain tax concessions allowed to the trust enable it to pay greater distributions to its beneficiaries.
Unapplied net capital losses from earlier years
This is the amount of net capital losses from earlier years remaining after you have deducted any capital gains made between the year(s) when the losses were made and the current year.
You use unapplied net capital losses from earlier years to reduce capital gains in the current year (after those capital gains have been reduced by any capital losses in the current year).
You can only use unapplied net capital losses from collectables from earlier years to reduce capital gains from collectables in the current and future years.
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.
Last modified: 09 Mar 2010QC 27956