Horticultural plants



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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A horticultural plant is a live plant or fungus that is cultivated or propagated for any of its products or parts.

You can claim a deduction for the decline in value of horticultural plants, provided:

  • you owned the plants - lessees and licensees of land are treated as if they own the horticultural plants on that land
  • you used them in a business of horticulture to produce assessable income, and
  • the expense was incurred after 9 May 1995.

Your deduction for the decline in value of horticultural plants is based on the capital expenditure incurred on establishing the plants. This does not include the cost of purchasing or leasing land or expenditure in draining swamp or low-lying land or in clearing land. It may include, for example:

  • the costs of acquiring and planting seeds, or
  • part of the cost of ploughing, contouring, fertilising, stone removal and topsoil enhancement relating to the planting.

You cannot claim this deduction for forestry plants.

If the expenditure incurred arises from a non-arm's length dealing and is more than the market value of what it was for, the amount of the expenditure is taken to be that market value.

The period over which you can deduct the expenditure depends on the effective life of the horticultural plant. You can choose to work out the effective life yourself or you can use the effective life determined by the Commissioner which is listed in Taxation Ruling TR 2000/18 - Effective life of depreciating assets.

If the effective life of the plant is less than three years, you can claim the establishment expenditure in full generally in the year in which the first commercial season starts.

If the effective life of the plant is three or more years, you can write off the establishment expenditure over the maximum write-off period, which generally commences at the start of what is expected to be the plant's first commercial season. If the plant is destroyed before the end of its effective life, you are allowed a deduction in that year for the remaining unclaimed establishment costs less any proceeds - for example, insurance.

Plants with an effective life of three or more years

Effective life

Annual write-off rate

Maximum write-off period

3 to less than 5 years


2 years and 183 days

5 to less than 6 2/3 years


3 years and 257 days

6 2/3 to less than 10 years


5 years

10 to less than 13 years


5 years and 323 days

13 to less than 30 years


7 years and 253 days

30 years or more


14 years and 105 days

Where ownership of the horticultural plants changes, the new owner is entitled to continue claiming the balance of capital expenditure incurred on establishing the plants on the same basis.

If you are a primary producer and an STS taxpayer, you must use the UCA rules to work out your deductions for horticultural plants. For more information about STS taxpayers, see STS taxpayers.

You may need to include a recoupment of expenditure on horticultural plants in your assessable income. As the expenditure may be deductible over more than one income year, special rules apply to determine the amount of any recoupment to be included in assessable income in the year of recoupment and in later income years. An amount received for the sale of a horticultural plant for its market value is not regarded as an assessable recoupment.

Last modified: 01 Oct 2006QC 27597