Marriage or relationship breakdown and transferring of assets

Marriage or relationship breakdown rollover

As a general rule, capital gains tax (CGT) applies to all changes of ownership of assets on or after 20 September 1985. However, if you transfer an asset to your spouse as a result of the breakdown of your marriage or relationship, there is automatic rollover in certain cases.

This rollover ensures the transferor spouse disregards a capital gain or capital loss that would otherwise arise. In effect, the one who receives the asset (the transferee spouse) will make the capital gain or capital loss when they subsequently dispose of the asset. If you are the transferee spouse, the cost base of the asset is transferred to you.

This applies to you if your marriage or relationship ended on or after 20 September 1985, and:

  • you transfer an asset or a share of an asset to your spouse
  • you receive an asset or a share of an asset from your spouse, or
  • a company or trustee of a trust transfers an asset to you or your spouse.

You cannot choose whether or not it applies.


  • Asset includes a share of, or an interest in, a jointly owned asset
  • Your spouse includes your former spouse
  • Transfer of an asset means transferring ownership of an asset to the transferee spouse and includes ‘creating’ an asset in their favour (such as a right to use property)
  • Transferee spouse refers to the spouse an asset is transferred to
  • Transferor spouse is the person (or a company or the trustee of a trust) who transfers an asset to the transferee spouse
    Last modified: 21 Jun 2016QC 17205