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  • Capital gains tax changes for foreign investors

    On 11 April 2019 the Australian Government assumed a caretaker role with an election to be held on 18 May 2019. The continuation of this measure will be a matter for the incoming government to decide.

    On 9 May 2017 the Government announced that Australia's foreign resident capital gains tax (CGT) regime will be extended to deny foreign and temporary tax residents access to the CGT main residence exemption. This change applies from the date of announcement. Properties held prior to this date will be grandfathered until 30 June 2019.

    Following consultation, the Government has amended the change to the main residence exemption to ensure that only Australian residents for tax purposes can access the exemption. As a result, temporary tax residents who are Australian tax residents will be unaffected by the change.

    Administrative treatment

    The ATO will accept tax returns as lodged during the period up until the proposed law change is passed by Parliament. Past year assessments will not be reviewed until the outcome of the proposed amendment is known.

    After the new law is enacted, taxpayers will need to review their positions:

    • for properties acquired from 7:30PM (AEST) on 9 May 2017 – back to the 2016–17 income year;
    • for properties held from 7:30PM (AEST) on 9 May 2017 and disposed after 30 June 2019 – back to the 2019–20 income year.

    Those taxpayers who lodged their tax return in accordance with the changes do not need to do anything more.

    Those taxpayers who did not return their capital gain will need to seek amendments and obtain or reconstruct records to support any costs associated with the property.

    No tax shortfall penalties will be applied and any interest accrued will be remitted to the base interest rate up to the date of enactment of the law change. In addition, any interest in excess of the base rate accruing after the date of enactment will be remitted where taxpayers actively seek to amend assessments within a reasonable timeframe after enactment.

    Legislation and supporting material

    The Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability Measures No. 2) Bill 2018External Link was introduced to Parliament on 8 February 2018.

    More information

      Last modified: 30 Apr 2019QC 52005