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CGT Exemption on Land

Discussion in 'Accounting & Tax' started by Paul@PFI, 1st Apr, 2016.

  1. Paul@PFI

    Paul@PFI Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Member

    18th Jun, 2015
    One of the common questions asked is : Can I get a main residence CGT exemption for land.
    Generally the answer is no and that the dwelling must be occupied before the property can satisfy the main residence exemption.

    There is an exception :
    1. You acquire land intending to construct a dwelling in the future or
    2. Repair or renovate an existing dwelling on the land; or
    3. Complete a partial constructed dwelling on the land

    the exception allows the LAND to be considered your main residence for UP TO 4 years before the dwelling actually becomes your main residence in specific circumstances.
    1. You must move into the dwelling as soon as practicable after completions and
    2. You must continue to use the dwelling as the main residence for at least a further three months after that date.

    So when may this apply ?
    eg Dave buys a lot of land through landcom. He proposes to build his home but struggles to afford to pay the builder and focusses on saving suitable money. Three years later Dave contracts to build. Ten months later his home is completed. Dave moves straight in. Dave then sells the property after four months.

    Q : What is Dave's CGT position ?

    Dave has TWO CGT assets. land acquired in Y1 and A home acquired in Y4. Both are sold say in Y5.
    Issue : The home satisfies the main residence rule. It is exempt. What about the land ??

    Answer : Dave can use the special exception and the land satisfies the main residence exemption also for up to four years before he occupied it. So its 100% exempt since his period prior to occupancy is 3 years + Ten months. So the home AND the land are both 100% exempt in this example.

    One issue to take care of in this situation is the three month rule. You cant move in and list it with an agent and then sell. In that case the capital gain on the home may be exempt but the land would NOT be exempt prior to the date of occupancy. Thius a pro-rata CGT issue would occur.

    There is a second exemption where vacant land may satisfy the main residence exemption when it is vacant after it has been destroyed. A good example of that is a home is destroyed by fire. You choose to sell the vacant land after six months. The main residence exemption in this example is continued despite failing the factual test of occupancy. This CGT issue is common after bushfires destroy homes and families choose to move out of the area.
    Last edited: 1st Apr, 2016