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What is Capital Gains Tax?

2 min read

A capital gain or (loss) happens when you sell an asset. The gain or loss is basically the difference between what you paid for the asset and what you receive when you sell it. If you make a gain, you pay tax on this, which is known as capital gains tax (CGT).

How does Capital Gains Tax work?

Capital gains tax is triggered when a CGT event happens. There are lots of CGT events but the most common are:

  • when you sell an asset
  • when an asset is given away, destroyed or lost
  • if you stop being an Australian resident

CGT operates by taxing any increase in value from the time the asset was acquired or created. The capital gain is taxed in the financial year the asset is sold.

Whilst the amounts that are subject to this tax vary, the resulting capital gain is included in your income for that financial year and taxed at whatever marginal rate you would then pay. The amount that is added into your assessable income is known as the 'net capital gain'.

How to work out the net capital gain?

To work this out, you take the money you make from selling the asset and subtract your cost base. The cost base includes:

  • the price you paid for the asset originally
  • any costs incurred in buying and selling it
  • other incidental costs

Calculating capital gains can often be very complex. If you're looking to sell assets and want to understand what the consequences might be, or if you've already sold and want to know what your potential tax bill is, speak to one of our experienced tax accountant.

Learn more about capital gains tax with out tax tip guide.

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July 2016

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