On December 5th 2019 the contentious law denying non-residents the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) main residence exemption was passed.
This means that the update we previously provided on this legislation is still in force. If you are no longer an Australian resident, or are permanently moving overseas, and you still own a property that was your main residence in Australia, then you need to know what this means.
Existing Non-Residents with Main Residence Property In Australia
Did you purchase your Australian main residence before 9 May 2017? If you did then you only have until 30 June 2020 to sell your property if you want to claim the CGT main residence exemption.
After this date non-residents will not be able to claim the exemption. Basically this means you will be assessed on the full capital gain.
On the other hand, if you plan to return to Australia in the future then you may still be able to claim the exemption. If this is the case then you can wait to sell your former main residence once you return to Australia. Once you are a tax resident again then you will be assessed as an Australian tax resident. This means the law will again allow you to claim whatever main residence concession you would ordinarily be entitled to. Given the rise in Australian property prices over the last decade, this change could see an Expat caught unaware, being exposed to capital gains tax of several hundred thousand dollars (if not more), depending on the situation.
For a more detailed look at what the law entails please refer to our “Update on CGT Main Residence Exemption for expats” post.
Seek Tax Advice
The change in law has the potential to significantly impact non-residents. While you can get a general overview from the information provided in our blog, it is important that your specific situation be assessed by a tax specialist. This is important because your individual situation will be dependant on many variables that can’t be adequately covered in a general blog. A personalised assessment will ensure that you understand your options and can make the best decision for your situation.