Tax and legal advice

How to calculate capital gains tax: cost base, capital gains, capital losses

By Bianca Dabu

While there is no fixed rate for capital gains tax, there are several methods you can choose from to get the best rate for your portfolio.

Essentially, capital gains tax (CGT) is tax paid on capital gains or the profit you made after the sale of an asset.

In order to determine how much you have to pay, you have to work out the following variables:

  • Cost base, or the purchase price plus other costs associated with acquiring, holding, and selling the property
  • Capital gain, or the difference between the profit you made and the cost base
  • Capital loss, which you usually get when you sell an asset for a price lower than your cost base
  • Net capital gain or loss, which is the amount that goes on your income tax return

Working out your cost base 

To determine your cost base, which you need to calculate capital gains, add these five elements together:

  1. Money or property given for the asset
  2. Incidental costs of acquiring the asset or in relation to the CGT event that happens to it, including remuneration for the services of professionals, costs of transfer, stamp duty, marketing and advertising costs, valuation or apportionment fees, search fees, conveyancing kit cost, borrowing expenses and termination or exit fees.
  3. Costs of owning the asset, only if the asset is acquired after August 21, 1991. These include rates, land taxes, repairs and insurance premiums, as well as non-deductible interest on loans used to finance the purchase of the asset and the capital expenditure to increase the asset’s value.
  4. Capital costs incurred to increase or preserve the asset’s value, or install or move it.
  5. Capital expenditures relating to the preservation or defense of your ownership of the asset.

To determine your reduced cost base, which you need to calculate your capital loss, add the same elements stated above except for the third one, and add the balancing adjustment amount.

If your property is a depreciating asset, the cost base will not be relevant to the computation of your capital gains.

Calculating your capital gain

There are three different methods that you can use to work out your capital gain—choose the one that will give you the smallest amount so you pay less capital gains tax:

1. CGT discount method

The discount method is available for investors who have held their asset for 12 months or more, with a few exemptions, and if the CGT event happened to the asset after September 21, 1999, 11:45 a.m.

It allows you to reduce your capital gains by 50 per cent for individual residents, including partners in partnerships, and trusts, and by 33.33 per cent for complying super funds and eligible life insurance companies.

Formula: Subtract the cost base from capital proceeds or income, deduct capital losses, then reduce by the applicable discount percentage.

2. Indexation method

The indexation method basically has the same eligibility guidelines as the discount method, except it can also be used by companies.

Using this method, the amount associated with each element of the cost base—excluding the third one or the ‘costs of owning the asset’—is increased based on an indexation factor.

The indexation factor is worked out using the consumer price index (CPI) rates, which are published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics

To know the indexation factor applicable to your asset, use the following formula:

  • If the CGT event happened to your asset on or after September 21, 1999, 11:45 am., you can index the element of your cost base only up to September 30, 1999.

                 

  • If the CGT event happened to your asset before September 21, 1999, 11:45 a.m.

               

In most cases, you index costs from the date you incur them, but for partly paid assets acquired on or after August 16, 1989, you can use the CPI for the quarter in which you made the later payment.

Formula: Apply the relevant indexation factor, then deduct indexed cost base from the capital proceeds or income.

3. The ‘other’ method

Considered as the most simple method among the three, the ‘other’ method can be used by investors who have held their asset for less than 12 months before the CGT event.

Formula: Subtract cost base from capital proceeds or income.

Calculating your capital loss

The only way to know if you have made a capital loss is to determine your reduced cost base and your capital proceeds or income.

If it turns out that you’ve sold your asset for less than what you paid for it, then you have made a loss—the difference between the variables stated above is the amount of your loss.

Calculating your net capital gain or loss

Your net capital gain or net capital loss for the year is the amount that goes on your income tax return.

To compute for your net capital gain:

 

To compute for your net capital loss:

 


You must disregard capital losses you make from a personal use asset, exempt assets, some collectables, and a lease—unless the asset was used mainly for generating income. Capital losses must also be disregarded if made from paying personal services income if the income is considered an assessable income under provisions, or if have made them as an income tax-exempt entity.

Remember that you cannot offset a capital loss against your taxable income. You can only carry the loss from one financial year to the other until you make another capital gain from which you can deduct the loss.

While you cannot choose to forego offsetting capital losses against your capital gains, you can choose which capital gains to deduct your losses from.

 

This information is sourced from the Australian Tax Office.

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FROM THE WEB

podcast

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Luke’s first property investment included what he now looks back on as “learning experiences”.  He chose it only because it was close to where he lived, he bought it at the peak of the market and he elected to manage his (unreliable, damage-prone) tenants alone. Now, 16 years on Luke has 30 properties and a much better idea about how to approach the investment game.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show Luke joins host Tim Neary to unpack how he went about educating himself, how his investment style has changed over time and why patience is the name of the game.

Luke will also share how his initial mistakes discouraged him and had him doubting the wisdom of being an investor, and how his realisation of the importance of active management bought him back into line.  He will discuss the importance of having a strong support team and why it’s smart to put a proper value on your personal time.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

How to profit from changing market conditions
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AREAS MENTIONED: 

Sydney
Brisbane
Adelaide
Wollongong
Geelong
Melton South
Cairns
Perth

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An unsure start in property investment leads to a 30-property portfolio
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  ["title"]=>
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Promoted by Blue Ink Finance.

Budgeting tips when your Personal Debt is High.

" ["fulltext"]=> string(8092) "

Credit card debts and personal loans are the greatest obstacle between everyday people and their potential to live in financial freedom.

Of course, I understand that sometimes getting a small personal loan is absolutely necessary. Unexpected costs like medical expenses can make personal loans the only option.

However, the majority of us have debt simply because we spend more than we earn.

In either case, your number one priority is unlocking those chains of debt that are holding you back.

I’m going to give you some tips for budgeting with hefty personal debt, but first I want to talk about the impact those loans are having on your life.

How much is your debt really costing you?

Over the years that you’re paying off your loans at the minimum repayment, the interest on those items will end up costing you multiple times more than the original borrowed amount - and those endless due dates will haunt you. There’s no freedom in that!

Let me give you an example. You’ll be shocked, I guarantee it!

Let’s say you have around $4,000 of credit card debt, charged at 19.99% p.a. If you paid only the minimum monthly amount, it would take 37 years to pay off the total debt.

How much will that $4,000 debt cost you? $19,200. Depressing, isn’t it?

You might feel like you need a full-blown money explosion to get out of debt, but don’t despair just yet.

What you need to do is arm yourself with a strategic budget, and I’ve got some tips to help you.

Budgeting while you have hefty personal debt is tough, but possible – and it’s essential for eliminating that debt forever. Let’s have a quick look at how you can start to tackle that mountain of borrowed money.

It’s time to take charge and break some chains!

There’s a method for reducing debt that has an excellent success rate, if you’re committed:

  1. Make a realistic budget (and stick to it)
  2. Reduce your expenses and/or increase your income until you are in the black
  3. Save an emergency fund first
  4. Pay off your personal loans and credit cards, starting with the either the smallest debt first or the debt with the highest interest rate
  5. Revise your budget as you go along.

Why an emergency fund is paramount to success

You’ll see I’ve put saving an emergency fund before paying off your loans. Even a small amount initially, like $500, is enough to stop the cycle of borrowing to pay bills, then paying out even more in interest each month, which leaves less in the bank to pay the next bill.

Once you have a buffer saved, then you can start aiming some serious firepower on your debt, and that’s when it gets exciting!

Think back to my credit card example. If you upped the payments each month from $84 per month to $212, you would have the card paid off in two years and save $14,285 in interest. That’s worth a little bit of effort, wouldn’t you agree?

Tips for a budget that works

You may need to cut back drastically on your expenses to clear your debt, but here’s some other ways to make the most of your budget:

  • Find micro-ways to reduce your expenses every day. Make work lunches at home, cancel a pay TV subscription, find a better phone deal, or pass on your afternoon chocolate bar from the vending machine. Instead of spending $40 on a takeaway dinner, have a bowl of cereal!

  • Find a friend who will keep you accountable. Having someone else who shuns a pricey outing to the day spa for a walk along the beach instead will make you feel better about saying ‘no’ to expensive events that will blow the budget.

  • Refinance your home loan to release some funds. If you have a mortgage, talk to us at Blue Ink Finance about the possibility of refinancing your home loan to allow you to release some equity to help clear your high interest, personal debt. It’s not always the best strategy, but it’s worth investigating, especially if you can consolidate it into a home loan that has a significantly lower interest rate.

  • If your income increases, leverage it! The only place that extra money should go is into paying off more debt. Enough said!

  • Refine and polish your budget as your circumstances change. Your budget shouldn’t stay the same. As you find more ways to decrease your expenditure and become adept at sticking to your financial plan, fine-tune your budget to reflect your savvy saving. Any spare change goes directly onto your debt.

  • Automate payments of bills, so you don’t spend the money first. This saves you from late fees if you forget, too.

The reality is that you won’t have a profitable budget until you get rid of that high-interest debt. The beauty of a budget is that it can get you there! Knock the debt, stay away from borrowing except for assets like property, and you’ll have a well-oiled financial plan that kicks goals instead of paying lenders!

At Blue Ink Finance, we have a team of expert brokers as well as a panel of industry experts that understand all the nuances of positioning your personal finances to kick real goals with Property Assets and can support you in achieving your goals.

Give the team at Blue Ink Finance a call on 1300 888 796 or click here to request your Complimentary Finance Review with one of our experienced Finance Coaches now.

And see how having a panel of industry experts on your side, can fast track your property goals.

About The Author

David Wegener
Chief Executive Officer
Blue Ink Finance

Who I am, and why I want to help you succeed.

As an award-winning Mortgage Broker with nearly 20 years’ experience in the finance industry, I’ve seen it all.

I’ve gone through constant industry changes and yet I still successfully help my customers borrow the money they need to get ahead.

As a Finance Coach, my goal is to help you understand your financial potential so that you can borrow with confidence.

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Leveraging your Blue Ink Finance Broker for more than just a loan.
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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Dale, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

" ["fulltext"]=> string(3002) "

Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Sydney
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Can property presentation result in a higher valuation?

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