Ask Margaret: How do I calculate capital gains on the former family home?

Ask Margaret: How do I calculate capital gains on the former family home?
Ask Margaret: How do I calculate capital gains on the former family home?

Hi Margaret,

I converted my main residence to a rental property and bought a house to live and then sold the old/rented property. The property was my principal home, built in 2009 and I occupied it from 2009 to 2015. I then rented and sold it with settlement in 2017 February. 

When calculating capital gains tax (CGT) for my old property, can I add unclaimed interest and rates  to the market valuation I got from when it first started producing income? 

For rental schedule can I include interest up to settlement date, even though the rental contract ended?




Hi Todd, 

When a former family home is subsequently rented out, there are specific rules around the subsequent capital gains tax treatment which will now apply to you.

If you do not wish to claim your principal place of residence on any other property, you can employ the absence rule which allows you to rent that property out for up to six years and, if you either sell it or move back into it within that time, you still don’t accrue a capital gains tax responsibility.

In your case, you may decide to shift that exemption to the new home you bought from the date you moved in, in which case there will be a small CGT liability for you.  Assuming you have a valuation from the date you moved out, you can reset the cost base to being that market valuation, and CGT will apply to any gain made since that time.  As your contract date is December 2016, it will qualify for the over 12 months hold period for the discount, and so the gain will be halved and then CGT applies according to your marginal rate of tax, on that amount.

You ask if you can add any unclaimed interest and rates which occurred while you lived in the property to the market valuation.  The answer to this question is no – as it was a principal place of residence, and these items have no benefits attached.  The market value is the cost base, and it is only any expense incurred after the property becomes income producing which become allowable deductions.

As for the interest, costs associated with owning a rental property can only be claimed as a yearly deduction when the property in question is ‘available’ for rent, and your property ceased being available when the rental contract ended.  However, you may be able to account for this interest in the calculations for assessing the amount of gain – essentially they may become an addition to that cost base.  It’s important that you chat to your accountant about this, as they are qualified to know all of these little nuances of property tax law, and can guide you to ensure that your tax return is prepared legally.

Kind regards,


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Margaret Lomas

Margaret Lomas

Margaret Lomas is a best-selling author and writes and hosts the popular Property Success With Margaret Lomas and Your Money, Your Call, both on Sky News. She is the founder of Destiny.

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