Capital Gains Tax Property Valuation: Why Every Investor Needs One

Tuan Duong

A capital gains tax property valuation is required by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to calculate the capital gain you may have made on the sale of your investment property. 

Valuations are required for several tax reasons. For capital gains tax purposes, a valuation is used to set the cost base.

But, while it is an ATO requirement to have a capital gains tax property valuation, it’s also beneficial for you to take advantage of an increased cost base. The higher the cost base, the less capital gain you’ll have to report. 

So, understanding how to use a capital gains tax property valuation would be to your benefit.

Here’s what you need to know. 

What is Capital Gains Tax?

Before delving into capital gains tax property valuations, you should have a foundational understanding of why you have to pay capital gains tax. 

When you sell your property, the difference between how much you paid for it and how much you sold it for is either known as a capital gain or a capital loss. 

According to the ATO, if you profit from the sale of your investment property, that profit is considered a capital gain and must be declared on your income tax return. 

The tax you have to pay on your net capital gain is known as capital gains tax or CGT.

Note: It’s not a separate tax but rather forms part of your assessable income for the year. So, you’ll pay CGT at your income tax rate. 

Capital Gains Tax Exemptions

The ATO allows property investors to avoid (or at least significantly reduce) paying capital gains tax if they fall into one of the CGT exemption and concession categories. 

These include the following: 

What Is a Capital Gains Tax Property Valuation?

The ATO requires property investors to submit a capital gains tax property valuation report to establish the capital gain they may have made on the sale of their investment property. 

So, a capital gains tax property valuation report is used to help identify the capital increase or decrease of your property asset. 

You can use an online capital gains tax calculator to give you a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay. However, submitting a capital gains tax property valuation is an ATO requirement. Plus, an accurate valuation can be crucial in making sure that you don’t pay more tax than you need. 

Factoring in all of the expenses that occur when purchasing, acquiring or selling the property can significantly increase your cost base and, in turn, reduce the amount of capital gain you have to declare. 

What Is a Property’s Cost Base?

Remember, a capital gain = selling price – cost base.

The property’s cost base includes the purchase price and expenses less any grants and depreciation: 

 Cost base Purchase price + Expenses – (grants + depreciation)

If you include expenses in your cost base, you’ll reduce your capital gains when you file your tax return.

Cost Base Expenses

  • Incidental Costs: legal fees, stamp duty and, among other expenses, rental advertisement fees
  • Ownership Costs: expenses incurred when searching and inspecting properties
  • Title Costs: the expense incurred through the registration of your property’s title to the Land Titles Office in your state or territory. 
  • Capital costs for improvements: renovations and repairs 

Example:

Property Investor A sells his investment property at market value to Property Investor B for $725,000. 

Property Investor A originally purchased the property for $515,000. So, the property was evaluated for capital gains tax purposes, it would be evident that they made net capital gains of $210,000. 

However, Property Investor A orders a Duo Tax Capital Gains Valuation Report to factor in any relevant expenses on his cost base. 

Based on the Duo Tax Capital Gains Valuation Report, the following expenses were added to their cost base: 

  • Incidental costs and stamp duty: $23,510
  • Title costs: $1,200
  • Renovations: $83,260

After taking into account these expenses, Property Investor A’s taxable capital gain is as follows: 

Cost base = $515,000 + ($23,150 + $1,200 + $83,260) = $622,970

Capital gain = $725,000 – $622,970 = $102,030 

$102,030 x 50% (because they have owned the property for more than 12 months) = $51,015

So, Property Investor A only needs to declare $51,015 (instead of $210,000) on their income tax return to reflect their capital gain. 

Note: our property valuation reports offer both existing and retrospective capital gains tax property valuations to help calculate the tax you pay on your property’s capital gain.

Retrospective Property Valuation For Tax Purposes

A retrospective capital gains tax property valuation is a valuation of a property at a specific time in the past. 

As your capital gains tax liabilities will depend on the property’s increase in value from the time it was purchased or first used as an investment property to the time it is being sold, it may be necessary to conduct a retrospective capital gains tax property valuation – especially if you’re unsure whether the price in the original sale agreement was an accurate valuation. 

Another example of where a retrospective capital gains tax property valuation would be used is if the investment property had extensive renovations completed and no record of those costs. 

Because the renovation expenses can affect the current valuation figures in contrast to the original date, these changes must be taken into account. 

Key Takeaways 

A capital gains tax property valuation report records whether there was a capital increase or decrease of your investment property. 

This is generally required by the ATO when declaring the capital gain on your annual tax return. However, by identifying capital expenses, a capital gains tax property valuation can also play a vital role in reducing the amount of capital gain you declare and, ultimately, the amount of tax you’ll end up paying. 

Because a property valuation typically requires a thorough inspection of the property and its costs, you’ll need an expert property valuer to produce the report for you. 

Duo Tax has assembled a team of property valuation experts with the single mission of helping you with all manners of property valuation.

We offer both existing and retrospective capital gains tax property valuations to help calculate the tax you pay on your property’s capital gain.

To get the best possible advice on your CGT options and to enquire about our Capital Gains Report and capital gains tax property valuation, get in touch with us today.

FAQs

What Is a Net Capital Loss and How Does It Affect My Taxable Income?

A net capital loss occurs when the total of your capital losses exceeds your capital gains for the year. This loss can be carried forward to offset other capital gains in future years, reducing your taxable income in those years.

What Happens If My Capital Losses Exceed My Capital Gains for the Year?

If your capital losses are greater than your capital gains, you have a net capital loss. This can’t be deducted from your other income but can be carried forward to offset capital gains in future years.

How Does a Capital Gain or Loss Impact My Current Taxable Income?

Capital gains increase your current taxable income, which may result in a higher tax liability. Conversely, if you have a net capital loss, you cannot directly reduce your current taxable income, but you can use it to offset other capital gains in the future.

If I Have Other Capital Gains, Can They Be Offset by Capital Losses from My Property?

Yes, if you have other capital gains from different investments, you can offset them with capital losses from your property. This can help reduce your overall capital gains tax liability.

Do I Always Have to Pay Tax on the Capital Gain from the Sale of My Property?

Not necessarily. There are exemptions and concessions, like the 50% discount if you’ve owned the property for at least 12 months. Additionally, if you have capital losses, they can offset your capital gains, potentially reducing the tax you need to pay.

How Can a Capital Gains Tax Property Valuation Help Me Determine the Tax I Need to Pay?

A Capital Gains Tax Property Valuation provides an accurate assessment of the capital increase or decrease of your property. Factoring in all expenses related to the property helps determine the true capital gain or loss, ensuring you don’t pay tax more than necessary.

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Disclaimer: Please note that every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this guide is accurate. You should note, however, that the information is intended as a guide only, providing an overview of general information available to property investors. This guide is not intended to be an exhaustive source of information and should not be seen to constitute legal or tax advice. You should, where necessary, seek a second professional opinion for any legal or tax issues raised in your investing affairs.

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Tuan Duong

Tuan is an award winning Quantity Surveyor and leads Duo Tax Quantity Surveyors – Australia’s fastest growing provider of Tax Depreciation.

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