In December 2019, the Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Michael Sukkar MP announced that the Board of Taxation (Board) would undertake a review of capital gains tax (CGT) roll-over rules.
The purpose of the review is set out in the terms of reference.
Terms of reference
The taxation law currently allows certain CGT events to occur without crystallising liabilities to tax in circumstances where it is considered appropriate for the CGT liability to be deferred until a later time (i.e. the CGT liability is ‘rolled over’). Over time, the provisions catering for these circumstances have multiplied to the point where navigating the law is difficult.
The Board of Taxation (Board) is requested to identify and evaluate opportunities to rationalise the existing CGT rollovers and associated provisions into a simplified set that have a substantially similar practical effect, but are easier to use and interpret. This may give rise to recommendations to repeal unnecessary rollovers, or express them in a more principled fashion, so that one can do the work of many. In doing so the Board should have regard to the two main categories of rollovers, namely, rollovers where there is no change in underlying economic ownership after the CGT event and rollovers where the disposal is involuntary (i.e. effectively forced upon the taxpayer at a particular time rather than occurring at a time chosen by them).
If the Board comes to the view that the system would benefit from additional categories of rollovers to complement the two key principles above, then the Board may suggest these as options for the Government to consider. In doing so, the Board should ensure that any proposals that defer capital gains tax encourage the active use of assets in the economy and, consequently, support the payment of income tax on profits generated from using those assets (for example, when compared with no change in ownership).
In general, the Board’s proposed principles-based rollovers should simplify the process of giving advice on rollovers and reduce the regulatory burden on affected businesses, while:
- protecting the tax system against the risk that any CGT deferral becomes permanent; and
- having regard to the overall revenue cost of the system of rollovers and the integrity of the tax system generally.
The Board should identify the advantages and disadvantages of its proposals, any potential revenue cost, and any relevant integrity concerns. The Board should also consider the broader effects of any proposed changes outside of the CGT provisions.
The Board is asked to report back to the Government by 30 November 2020.
The Board has established a working group for the review, comprising Craig Yaxley (Chair), Ann-Maree Wolff and Mark Pizzacalla, representatives from the tax profession, academia, Treasury and the ATO.
The Board has prepared a consultation guide for stakeholder review and input. The paper sets out the current suite of roll-overs and the policy considerations that are central to evaluating and improving the framework of roll-over relief. It also poses a number of questions for interested parties to think about when formulating input to the review.
The Board invites your participation in the series of roundtable consultation sessions:
- Melbourne – Thursday, 20 February 2020.
- Video conferencing – beginning Thursday, 21 May 2020. These virtual consultations will replace the face-to-face consultations originally scheduled over March and April 2020.
Please register your interest in attending one of the roundtables by emailing CGTrollovers@taxboard.gov.au.
The Board also welcomes any written submissions in response to the consultation guide. Submissions can be made to CGTrollovers@taxboard.gov.au or addressed to:
Board of Taxation Secretariat
Parkes ACT 2600
All submissions will be published except where the submission is made on a confidential basis.
UPDATE: The closing date for making submissions has been extended to 31 May 2020.
If you are unable to attend a consultation and would like to provide feedback, please contact the Board’s Secretariat to discuss other ways you can share your views at CGTrollovers@taxboard.gov.au or +61 2 6263 4366.