Renting out the home…

Question

Hi,

From what I understood you don’t have to pay CGT when selling a property that was your main-residence within the last 6 years then you don’t have to pay CGT on it.

On another point in the book you write that one has to move into the property as soon as possible.
There are 2 cases that I would consider relevant for me that I would need clarification on:
1) I’m looking for properties now and it looks like many of them have tenants in there and I would have to wait for their contact to run out before I can move in. Does that have adverse tax effects?
2) I might rent my home out when being on a longer vacations (3 months)


Thanks

Joe

Answer


Regarding your first paragraph, that is correct providing it was never used to produce income while you were living there, you moved into it as soon as practical after settlement and you never covered another place with your main residence exemption during that time.

1) Very adverse consequences, not moving in immediately after settlement because of tenants means that you will always have a sleeping CGT bill on that property and never be able to reset its cost base if you later move out and rent it out. What you would need to do when you sell it is work out the whole capital gain over the whole period you owned it then apportion between the days it was not covered by your main residence exemption and the days it was, paying tax on the portion not covered. It is the record keeping that is the problem but it is worth taking very seriously, section 110-25(4) allows you to increase the cost base by anything you have not otherwise claimed a tax deduction for, such as rates, insurance, interest, cleaning materials, light globes etc etc while you are living there. Nevertheless, I would recommend you stipulate that the contract must be for vacant possession. Offer to delay settlement until the tenant has moved out. No doubt the interest you would be paying plus rates for the period would be more than the rent you received so you are getting the capital growth during that period with no outlay. From the sellers point of view they have a sure sale in a difficult market.
2) You need to first move into the property setup a home there then rent it out while on holiday. The only downside of this is, renting it out will reset the cost base (under section 118-192) to the market value at that time and all expenses before that will be ignored. If the period you live there is only short then it may only mean that your cost base is reduced by the stamp duty and other buying costs because the market value is still what you paid for it. Though if the property remains covered by you main residence exemption until you sell it that will not be problem. Note section 118-192 only applies the first time you rent it out and works well when the property has been your home for many years.

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