CGT rollover when transferring assets in a divorce

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CGT rollover when transferring assets in a divorce
CGT rollover when transferring assets in a divorce

Transferring the ownership of assets from one party to another may attract CGT. However, in the event that a change in ownership occurs due to the breakdown of a relationship, you may be eligible for a rollover of the asset.

A rollover allows taxpayers to defer or disregard a capital gain or loss that would normally arise on a CGT event. Specifically, a same asset rollover can occur when an individual transfers assets to their ex-spouse, as the transferee already has an involvement with the asset. The spouse who receives the asset will make the capital gain or loss when they dispose of the asset in future. They will also receive the cost base of the asset (the cost of the asset at the time of its initial purchase), as well as expenses incurred when acquiring, holding and disposing of the asset.

The rollover applies to CGT events that occur as a result of:

  • An order of a court or a court order made by consent under the Family Law Act 1975 (foreign laws with similar logistics may also apply).
  • A court order under a state, territory, or foreign law relating to the breakdown of a relationship.
  • A binding financial agreement, or a corresponding written agreement.

Separating couples transferring assets in accordance with a binding financial agreement will not require court intervention, however, for rollover to apply, the following must be true at the time of transfer:

  • the involved spouses are separated,
  • there is no reasonable expectation of cohabitation resuming,
  • the transfer of assets occurred for reasons directly related to the breakdown of the relationship. For example, the transfer may not be directly connected to the separation if the spouses already agreed to the transfer before the breakdown of their relationship.

Couples with informal or private agreements related to the transfer of assets will not be eligible for a rollover, and CGT will apply to these ownership transfers. The parties cannot choose whether or not the rollover applies to their situation.

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