Newsletter: September 2019

Posted On September 15, 2019

Property development & tax


The ATO seems to be always looking over the shoulder of property developers to make sure they are complying with their tax obligations.

The considerations facing the ATO can include whether an agreement to develop and sell land is a “mere realisation” or a disposal either in the course of a business or as part of a profit making undertaking or plan.

A “mere realisation” is a sale on capital account to which the capital gains tax (CGT) rules will generally apply. Landholders will usually seek this treatment if they can access CGT concessions (for example, applying the appropriate CGT discount or the small business CGT concessions) or the property is a pre-CGT asset.

A sale that is more than a mere realisation will be on revenue account and the proceeds will generally be assessable as ordinary income. The two most common scenarios where the proceeds are income are:

  1. where the land is sold in the course of a business §§ or as an incident of business operations, or
  2. where the land has been acquired and sold as part of a profit making undertaking or scheme.

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