Capital gains tax: Push to tax profits on sale of luxury family homes rejected

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

Labor has ruled out taxing family homes sales, even for high end properties. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Even the most expensive homes would stay exempt, Labor says.

Steve Ciobo rejected changes to capital gains tax exemptions on luxury homes. Photo: Paul Jeffers

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A government frontbencher has all but killed a proposal to apply capital gains tax to the sale of luxury homes by ruling it out before the Coalition even considered it.

Although a spokesman for Treasurer Scott Morrison responded to the proposal by saying the government was engaged in an open debate and consulting widely,  frontbencher Steve Ciobo told Sky News the proposal would penalise “the one industry that’s actually providing us a strong period of growth.

“There is no magic formula – if you impose more tax, then those extra taxes simply get passed on to consumers,” he said.

AMP chairman and former n of the year  Simon McKeon has backed limiting the exemption from capital gains tax to family homes worth less than $2 million, asking why those wealthy enough to own expensive homes should get a “free kick”.

Institute and National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling research finds that more than half of the benefit of the tax-free status of the family home goes to the highest-earning 20 per cent of households.

The lowest-earning 20 per cent get almost nothing.

The Labor opposition has ruled out the latest tax proposal, saying family homes of all sizes will remain exempt from capital gains tax if it takes office.

Introduced when Labor imposed the capital gains tax in 1985, the exemption costs $46 billion a year, about as much as the defence bill and the Medicare bill combined.

The  Treasury says the concession is ‘s most expensive, costing more than the concessions on superannuation, although they are set to overtake it in 2017-18.

At present only rented residential properties are subject to capital gains tax. Profits made from buying and selling family homes are completely exempt.

The Institute says the government could raise $12 billion over four years by limiting the capital gains tax exemption to houses worth less than $2 million. More than half the additional revenue would come from the top 10 per cent of earners.

Only 1 per cent of owner-occupied homes are sold for $2 million or more.

“I really don’t understand why we give such a free kick to those in the community that are lucky enough to own very expensive homes that they live in,” former n of the year Simon McKeon told The n Financial Review.

“There are plenty of homes, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne and Perth, that you just say, why should they be exempt?”

Mr Morrison said the government wanted better taxes, not a bigger tax burden.

Its goal was “to create a better tax system that removes the impediments that are holding ns back”, he said.

A spokesman for shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said while Labor had ruled out applying capital gains tax to the family home it was investigating the worth of the 50 per cent capital gain tax discount and the rules that allowed negative gearing.

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