Deceased Estates

There are no inheritance or estate taxes in Australia.  The person responsible for administering a deceased estate is most commonly referred to as an executor, but could also be an administrator where letters of administration are granted by a court.  Both are considered a legal personal representative by us.

When a person dies, there are some important tax and superannuation issues for the executor and the beneficiaries, including:

 

IF YOU ARE A BENEFICIARY OF A DECEASED ESTATE

There may be some tax obligations for beneficiaries, depending on the nature of any distribution they may receive:

RECEIVING SUPER BENEFITS

If the deceased person had super, the super fund’s trustee will work out who to pay any benefit to [either as a lump sum or an income stream].  Super paid after a person’s death is called a ‘super death benefit’.  The tax on a super death benefit depends on:

  • WHETHER YOU WERE A DEPENDENT OF THE DECEASED UNDER TAXATION LAW
  • WHETHER IT IS PAID AS A LUMP SUM OR INCOME STREAM
  • WHETHER THE SUPER IS TAX-FREE OR TAXABLE AND WHETHER THE SUPER FUND HAS ALREADY PAID TAX ON THE TAXABLE COMPONENT
  • YOUR AGE AND THE AGE OF THE DECEASED PERSON WHEN THEY DIED (FOR INCOME STREAMS).

RECEIVING ASSETS

Capital gains tax (CGT) applies to the disposal of an asset; so if you receive an asset you are not affected by CGT.  If you later sell that asset, CGT may apply.

EARNING INCOME

If you as a beneficiary are presently entitled to income of the deceased estate, the income is assessable in the year your present entitlement arose, not in the year the amount is received.

For example, if you were presently entitled to the deceased estate income on 30 June 2018 but did not receive it until September 2018, you are personally assessable on that amount in the year ended 30 June 2018, not in the year ended 30 June 2019.

COMPLETING YOUR TAX RETURN

As a beneficiary, you need the following information:

  • YOUR SHARE OF TRUST INCOME TO WHICH YOU ARE PRESENTLY ENTITLED
  • THE AMOUNT OF YOUR ENTITLEMENT THAT WAS PAID TO SOMEONE ELSE FOR YOUR BENEFIT
  • THE ASSESSABLE INCOME AMOUNT
  • YOUR SHARE OF FRANKING CREDITS ASSOCIATED WITH ANY DIVIDENDS IN THE TRUST DISTRIBUTION
    • THIS MEANS THAT THE COMPANY PAYING THE DIVIDENDS HAS PAID INCOME TAX FOR THE AMOUNT.
    • IF YOU ARE AN AUSTRALIAN RESIDENT BENEFICIARY, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THE ASSOCIATED FRANKING CREDIT WHEN THE INCOME DISTRIBUTION IS INCLUDED IN YOUR TAX RETURN FOR INDIVIDUALS.

BENEFICIARIES PRESENTLY ENTITLED BUT UNDER A LEGAL DISABILITY

If you are a beneficiary presently entitled but under a legal disability you also need to know the amount of tax the trust paid on your behalf.  If you need to lodge your own tax return you are entitled to receive a tax credit for this so that the same amount isn’t taxed twice.

NON-RESIDENT BENEFICIARIES

If you are a non-resident beneficiary, you will also need to know the amount of:

  • INTEREST IN YOUR DISTRIBUTION AND THE WITHHOLDING TAX PAID
  • UNFRANKED DIVIDENDS IN YOUR DISTRIBUTION AND THE WITHHOLDING TAX PAID
  • FRANKED DIVIDENDS IN YOUR DISTRIBUTION
  • TAX THE TRUST PAID ON YOUR BEHALF

 

Kim Sandhu – Senior Accountant

CPA – B.Com M.Acc

Investment Properties – What Happens When You Sell?

Investment Properties – What happens when you sell?

When you sell an investment property, you are likely to make a capital gain or profit and will be required to pay tax on it.  The tax consequences depend on a range of issues, from whether you inherited or purchased the property, to your intention for the property if it was a new build.

In certain circumstances, an inherited property can be tax free when it is sold, but this is dependent on who you inherited the property from, how they used the property before you and when you sold it.  Was it an investment property for them or a principal place of residence?  The answers to these questions will have a bearing on whether there is no taxable capital gain or whether you will end up with a large amount of tax to pay.

Your intention for an investment property can make a difference on whether the ATO will consider it to be subject to capital gains tax or if it should be considered a profit-making venture, especially if you are building on vacant land.  Your intention should be made clear from the outset and documented to avoid complications further down the track.  If your intention is to build a property and keep it for a number of years and rent it, this leans more to the fact that it should be treated as a capital gain.  If you have to sell earlier than you had wished for, the ATO could view it as being a profit-making venture, depending on the time frame between the build being complete and the sale.  This is where documenting your intention can become important.  Where you buy vacant land, or land with a house and demolish it, then proceed to build units on the land, the ATO will consider this a profit-making venture.  In this circumstance, you are likely to be required to register for GST as well.

There are many considerations that need to be taken into account when selling an investment property and it is not always a simple process to determine the tax consequences.

 

Danny Grigg – Senior Accountant

B.Comm CA