What is the main residence exemption?

Generally, you do not pay CGT on the sale of your private home.

residenceA full exemption should be available if the following conditions are met:
  • You are an individual who is selling a dwelling or an ownership interest in a dwelling 
  • The dwelling has been your home for the entire ownership period
  • The dwelling has not been used to produce assessable income (i.e. rented out), and
  • The dwelling is situated on land that is 2 hectares or less.

In some situations it is possible to apply a full exemption even if you have not lived in the property for the entire ownership period or where the property has been rented out for a period of time. However, the rules can be complex and need to be analysed in detail to confirm the position. 

If a full exemption is not available, it may still be possible to apply a partial exemption. The general 50% CGT discount can also be applied if you have owned the dwelling for more than 12 months (subject to your residency status).

Earlier in 2017 the Government announced that non-residents and temporary residents would no longer able to access the main residence exemption (existing properties held prior to 9 May 2017 will be able to access the exemption until 30 June 2019). However, these proposed changes are not yet law and we are still waiting on the final version of the new rules to be released.

Whether a dwelling is your main residence is a question of fact. 

The following factors are often taken into account to help determine the issue: 

  • The length of time you have lived in the dwelling
  • The place of residence of your family 
  • Whether you have moved your personal belongings into the dwelling
  • The address to which you have your mail delivered
  • Your address on the Electoral Roll
  • Your address on the Electoral Roll 
  • The connection of services such as telephone, gas and electricity, and 
  • Your intention in occupying the dwelling

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