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NZ Consults Public On Property Tax Measure

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

29 June 2015

New Zealand has released detailed design proposals for the new "bright line" test, which will require income tax to be paid on gains from the sale of residential property bought and sold within two years.

"The Government clearly signaled in Budget 2015 that it would consult with the public on the final shape of the bright-line test before it becomes law later this year," Revenue Minister Todd McClay said on June 29, 2015. "This consultation paper is an important step in the Government's plans to bolster the tax rules on property transactions and help Inland Revenue to enforce them."

McClay said the proposed bright-line test will help to clarify whether or not gains on the sale of a property are taxable. "The new bright-line test removes any doubt about a seller's 'intention' and makes it clear that all property buyers, including overseas buyers, who buy and sell a residential property within two years will be taxed on their gains," he said.

Once enacted, the bright-line test will apply to residential properties for which an agreement to purchase was entered into on or after October 1, 2015. Exemptions will only be allowed for a person's main home (including a main home held in trust), property that is transferred under a relationship property settlement, and inherited property.

The consultation paper, titled Bright-line test for sales of residential property, proposes new definitions of "residential land" and "main home," clearly identifies the dates of acquisition and disposal of a residential property so a seller and Inland Revenue know if the sale falls within the bright-line test, and clearly spells out property that will be exempt from the test.

Once Ministers have considered public feedback on the proposed changes, the new rules will be included in a tax bill to be introduced in September this year.

"The bright-line test, together with the measures introduced to Parliament last week in the Taxation (Land Information and Offshore Persons Information) Bill, will help Inland Revenue to more accurately identify investors in residential property, and ensure that they pay their fair share of tax, whether they are in New Zealand or overseas," McClay said.

TAGS: compliance | Offshore | tax | investment | real-estate investment | tax compliance | property tax | law | real-estate | New Zealand | tax reform | Tax

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