Kiwis face new tax on house sale profits in latest Australian policy surprise

New Zealand expatriates who sell their family home in Australia could face a large tax on any capital gains.

The Australian Budget earlier in May removed an exemption from capital gains tax on a main residence for foreign and temporary tax residents.

New Zealanders who already own a home would not have to pay the tax if they sold the home before 2019.

OzKiwi chairman Timothy Gassin said expats could have to pay a tax of up to 50 per cent on any profits under the proposed changes, which is still being considered by the Australian Treasury.

He said many Kiwis living in Australia were classed as "temporary tax residents" and would therefore be captured by the Budget change.

It was not clear whether the policy intentionally targeted New Zealanders, he told Radio New Zealand.

"What we're really trying to determine is, did [the Australian Government] actually think this through? Was this intentional or have Kiwis just been caught up in what's really a policy that is supposed to be targeting foreign property investors, rather than people who are based here?"

It is not yet known whether the New Zealand Government was notified of the policy change.

Prime Minister Bill English said he had not seen any details about the proposal.

"Anyone who lives in Australia, of course is subject to the Australian Government's Budget decisions. And if they're acting on foreign buyers or non-resident taxpayers ... then it's possible Kiwis are caught up in that.

Brownlee received an assurance some weeks ago that New Zealand would be told of any policy shifts which affected New Zealanders living in the country.

That assurance came after New Zealand expressed frustration with the lack of notice for major immigration and education changes announced in the last two months.

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