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Deborah Russell: does New Zealand actually have a capital gains tax?

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, April 17th, 2015 - 65 comments
Categories: capital gains, class war, tax - Tags: ,

Capital gains tax is back under discussion, with the Governor of the Reserve Bank practically pleading with the government to do something about absurd property prices in Auckland (one, two).

A capital gains tax is not the only measure that can be taken to help cool an overheated property market, and it’s not even the only possible tax measure. There are other tax based steps that could be taken. Nevertheless, on cue, up popped the Minister of Housing to claim that property investors are already subject to tax (interview on Morning Report, at 6.48). The unspoken conclusion is that therefore, no other tax based measures are required.

So is it true that property investors are already taxed?

Well, yes. But it’s not quite as true as Nick Smith and the Property Investors Federation would like it to be.

Residential property investors pay tax on rental income, much as any other business pays tax on their sales income. They get to claim expenses, such as interest, rates, repairs and maintenance, insurance, management fees, and so on. That’s all regular and routine, and it’s not really the focus of the discussion around capital gains.

What is really at issue is whether property investors pay tax on the gain on sale of the houses they own. We see this issue when people say things such as, “New Zealand already has a capital gains tax.

So do property investors pay tax on capital gains?

Yes, and no.

Under New Zealand tax law, if you buy something with the intention of resale, or if you are in the business of trading in something (eg. electrical goods, baked beans, cars, whatever), or you’re in business in general (architects, lawyers, plumbers, whatever) then you are caught in the income tax net. (Income Tax Act section CB1,, CB2,. There are some specialist rules around buying and selling land (section CB6 ff) but the major effect of these rules is to reinforce the basic rules: you get taxed on gains on sale if you acquire something with the purpose of resale, or you’re in business.

For example, if you hold a portfolio of shares, and you acquire them for the purpose of dividend income, and you hold onto each parcel for a long time, and you don’t engage in buying and selling shares on a regular basis, then those shares will look like a capital investment, and any gain on sale won’t be caught in the income tax net, should you sell any of them. On the other hand, if you regularly buy and sell shares on the stock exchange, then chances are you will be regarded as a trader, and you will end up paying income tax on any gains on sale.

A more down to earth example: imagine that you spend your time scouting around garage sales and second hand stores, spotting bargains and snapping them up, and then reselling them on Trade Me. That might look pretty much like acquiring something with the intention of resale, or being in the business of buying and selling, and IRD will be asking for its share of your gains, or profits.

So when people claim that New Zealand already has a capital gains tax, they’re sort of right.

But really, they’re wrong. We have a tax on people who are in business, or who acquire something intending to sell it. What we don’t have is a tax on the gain on sale of assets like rental houses and farms and business premises that were NOT bought with the intention or resale. So there is no thorough going tax on capital gains in New Zealand.

You might try to argue that of course, if someone buys a rental property, then obviously they intend to sell it at some time in the future, and so the gain on sale will be taxable.

But, it’s not so obvious. If you buy the property, and hang onto it for a long time, and you find tenants for it and rent it out, then it very much starts to look as though you bought the house with the intention of earning rental income from it. And that means that although the rental income is assessable, the house itself gets classed as capital, and so any gain on the sale of the house is not subject to income tax.

You could even try arguing that the property owner’s real intention was resale, and holding the property and renting it out was just a cover-up. But in order to police that, IRD would need the ability to get inside people’s minds. Thankfully, they don’t have that power. IRD has to go on what people actually do, based on documentary evidence. And the evidence in this case points to the house being a capital asset, and so not subject to income tax on sale.

So if you’re a property investor who buys and sells houses regularly, then yes, you will be subject to income tax on those gains on sale. But most property investors buy and hold and rent out their properties. The properties are capital assets, and so any gains on (long delayed) sales fall out of the income tax net.

And that’s why it’s just a bit disingenuous to claim that property investors pay tax already. Yes, they do. Just not on the huge capital gains they make that comprise the bulk of their increase in wealth.

65 comments on “Deborah Russell: does New Zealand actually have a capital gains tax? ”

  1. Vaughan Little 1

    I wonder if you could weaponize the current tax on flipping properties (which is what the tax you discuss appears to amount to in the context of the property trade) so that a finance minister could shift the rate upwards if a bubble was deemed to be developing in a particular part of the economy. or would it be too hard to make income tax sensitive to the underlying asset that was being traded…

  2. saveNZ 2

    I personally think a capital gains tax will not work to ease the market in Auckland and make houses more affordable.

    The main problem in Auckland is foreign investors and immigration. If more people are coming into the country to live then a capital gains means nothing as generally the family home is exempt

    The main problem to the affordability and lack of supply is the price of building and cost of infrastructure is very high. Construction is much higher per square meter in NZ, than Australia and the US. Apparently a water meter costs $10k to install, used to be $500 but there are monopolies everywhere. Vector for power etc. The commerce commission with people like Paula Rebstock are doing nothing about this.

    What would happen with capital gains tax is only the few honest investors would pay it, and the rest would tie IRD up in litigation. There are so many loop holes with capital gains I could go on and on. What happens when you improve, go back to live in the house, etc etc. There is little revenue from the capital gains.

    To ease the housing speculation I see targeting consumption as more likely to succeed. I am more for a small stamp duty like 0.05 percent on each sale, with first home owners exempt under $500,000 or the like. That would dampen speculation from people on-selling frequently which is more common than rental investors selling. It would not crash the market like a sudden capital gains tax might do.

    A stamp duty would instantly boost revenue to this country and target the very wealthy the most. A 10 million dollar house or farm would provide an instant $50k in revenue all collected via the solicitor on the title transfer.

    People are quite happy to pay 4% to real estate agents, how about the boasting up the coffers of the government as well as just make people think twice before on selling as well as getting tough on construction companies and infrastructure companies racking it in.

    Rents are high because there is a shortage of landlords in Auckland. A stamp duty would encourage these people to hold onto rental properties longer therefore increasing supply and stability in the sector.

    • “foreign investors” and “immigration” are two very different things and I’m not sure what the point is in conflating them.

      The ODT reports that over a third of house sales are going to speculators:
      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/politics/339273/little-target-auckland-speculators

      Take the tax-free profit out of speculation and that frees up a lot of property for first home buyers, no matter where they’re from.

      • Colonial Rawshark 2.1.1

        “foreign investors” and “immigration” are two very different things and I’m not sure what the point is in conflating them.

        They are factors which contribute to and aggregate into net demand for scarce housing.

        • But one involves an actual practical use for the house, and the other involves deliberately inflating the housing bubble to make a quick buck.

          Since they’re different things, lumping them together into “the main problem” is nonsensical.

          I mean, we could also say “The main problem in Auckland is knitting clubs and monotheists” but that would also make no sense, since they’re different issues.

          • saveNZ 2.1.1.1.1

            There are two main problems I am saying, yes they are different things but both contribute to the high cost of houses in particular Auckland and I think Christchurch due to demand.

            I am just totally sick of this attitude of people putting these stupid ideological discusses out there who seem to know little of the housing market, taxation, and construction and renting.

            There is a ‘punishment’ element in the discourses and a lack of understanding of what is driving the demand. The capital gains tax won’t work because the only people it will probably catch are rental investors who are the 2nd shortage after the 1st home owners!

            Labour’s policy of ‘punishing’ the 65% on Kiwis who currently own homes with the idea of ‘crashing’ the market did not go down well.

            The case in point in the herald today

            Stuart Duncan sold his 1982 fibre-cement home at 116 Oaktree Ave in Browns Bay in November 2013 for $751,000

            Now the new owners have on-sold for $1,205,000 – despite doing little work on the property – giving them a 16-month profit of $454,000 – about $940 a day.

            If this family lived in the property for 16 months and made a profit. Under the capital gains would not have to pay anything because it is their family home!

            If there was a stamp duty they would have to pay something either way and so would the previous owner and the current owner when they subdivide and sell.

            Apparently the huge price increase is due to they gained consent to subdivide.
            Next

            Deputy Governor Grant Spencer urged the Government to take another look at a capital gains tax on property investors to dampen demand, allow higher-density development and cut red tape for planning consents to address the over-heated Auckland market.

            Now how the hell would that dampen demand in this case? The family will pay not capital gains if it is there family home.

            The new owner was likely to demolish the existing dwelling and build two new houses.

            Making it cheaper to subdivide (a common Nat discourse) is fuelling the speculation and not damping demand at all. It is just making it cheaper and easier more profit for the developer.

            The Nats are selling off all the state land with the idea that those buying will be able to subdivide willy nilly and make extra profits. The government in some cases is sitting on land around Auckland for 11 years without building on it. They are the main speculators!

            The councils own figures show there is an increase in building consents and subdivisions but not much actual increase in houses. If you went further my guess is those going through are more expensive builds for richer people.

            Nothing being said so far is addressing real solutions in NZ.

            Also people need to address the problem of how to make houses more affordable to first home owners who reside here which I think is most people’s main concern. (I’m assuming that an immigrant coming in with 2million does not need the NZ governments help but I might be wrong that ‘first’ home owner needs help too?)

            So my view is the people to target to help is low spend first home owners.

            While carefully managing speculation.

            While making sure government can actually enforce and transparently make a profit from it.

            While managing ALL aspects of the process including building materials costs and the monopolies in the infrastructure. Vector/metrowater etc.

            Hello can’t see this government doing that.

            Also most immigrants vote National so can’t see that being targeted.

            Labour and even the Greens have just gone with the MSM discourse.

            • saveNZ 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Another idea is a ‘land’ tax. Again this is already there in the form of council rates.

              A land tax would be disastrous for our farming and agriculture which is a main stay of our economy.

              Do people want to see more intensive farming, more animals locked up in cages and barns which high land values would bring.

              Do people want to see all the paddocks and forests gone because people can’t afford the taxes on having ‘trees’ and ‘lakes’ and other natural and unprofitable resources on their land.

              Do people want to see huge complexity in taxation on this issue as the governments try to plug successive holes to even it up?

            • Stephanie Rodgers 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Thanks for the epic rant, but literally the only thing I was pointing out is that you were treating “immigration and foreign investors” as a single issue.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Net demand on scarce housing is the issue. Immigration and foreign investors are important factors to be managed within that issue. Of course you can construct the problem how you want, as long as it leads to developing a nuanced problem analysis which helps to actually understand and solve the problem.

                But one involves an actual practical use for the house, and the other involves deliberately inflating the housing bubble to make a quick buck.

                Loads of overlap there.

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.2

      To ease the housing speculation I see targeting consumption as more likely to succeed. I am more for a small stamp duty like 0.05 percent on each sale,

      Why would you elect for such a small stamp duty when as you inferred the real estate agent’s fee is 80x higher.

      Allow one property sale/purchase every three years. Every additional sale/purchase attracts a 5% stamp duty.

  3. Brendon Harre 3

    An alternative to Capital Gains Tax is converting local government rates from a capital value tax to a land value tax -LVT. This has the advantage of targeting the actual thing that is inflating in value -land.

    There is a lot of theoretical support for LVT and has been since Henry George first promoted it as a solution to inequality in the 1900s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_George

    With respect to Auckland’s housing bubble and the Reserve Banks concerns a LVT would help by reducing the marginal cost of intensification -i.e. building apartments, while increasing the holding costs of land that is not being used productively, so it discourages land banking.

    There was a discussion about LVT by a lot of contributors in the comment stream of an article about the Reserve Bank’s announcement here.
    http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/75022/reserve-banks-decision-press-government-action-overheating-auckland-house-market-admis

    There is also a lot of discussion about why National has not fixed housing affordability.

    • Scintilla 3.1

      Interesting ideas on that reply thread – “waymad”‘s notion of a National Policy Statement is worthwhile.
      I also think there’s merit in requiring migrants and foreign investors to build new. Ditto, if we actually had a government with a vision of what NZ could be like, they would actively encourage investment and development in the provinces. In fact, that could be a condition of foreign investment – that it was anywhere but Auckland.

      Here’s a short version of waymad’s National Policy Statement:

      National Policy Statement: we hereby proclaim that the scale, nature and degree of change to a community and to natural and physical resources, caused by the housing shortage in Auckland, and the generally parlous state of housing construction and land development nationwide, is of significance to New Zealand.

      Therefore, pursuant to the RMA 1991, and having considered matters under Sec 45(2)(f), all TLA’s are required to adhere to the following National Policy Statement:
      – a land tax not to exceed 3% of the deemed annual value of the land (pursuant to Schedule 2 (7) of the Rating Act 2002) shall be levied by all TLA’s
      – the proceeds of this tax are to be used as follows:
      1 – immediate substitution for all Development Contributions and like imposts, – such imposts are deemed uncollectable as from the date of implementation of this Statement
      2 – infrastructure development to allow new housing, new towns, and intensification of existing appropriate areas, to be expedited.
      3 – research into and implementation incentives for modularised, multi-proof-consented, factory-built accommodation initiatives.

      • Brendon Harre 3.1.1

        Thanks Scintilla, there is a lot of policies that could make housing more affordable, land value taxes would be one. But as Waymad said the most important thing we need is politicians with cojones….

  4. keyman 4

    there is no housing problem its just losers who cant afford houses John key says there isn’t really a problem. the problem is bludgers wanting a free launch

    • outofbed 4.1

      i want a free launch

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.2

      the top 1% love free lunches…that’s why they hate taxation

    • Poe’s law, named after its author Nathan Poe, is a literary adage which stipulates that, without a clear indicator of an author’s intention, it is often impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of such extremism.

      • North 4.3.1

        Keyman @ 4 above may be a fine example of Poe’s Law in action.

        The very choice of pseudonym, together with “John Key says…..”, together with “there isn’t ‘really’ a problem…..”, suggests the parody.

        On the other hand “bludgers wanting a free launch” (sic) suggests the chokingly sincere extremism of the thick old ostrich, blaming the sand for the discomfort in its deeply buried head.

        Whom would know ? You out there Fisiani ? Can you assist please ?

    • ropata 4.4

      yes the problem is bludgers that own several investment properties getting a massive free lunch with help from the FJK nactoid old boys club.

  5. greywarshark 5

    Someone on Radionz this week, I can’t find who, said that our present CGT is drawn up in such a way that it is rarely triggered. Something to do with an expectation or intention from the first, to buy a house intending to just sell for a profit. Hard to prove intention so the law doesn’t get used.

  6. Herodotus 6

    IMO a CGT would do little to temper any property bubble, it would broaden the tax base. No one has mentioned what this increase in tax revenue would be put into use. In the 2011 election campaign, labour proposed that part of the benefit from a CGT would be offset by the $5,000 tax free threshold.
    Also yesterday nick smith when being interviewed by Kim hill, mentioned that Nat had removed the ability to claim depreciation and how much this has saved, what he neglected to follow up on was that when the property is sold the depreciation claimed previously should be repaid back on disposal ( should there be no capital loss – as if that happens in the Auckland market ) so it is a timing issue and not as inferred that this is a continual benefit to the countries tax take.
    And this continual reference that there is already a CGT is false, people who trade on property by a profit on the profit they achieve thru trading, just like any other commercial/ business activity.

    • Ron 6.1

      In fairness to Nick Smith he thought he was being interviewed by Scary Mary. He probably thought it was night also as Mary is on Checkpoint. Even though Kim tried to tell him several times that it was Kim he still insisted on calling her Mary. You have to wonder where National digs up these people to stand as MP’s.

      • North 6.1.1

        Nah, he knew he was being interviewed by Kim……that’s why he was all-a-jitter.
        Mary yells, distractingly often, but Kim kills. Can’t recall any Kim/GodKey interviews. Links anyone ?

  7. Colonial Rawshark 7

    What needs to be done to bring house prices back to 5x or 6x the average wage. That is the international standard for even vaguely affordable housing. None of the individual measures, nor range of measures, political types are talking about so far has any hope of even beginning that process in centres like Auckland or Christchurch.

    I suspect that our political and financial leaders aren’t serious about dealing with the issue because too many NZers like house prices high.

    This is an issue of intergenerational equity.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      I suspect that our political and financial leaders aren’t serious about dealing with the issue because too many NZers like house prices high.

      That is, as a matter of fact, the problem. If the government does anything to lower house prices they’re going to get voted out and any opposition with policies that will lower house prices won’t get voted in. National knows this and Labour probably does as well and so this is how capitalist societies get destroyed by the rich.

      The poor want to be rich as well and so we get policies that cater to the rich and the political parties keep telling people that they can be which brings about the inevitable destruction of the economy because we simply don’t have the resources available for everyone to be rich.

    • saveNZ 7.2

      @CR

      That’s one of the problems. The average wage in NZ is so low.

  8. coaster 8

    with immigration, simply stop them settling in auckland.

    a cgt would have an impact on the speculators as there would be better investments.

    the other option is to just leave it and let the market correct things.
    at some stage the house price in auckland will get so high that it will be better for first home buyers to move out of aucland, work on minimum wage and buy a house for 250k or less.

    • Herodotus 8.1

      Where would you get a 13% return on investment over the last year. Taxing this as labour postured at a rate of 15% still gives a net return exceeding 10 % and the tax is paid on realisation I.e when you sell the property. Also what other investment will the banks allow debt equity ratio of 80:20?
      And whilst the investment property is appreciating it is still generating $30k rental income.

      • Ian 8.1.1

        I have made over 100 % on my meridian shares since I bought them Just before the last election. The dividents just keep rolling in too .I bought them with my own cash and out of principle because I could see that politicians had talked the price down. But that was a one off and your right,buying and selling Auckland property is really the only game in town.

    • Lanthanide 8.2

      “a cgt would have an impact on the speculators as there would be better investments.”

      Not sure what you mean. If you mean “better investments than housing”, then yes, that’s the entire point – get people to invest in productive industries that generate wealth, not a passive sector such as housing where they are literally just rent-seeking on an asset.

      “the other option is to just leave it and let the market correct things.”

      The whole point of regulation is to curb the excesses of the market, in an attempt to keep the market on a steady path to growth, instead of a boom-and-bust cycle that creates malinvestment followed by unnecessary hardship and wealth destruction.

  9. Scintilla 9

    Is there anything stopping the govt implementing solutions targeted only at Auckland? I noted some responses from provincial mayors along the lines of not wanting anything that would negatively impact real estate in the provinces, like a CGT, LTV ratios change.

    Surely a temporary, hard-hitting set of responses could be tailored to fit – I simply do not believe that it is too hard to fix.

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      Is there anything stopping the govt implementing solutions targeted only at Auckland?

      Only the brain fade and clumsy self-interest of our nation’s leadership elite.

  10. linda 10

    house prices have already passed the point of no return cgt or no cgt
    60 percent of all loans are housing related the fate of the new Zealand economy banks rests with the housing market ,one could argue that our greed stupidity has sealed our countries fate ,the hour is late the boom will move to bust.collateral damage and wealth destruction will be felt far and wide in an economy of no real substance that has been gutted and trashed and no amount of bull and lies from the god key is going solve this end game wipe out.

    • Sacha 10.1

      So how do we avoid the correction wiping out productive businesses as well as greedy property speculators? I figure semi-greedy but not well-resourced house owners are stuffed no matter what.

      • Brendon Harre 10.1.1

        NZ is a young country with a massive deficit in infrastructure in comparison to similar developed countries. Auckland has only a half a public transport system. Christchurch is still munted. We still have single lane bridges on major highways. We need more education/research to aid the diversification of our economy. And so on…..

        So should the worst hit, like the First Labour government we don’t need to choose austerity BS we can have a government that invests in needed public institutions.

      • dave 10.1.2

        You cant tapper a ponzi scheme and housing is by its nature is a ponzi scheme requiring new entrants to pay every greater prices and accommodation supplement just adds more air to the bubble. the complete disconnect between income to debt is to large ,reserve bank has landlords on a watch list for defaults and are now pleading to the god key for a cgt all sounds desperate the house of cards falling, nz house hold debt is the 3rd highest in the world

        • Colonial Rawshark 10.1.2.1

          The day of reckoning is going to be ugly, especially in Auckland.

          Will be a good excuse for a Tory government to sell off more assets on the cheap to bail out indebted Auckland property speculators. Middle class voters will cheer such a measure on and even Labour will support it as an emergency necessity.

  11. vto 11

    Pretty much every single person I have ever known who has purchased an investment property has purchased it with the intention of sale.

    Sale to fund their retirement from the capital gain they expected.

    I have known virtually none who have purchased for the rental income alone.

    This is the hugest and biggest rort and fraud in NZ. Everybody looks the other way.

    And typically these same people are the ones who complain about dole fraudsters…….

  12. adam 12

    And not once has anyone mentioned accommodation supplement.

    Nope nothing to see here – move along.

    Can we mention the national parties major intervention in the market? Bill English’s idea? Corporate welfare by stealth?

    I’ll stop now – accommodation supplement a rot.

    Just remember – austerity looks different, if you don’t mention we live in austere times.

  13. Mike S 13

    They should simply change the tax rule to remove the whole ‘intention’ bs. Make it if an individual buys a residential property, it is not their first home, and they sell it within n years then they pay a CGT, simple as that.

    It should be illegal for foreigners to purchase residential property here full stop. Houses are for New Zealanders to live in, not foreigners to make money from. Let them invest in commercial property or businesses which provide jobs sure, but if they want to buy a house here then they should have to get citizenship and live here.

    It should also be illegal for any company, corporation or any entity other than a living human being to purchase residential property, to stop individuals setting up companies left right and center with the sole purpose being tax evasion.

    I know these sorts of things will never happen, I just wish sometimes a politician or PM would come along who says stuff it, this is what we’re doing, like it or lump it.

    • ropata 13.1

      Great comment. These sorts of things should happen, and can happen if enough people vote. The problem is that poor people don’t vote, and the nact old boys club like to keep them entertained not informed.

      A minor tweak – – let’s face it, *all* property purchases are investments and should be subject to CGT, with a current residence the only exception. Also a land tax in Auckland would discourage land banking or inefficient use of space in this cramped isthmus.

    • dave 13.2

      the god key voters don’t want a cgt key was on a high horse over labours cgt plans and banning none residents , reform cant be done until the whole mess falls over

  14. millsy 14

    Those poor poor property investors, the prospect of having to now choose between a fishing trip out on the boat or another cask of Moet if a CGT is imposed must keep them up at night, school fees for St Peter’s arent cheap as well, might have to send them to state school. God forbid their little darlings hang out with grubby poor people…only good for paying them rent.

    • ropata 14.1

      when will new zealanders realise that national is running a ponzi scheme?
      when the top 10% own 50% of the country? (oh look.. they already do)
      when the top 2% own 90% ?

      more unsustainable policy from the nactoid old boys corporate welfare club ™.

  15. D'Esterre 15

    The problems with speculation in housing in NZ go back a long way, and 40-odd years ago afflicted areas other than that mosquito-infected swamp north of the Bombays.

    I recall the enactment sometime in the 1970s (I think) of legislation taxing speculators. It was ineffective in slowing speculation down even then, and that was because of the reasons adduced above. That piece of legislation hasn’t been repealed, I believe; not that most people would know it.

    We moved to Auckland in the late 1970s from a provincial area where we’d sold a property. We bought another property in Auckland for slightly less than we’d got for the sale of our previous property. While we were house-hunting, a real estate agent told me that it was possible to buy a bungalow on a half-section in Remuera for $50,000. And he was right.

    We sold that Auckland house four years later for exactly twice what we’d paid for it. So rampaging house prices there aren’t anything new. But at that time it was still possible to buy modestly-sized – and priced – houses in lower-income suburbs.

    In the mid- to late-1980s, we began to see the waves of migrants from Asia – in particular China – and those migrants in general wanted bigger houses than what was being built by the likes of Fyfe, Lockwood and Beazley Homes. So the developers obliged; and that was the point, in my view, at which the unaffordability of housing in Auckland really began to take off. The phenomenon of larger and larger houses has afflicted most of the NZ housing market in the years since, but it is particularly acute in Auckland.

    What’s the answer? There aren’t any silver bullets. A range of tax measures might possibly help, but they must apply only to Auckland; the LVR restrictions have succeeded only in munting the provincial property markets, while having no effect in Auckland, it seems. Aside from that, we need a culture shift, such that developers go back to building modestly-sized houses in cheaper suburbs, and many, many more apartments. And Aucklanders must accept that their housing needs to be more like that which they’d find in large cities overseas. This is the price of big-city living; the quarter-acre paradise is only to be found in the provinces nowadays.

    • dave 15.1

      a lot of the printed money ( quantitative easing programs) credit has poured into Auckland foreigner can access money at zirp (zero interest rate policy)
      new Zealand is a tax haven for laundered dirty money list 450 names given to key by chinas president back that up

  16. indiana 16

    How has the CGT cooled house prices in Sydney or other metropolitan areas in Australia as they have had a CGT for over 15 years? Andrew Little is right when he says that a CGT is viewed as an attack on hard working New Zealanders, especially when people look to pass on their home as a inheritance. People will argue that the beneficiaries do not need to sell their inheritance to be exposed to a CGT – but all that does is impact the supply of homes, which is the real problem.

  17. tricledrown 17

    Interest on the mortgage of rentals should not allowed to be claimed.
    As it is encouraging speculative investments.
    Home owners can’t claim interest as an expense.
    So capital gains should be on all property.
    Labour could sell that Idea by cutting income taxes on income by the amount they raise from no more interest write offs and a lower capital gains tax on all houses and property.
    Why should one person pay no tax and get write offs as well,while the rest of us pay tax on all income.
    Its a rorte for capital gangsters.

  18. Sable 18

    Yet another tax. Here’s an idea, why not do what Australia did and limit foreign investment in property?

    My bet is neither National or Labour want this. Why? Because it shows just how fucked up their economic mismanagement of this country is. How the only thing holding this place together is foreign investment because they don’t have the prowess to grow the economy from within. Something that takes skill and creativity.

  19. DH 19

    Some of this is fundamentally wrong. It is not about being in business it is whether the business is investing or trading. Property investors freely admit they’re in business, there’s a guy from the Property Investors Association often saying it in the media, and they’re not taxed on capital gains.

    The IRD explain it quite clearly;

    http://www.ird.govt.nz/property/property-common-mistakes/mistake-dealing-with-investment/#facts

    It’s quite simple;

    If your business is buying & selling properties you pay CGT

    If your business is buying properties solely for the rental returns you don’t pay CGT.

    Now the simple reality is there are no property investors in Auckland, or at least very few. You can’t make a return from rents in the big cities, the interest payments on new mortgages are higher than the rental returns. Any fool can figure that out yet the IRD still don’t charge them CGT when it’s clear they must be all in it for the capital gains. That leads to the conclusion it’s deliberate Govt policy…. it’s the only thing it can be,

    • The Chairman 19.1

      @ DH

      Interest is deductible, losses aren’t ring fenced. Therefore, losses can be deducted against other income largely resulting in a cheaper home, opposed to a higher tax bill, thus the use of the structure.

  20. Paul Campbell 20

    The term “capital gains tax” means very different things in different places – the US for example has a capital gains tax that by default applies to all income from capital gains as if it were ordinary income – and taxes it at your high marginal rate – just like ordinary income.

    This applies to all capital gains whether it’s land, or in the stock market.

    There are two main exceptions:

    1) if you buy something for the purposes of a long term investment (more than 2 years I think) you can nominate it the time you buy it and when you sell it you get to claim the “capital gains rate” which is lower than the high marginal rate (25% I think)

    2) the family home (but not a 2nd holiday home) is treated specially – if you sell your home and buy another of equal value or more within 6 months no capital gains tax acrues – plus one of (because Bush changed the law):
    a) one time in your life when you sell your house and buy a cheaper house (the kids have gone, you’ve retired) there is no tax on the transaction, or
    b) (Bush’s change) every 5 years you can claim ~$250k in free capital gains on a house sale (I think this is a rort)

    I like this 1) encourages people to make long term investments on the economy, 2a) allows people to follow their normal life cycle in a sensible way that doesn’t ding people badly

    Of course if you bring in a CGT you can reduce some other taxes – perhaps solve the whole “imported stuff doesn’t pay GST” by simply getting rid of GST (and the cost of collecting it and a chunk of Customs as well) and rejiggering income taxes to suit at the same time – you don’t just start collecting GST

  21. ropata 21

    Income taxes and GST are iniquitous and punishing on middle to lower income earners. What we need is wealth tax and capital gains tax and land tax.

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