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SMSF Capital Gains Tax (CGT): How It Works for Self-Managed Funds

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June 7, 2023

Self-managed super funds (SMSFs) have become increasingly popular, giving individuals greater control over their retirement savings. 

Managing SMSF CGT (Capital Gains Tax) is an important consideration for trustees. It is essential to keep accurate records of all SMSF assets and their cost base, as this information is used to calculate capital gains.

One strategy for managing capital gains tax in an SMSF is to offset capital gains with capital losses. Any losses carried forward from previous years can be used to reduce the amount of CGT payable on capital gains in a later year. SMSFs may also benefit from the small business CGT concessions, which provide a range of tax benefits for small business owners.

It is important to remember that SMSFs are subject to various compliance requirements related to CGT. These include record-keeping obligations, such as keeping track of all capital gains and losses, and reporting requirements, such as the annual CGT schedule. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in penalties, so it is essential to seek professional advice to ensure compliance.

What is Capital Gain?

Capital gain refers to the profit made from an asset, such as shares or property, at a higher price than its original purchase price. It is calculated as the difference between the sale price and the purchase money minus any expenses incurred during the sale process.

Capital gains tax (CGT) is a tax imposed by the Australian government on any profit made from the sale of an asset. SMSFs are also subject to this tax on investments that produce capital gains. 

The CGT rate for SMSFs is 10%, with some exceptions, such as the CGT discount and the small business CGT concessions. The calculation method for CGT is the same for all taxpayers, including SMSFs. The cost base for an asset includes the purchase price and any incidental costs associated with acquiring or selling an asset, such as legal fees or brokerage fees.

If an SMSF holds an asset for at least 12 months, it may be eligible for the CGT discount. This can reduce the amount of CGT payable by up to 50%. The timing of the payment of CGT for SMSFs is determined by the date of the asset disposal. The ATO requires SMSFs to report all capital gains and losses in their annual tax return.

SMSF obtains market trends and research data to offer a comprehensive guide. SMSF advisers examine and imply the information to produce the best possible outcome for your SMSF.

Tax Rates for SMSF Capital Gains

Tax Rates for SMSF Capital Gains

Capital gains tax (CGT) applies to all investments made by self-managed super funds (SMSFs). Calculate the tax payable on CGT and SMSFs have different rates than individual taxpayers. The tax rates for SMSF capital gains are:

  • 15% for assets held for less than 12 months
  • 10% for assets held between 12 months and two years
  • 7.5% for assets held over two years

The tax rates for SMSF capital gains do not change based on the amount of taxable income or the marginal tax rate of the fund.

If an SMSF owns a small business, it may be eligible for CGT concessions when it sells the company or an asset used. The SMSF must meet criteria, including the maximum net asset value test and active asset test.

  • The maximum net asset value test requires the total net value of the SMSF’s assets to be less than $6 million.
  • The active asset test requires that the asset being sold was used in the business for at least half the ownership period.

SMSF capital gains tax calculator is a tool that helps SMSF trustees to estimate the amount of tax payable on capital gains made by their fund. By entering the details of the asset sold, the calculator can count the amount of tax the SMSF needs to pay. 

How to Pay Capital Gains Tax?

A self-managed super fund (SMSF) makes a capital gain they are generally required to pay. When it comes to paying capital gains tax, there are several things to keep in mind. 

  • Firstly, understand that the amount of CGT payable will depend on several factors, including the asset’s purchase price, incidental costs, and the time it was held before being sold.
  • Once the amount of CGT has been determined, the SMSF will report this in its annual tax return.
  • There are a few things to keep in mind when calculating CGT. First, capital losses must be deducted from capital gains before calculating the tax payable. Second, CGT is only charged on the net capital gain – that is, the capital gain after deducting any capital losses.
  • It’s necessary to remember that CGT is a tax on realization. This means CGT is only payable when the asset is sold or disposed of.
  • SMSF members who need to pay CGT should e enough money to cover the tax liability when they dispose of it. This can be done by including the expected CGT in the sale price or by setting aside money in a separate account.
  •  Finally, ensure the SMSF has sufficient funds to pay the tax liability when it falls due.The amount of tax payable will depend on the individual’s marginal tax rate.

SMSF CGT Rules and Regulations

There are several SMSF CGT Exemptions and concessions available to SMSFs to CGT. CGT implications for SMSF members include the following:

  1. The first is if the total value of the assets in the SMSF is less than $1.6 million. In this case, any capital gains made are exempt from CGT.
  2. The second exemption is if the Capital gains tax SMSF is over 60 or over and the capital gain is made on a complying superannuation asset.
  3. The third exemption is if the capital gain is made on a pre-CGT asset. Pre-CGT assets are those which were acquired before 20 September 1985.
  4. As with any investment, managing capital gains tax in an SMSF requires compliance with various regulations and reporting requirements. Failure to meet these obligations can result in penalties and fines from the ATO. SMSF services provided by Expert SMSF Specialist Advisors and SMSF consultants can help you ensure that your SMSF is compliant with all relevant regulations and reporting requirements.
  5. SMSF trustees must keep accurate and complete records of all investment transactions, including the purchase and sale of assets and any capital gains or losses. 

SMSF Investment and Capital Gains Tax

Investment strategies can help SMSFs minimize capital gains tax (CGT) obligations. There are several tax-effective investments that SMSFs can make to reduce their CGT liabilities.

  • SMSFs can use their super funds to purchase investment properties, which can be rented out to generate revenue. The rental income is taxed at a concessional rate of 15%, which can help to reduce the overall tax burden for SMSFs.
  • SMSFs can also invest in shares and managed funds to reduce their CGT obligations. By investing in shares and managed funds that pay fully franked dividends, SMSFs can receive a refundable tax credit for the amount of tax already paid by the company.
  • The timing of investments can also have an impact on SMSF CGT liabilities. SMSFs can time their investments to take advantage of the 50% CGT discount. By holding assets for more than 12 months, SMSFs may be eligible for a 50% discount on the capital gains tax payable.
  • Effective management of the SMSF investment portfolio can also help to minimise CGT liabilities. 


Managing capital gains tax (CGT) in SMSF can be complicated and overwhelming. However, SMSF trustees should understand their CGT obligations and manage them effectively to minimize tax payable and ensure compliance.

SMSF CGT exemptions and concessions are available to SMSFs, such as the CGT discount and the small business SMSF CGT concessions, which can reduce the tax payable. SMSFs can also minimize CGT obligations through investment strategies and retirement planning.

In addition, seeking professional SMSF compliance advisors in Perth is crucial in ensuring compliance and avoiding penalties for non-compliance. A qualified financial advisor can provide tailored advice on managing CGT obligations, retirement planning, and overall SMSF compliance. Retirement Financial Advisor can help trustees in setting and maintaining an SMSF.

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