Expat Capital Gains Tax Bill passes House despite committee opposition

Updated: Feb 3

In a blow to Australian expats the Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability Measures) Bill 2019 has passed the House of Reps and is schedule for debate in the Senate for Tuesday 3 December 2019. The Bill which will retrospectively remove the main residence concession (or any part of it available) for any non-resident who sells their former main residence in Australia after 30 June 2020 has been widely and vehemently criticized for its gross inequity.

Originally announced on 9 May 2017 it took a long time before draft legislation was introduced into the House. But the passage of the Bill lagged because of other legislative priorities and the problems inherent in the Bill which were highlighted by the many submissions made to the Senate Standing Committee which was responsible for reviewing the Bill.

The measure thought lapsed after Parliament dissolved prior to 2019 Federal election was reintroduced in slightly modified form on 23 October 2019 with some minor improvements on equitable grounds which apply if certain 'life events', like death, divorce or terminal illness within 6 years of the non-resident departing Australia.

Unfortunately the Bill still contains its biggest floor, which is a completely unexplained retrospective removal of the main residence concession for any part of the non-residents ownership period when they lived in the property as their main residence.

Main residence exemption for non-residents continues to face heavy criticism.

On November 13 2019 the Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills released “Scrutiny Digest 8 of 2019”. Unsurprisingly the Committee included a list of concerns with the Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Hous