CGT Small Business Concessions

Posted 12 Jul

CGT Small Business Concessions: A Recent AAT Ruling

Understanding Capital Gains Tax (CGT) small business concessions is vital for many business owners and investors. A recent decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) highlights the importance of accurate valuations and the potential tax benefits of these concessions. Here's a breakdown of the case and its implications.

The Case: A Family Trust's CGT Conundrum

In March 2015, a family trust agreed to sell its shares in a company for $3,500,000. By June of the same year, the trustees resolved to distribute the trust’s income, including the capital gain from the sale, equally among four beneficiaries: two brothers and their wives. They calculated the trust’s net income, factoring in the 50% CGT discount and small business concessions, based on the $3,500,000 sale price.

However, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) challenged this valuation. They asserted that the market value of the shares was actually $10,640,000, based on an updated valuation report. This higher valuation meant the trust did not meet the CGT maximum net asset value (MNAV) test, which is capped at $6,000,000. Consequently, the ATO applied the 'market value substitution' rule, adjusting each beneficiary’s share of the 2015 trust distribution from $321,989 to $1,194,174.

The AAT’s Assessment

The crux of the matter was whether the trust’s net CGT assets exceeded the $6,000,000 threshold. The AAT evaluated the valuations presented and ultimately sided with the valuers for the taxpayers. The AAT found that these valuers had given more detailed consideration to the specific business and its operating environment, concluding that the net value of the CGT assets was indeed below $6,000,000. This decision meant that the MNAV test was satisfied and the trust was entitled to the CGT small business concessions.

Implications for Taxpayers

This ruling underscores several key points for taxpayers:

  1. Accurate Valuations are Crucial: Ensure that valuations are thorough and reflective of the business's specific circumstances and market conditions.
  2. Understand the MNAV Test: Familiarise yourself with the CGT MNAV test to determine eligibility for small business concessions.
  3. Proper Distribution of Trust Income: Be diligent in how trust income and capital gains are apportioned and distributed among beneficiaries.


The AAT's ruling is a reminder of the complexities surrounding CGT and the importance of accurate valuations. For trusts and small businesses, leveraging CGT small business concessions can significantly reduce tax liabilities. If you're navigating similar tax challenges, consulting with experts can provide clarity and ensure compliance.

At Trinity Advisory, we’re here to help you make informed decisions, optimise your tax strategies, and achieve your financial goals. Contact us today for tailored advice and support.

Ref: NTAA Practice Update - July 2024


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