When someone dies, a capital gain or loss is generally ignored when a property passes:
- to the late person’s executor or other legal personal agent
- to the deceased person’s beneficiary –- such as next of kin or a person named in the will
- From the deceased person’s legal personal representative to a recipient.
But this exception doesn’t apply if the property passes from the deceased to a tax-advantaged entity (such as a charity) or foreign resident.
If you inherit a dwelling or other property after CGT started on 20 September 1985 and later sell or otherwise dispose of it, capital gains tax may then apply.
Similarly, capital gains tax may apply if the deceased person’s legal personal representative sells a property as part of winding up their estate.
What happens to assets when the owner dies
When a person dies, the assets that make up their estate can:
- pass directly to a beneficiary (or beneficiaries), or
- Pass directly to their legal personal representative (for example, their executor) who may dispose of the assets or pass them to the beneficiary, or beneficiaries.
A beneficiary is a person entitled to assets of a deceased estate. They can be named as a beneficiary in a will or they can be entitled to the assets as a result of the laws of intestacy (when a person dies without having made a will).
A legal personal representative can be either:
- the executor of a deceased estate (that is, a person appointed to wind up the estate in accordance with the will)
- An administrator appointed to wind up the estate if the person does not leave a will.