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What is the period allowed for disposal of a primary residence for capital gains tax?

Posted 8 August 2012 under Tax Q&A


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We are planning to move into another house and have not decided what to do with our current primary residence. If we move out, for how long is it still considered a primary residence, as it will take time to sell it? Also, what is the tax we would pay on any sale profits if sold as a primary residence or as capital gains? Am married in community of property.

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TaxTim TaxTim says:
4 August 2012 at 14:00

You do have a window period as to when you are able to claim the house as a primary residence. Moving to somewhere else and renting while looking to buy does allow you some time, but as long as you are not keeping the house empty for a long period and then living in a newly bought one or even renting out the old one, you should be ok to claim the primary residence exclusion.

Selling the property will attract capital gains tax at a rate of 13.3% if your marginal rate of tax is 40%. Whatever gain is made on the sale will be included in your taxable income at a rate of 33.3%. If you sell the property as a primary residence you will have the first R2m of the gain excluded from your capital gains calculation. So the benefit of being able to sell it as soon as possible is quite big. Being married in community of property will split the gain between you and your spouse. You will also be entitled to an annual exclusion of R30 000 each based on the total capital gains for the year, so you do have quite a bit of wiggle room before you start paying tax on the disposal.


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