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Hi ATO community,
I have a question regarding CGT that hopefully you can help. Here's the facts:
Given the circumstances I prefer to disregard CGT till actually selling the shares which means that these assets are initially taken to be taxable Australian property. However my preference would be to pay in Spain and I think that DTA allows me to do so. Yet the terms are somewhat unclear to me and I'd appreciate if someone can assist.
This is what Article 13 says regarding disposal of shares:
(4) Income or gains derived by a resident of one of the Contracting States from the alienation of shares or comparable interests in a company, the assets of which consist wholly or principally of real property in the other Contracting State of a kind referred to in Article 6, may be taxed in that other State.
(5) Income or gains from the alienation of shares, or comparable interests in a company other than those mentioned in paragraph (4) of this Article which is a resident of one of the Contracting States may be taxed in that Contracting State if the recipient of the income or gains, during a 12 month period preceding such alienation, had a participation, directly or indirectly, of at least 10 per cent in the capital of that company.
To rephrase these two paragraphs, only shareholders on AU property companies or holding more than 10% of any other company type are to pay CGT in Australia. None of them apply to me.
Finally we have paragraph 6:
(6) Nothing in this Agreement affects the application of a law of a Contracting State relating to the taxation of gains of a capital nature derived from the alienation of property other than that to which any of the preceding paragraphs of this Article apply.
I can't think of any specific law that applies to selling shares but this paragraph is quite cryptic to me. I think it may apply to selling other assets like eg fine art where there's specific regulations? Not sure if that's a valid example.
As my case isn't expressly mentioned then Article 21 applies:
(1) Items of income of a resident of one of the Contracting States which are not expressly mentioned in the foregoing Articles of this Agreement shall be taxable only in that State.
(2) However, any such income derived by a resident of one of the Contracting States from sources in the other Contracting State may also be taxed in that other State.
I can't see how selling these shares once in Spain may also be taxed in Australia (as there's no automatic tax withheld on such transaction) so I believe I'm falling under paragraph 1 of this article 21 (ie taxable only in the residency State).
All in all if I'm understanding it correctly I think I can safely pay CGT once in Spain and only there. Is my assumption correct?
In case I'm wrong hopefully I can make use of the ESS startup exemption here somehow? Maybe this type of ESS shares aren't taken as taxable Australian property on ceasing residency? No idea.
If that's not possible either and I finally have to lodge tax return in Australia from Spain as a non-resident I have a subsequent question about how to calculate the CGT discount but I'm going to hold it till the community confirms the first point.
Thanks for your assistance.
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