ATO to focus on collectables

July 23, 2016

The ATO is working with insurance companies to assess artworks and collectables owned by taxpayers and identify the owners of these kinds of assets.

There has been an increasing concern by the ATO that assets such as collectables are not being properly accounted for. Since these assets may be subject to capital gains tax (CGT) on disposal, taxpayers should be properly accounting for their assets and aware of any CGT applicable.

Collectables are items that individuals use or keep mainly for the personal use or enjoyment by them or their associates and include items such as paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings or photographs, reproductions of these items or property of a similar description or use, jewellery, antiques and coins.

A collectable also includes an interest in any of the items listed above, a debt that arises from any of those items or an option or right to acquire any of those items.

Capital gains or losses made from a collectable can be ignored provided the collectable was acquired for $500 or less; the interest in the collectable acquired was for $500 or less before 16 December 1995, or the interest in the collectable it had a market value of $500 or less when acquired.

Capital losses from collectables can be used only to reduce capital gains (including future capital gains) from collectables. There is no time limit on how long a net capital loss from the disposal of a collectable can be carried forward.

The ATO’s attention is not limited to capital gains tax and new rules have been introduced in relation to the recording and storage of collectables held by self managed super funds.

From 1 July 2016 new rules regarding any collectable and/or artwork owned by an SMSF state:

  • collectables cannot be stored at an SMSF trustee’s residence
  • an SMSF trustee or a related party is not permitted to lease or use any of the collectables
  • the collectable must be insured by its own separate policy
  • the storage decisions by the trustees must be documented and minuted
  • if the collectable is to be sold to an SMSF trustee or related party, then a valuation by a qualified independent valuer may be required to determine the market value.

For more information contact us at Leenane Templeton on 02 4926 2300 or email

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