Inside Money: Technical issues for CGT experts

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David Cunliffe. 
Photo / Martin Sykes
David Cunliffe. Photo / Martin Sykes

Before David Cunliffe's live chat on the NZ Herald website was unfortunately aborted due to his technical issues last Friday I had a few questions lined up for Labour's finance spokesperson.

Primarily, I wanted to know whether under its proposed capital gains tax (CGT) regime there would be room to restore KiwiSaver incentives and contributions to the NZ Superannuation Fund.

I had nothing to ask about the CGT itself. Perhaps that's because I was ambivalent about it - nice idea in theory, maybe, difficult to implement, probably.

Also, I hadn't read Labour's policy, which you should, right, before forming an opinion?

Figuring that Sunday couldn't get any more boring than it already was, I waded into the CGT policy on Labour's built-for-purpose website.

You can see that this is very much a draft policy with many "issues to be referred to the Expert Panel", including this quirky one:

"At present in New Zealand, while there is no general capital gains tax, individuals who regularly and intentionally trade for capital gain have their income from this source taxed as part of the personal income tax system, at the marginal tax rate," the Labour paper states.

"There is no intention for traders in capital assets to be taxed less than at present once a CGT is in force. The Expert Panel will explore means of ensuring that this does not occur."

That is, there will not be a "simple low flat rate of 15 per cent" for the CGT under this model. If you're judged to be a trader - maybe one of those guys trading CFDs (or currencies) from the golf course - you will be taxed on capital gains at your marginal rate.

Fair enough, those golfers deserve a bit of stick.

But I couldn't find any mention in the Labour proposal that dealt with the current CGT exemption granted to PIE funds that invest in New Zealand and certain Australian shares.

Will the 15 per cent CGT apply to the PIEs?

Please forward this technical issue to the Expert Panel.

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