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Tax-Smart Accounting for Wealth Creation through Shares

When it comes to investing in shares, it’s essential to understand the tax implications to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. In Australia, buying and selling shares can trigger tax obligations, including Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and dividend income tax. Therefore, navigating the complexities of shares investments and their associated tax implications is crucial to optimising your financial outcomes. As public accountants specialising in investment strategies, we provide expert advice and guidance on tax planning, compliance, and reporting associated with this type of investment. Our tailored solutions can help you effectively manage your tax obligations while maximising the benefits of your investment in shares. In this article, we will provide valuable insights for investors by exploring key aspects of paying income tax on shares.



Investing in Shares vs Investing in Digital Assets

While there may be some similarities between buying and selling shares and buying NFTs or Crypto, there are also significant differences. Here are some points to consider:

  1. Regulation: Shares are regulated financial instruments that are traded on established stock exchanges and are subject to various regulatory requirements, including disclosure, reporting, and compliance with securities laws. On the other hand, cryptocurrencies are generally decentralised digital assets that are not regulated in the same way as shares. The regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies is still evolving, and the rules and requirements can vary significantly by jurisdiction.
  2. Investment Considerations: Shares represent ownership in a company and provide shareholders with certain rights, such as voting rights and the potential for dividends. Shareholders may also have access to company information, financial reports, and other disclosures to help them make informed investment decisions. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, do not represent ownership in a company and do not typically provide dividends or other shareholder rights. The value of cryptocurrencies is primarily driven by supply and demand dynamics, market sentiment, and technological developments, which can be highly speculative and volatile.
  3. Risk Profile: Both shares and digital assets come with their own set of risks. Shares may be subject to risks associated with the financial performance of the underlying company, market fluctuations, and regulatory changes. Digital assets, being relatively new and unregulated, are considered high-risk investments due to their inherent price volatility, lack of transparency, and potential for fraud, hacking, or other security breaches.
  4. Taxation: While there may be some similarities in the taxation of capital gains and dividend income for shares and cryptocurrencies, there are also differences. As mentioned previously, shares in Australia are subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and dividend income tax, whereas the taxation of digital assets may vary depending on factors such as their classification (e.g., property or currency), holding period, and intended use.
  5. Market Accessibility: Shares are typically traded on established stock exchanges, and investors may need to open a brokerage account and comply with certain requirements to participate in the stock market. Cryptocurrencies and NFTs, on the other hand, are traded on various online platforms, and investors may need to set up accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges and follow specific procedures to buy, sell, and store digital assets securely.

It is crucial to understand the unique implications of each investment type on your tax obligation and conduct thorough research on buying and selling investments, whether they are shares, digital assets, or real estate, to make informed decisions. Consulting with us can also provide valuable guidance and help ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.


Preparing Taxes for Shares Investments: What to Provide

As accountants, we require the following information to prepare a tax return from shares investments:

  • Purchase and sale dates of shares bought and sold during the tax year.
  • Quantities, purchase prices, and sale prices of your shares.
  • Details of dividend income, brokerage fees, and other transaction costs.
  • Records of corporate actions, such as stock splits or mergers.
  • Information on foreign shares, if applicable.
  • Documentation of any losses or deductions related to the shares investments.
  • Any other relevant information related to your shares investments.

Maintaining detailed records of all transactions and related information is crucial to ensure accurate and efficient tax preparation. This will help us prepare your tax return without omissions and give you expert advice aimed at maximising the value of your investments.


Understanding Tax Implications of Shares Investments

In Australia, income tax on shares investments is generally calculated based on the capital gains or dividends earned from the shares. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT): Selling shares for a higher price may result in a capital gain subject to CGT, calculated on the difference between sale and purchase price, with exemptions and concessions based on holding period and share type.
  • Dividend Income: Dividends from shares are treated as ordinary income, subject to income tax, with different tax treatments for fully franked, partially franked, or unfranked dividends, based on your marginal tax rate.
  • Discount on Capital Gains: Holding shares for over 12 months may qualify for a 50% discount on capital gains tax for individuals, with only half of the gain subject to tax.
  • Deductible Expenses: Expenses related to buying, managing, or selling shares, such as brokerage fees and interest on loans, may be deductible against capital gains or dividend income.
  • Tax Offsets: Various tax offsets are available, such as franking credits offset for fully franked dividends and low and middle-income tax offset for eligible taxpayers, which may reduce the amount of tax payable on shares investments.

It’s important for investors to understand the tax implications of different types of dividends, including franked and unfranked dividends, when calculating their taxable income and fulfilling their tax obligations.

Unfranked dividends are a type of dividend that is paid by a company to its shareholders but does not carry any franking credits. A franking credit, also known as an imputation credit, represents the portion of tax paid by a company on its profits that is attributed to the dividends it distributes to its shareholders. Franking credits are designed to prevent double taxation, as the company has already paid tax on the profits before distributing them as dividends.

Unfranked dividends, on the other hand, do not carry any franking credits, which means that the company has not paid any tax on the profits distributed as dividends. As a result, unfranked dividends are fully subject to income tax at the recipient’s marginal tax rate when included in their assessable income. In contrast, fully franked dividends are subject to a lower rate of tax, as the franking credits offset the tax already paid by the company.


Example 1

John is an enthusiastic investor who owns shares and earns dividend income from his investments. At the end of the financial year, he receives a statement from his broker that shows his assessable income (dividends) to be $10,000. John is keen to determine how much tax he will owe on his dividend income, so he seeks assistance from his accountant.

John’s accountant carefully reviews his financial information and calculates his tax using the provided table. The table shows that John’s assessable income (dividends) is $10,000, and there is a franking credit of $3,000 that is offset against his tax liability. Based on his taxable income of $10,000 John’s accountant calculates his tax payable at a rate of 30% to be $nil.

Here is the table summarising John’s tax calculation:

Assessable income (dividends): $10,000.
Franking credit: $3,000 (offset against tax liability).
Taxable income: $10,000.
Tax payable at 30%: $3,000 offset in full by $3,000 franking credit.


Example 2

After reviewing John’s financial information, his accountant notes that John’s assessable income (dividends) for the year is $10,000, and there are no franking credits available to offset against his tax liability. Based on John’s taxable income of $10,000, his accountant calculates his tax payable at a rate of 30%, which amounts to $3,000.

Here is the table summarising John’s tax calculation:

Assessable income (dividends): $10,000.
Franking credit: $0 (no franking credits available).
Taxable income: $10,000.
Tax payable at 30%: $3,000.


The above examples are for illustrative purposes only, as tax rates, rules, and thresholds may vary and change over time. We recommend consulting with qualified accountants, such as our team of experts, to ensure accurate tax calculations based on your individual circumstances and current tax laws.

At our firm, we understand the financial implications of investing in shares and offer customised solutions that align with our clients’ wealth creation goals. With our professional expertise, you can confidently navigate the ever-changing landscape of tax regulations and make informed decisions to minimise tax liabilities and optimise returns.

Investing in shares can be a lucrative endeavour, and our team is here to help you make the most out of your investments. Let us be your trusted partner in maximising your investment outcomes, minimising tax liabilities, and unlocking the full potential of your investment portfolio. Schedule a consultation with us today, and let’s work together towards your financial success!


*Disclaimer: We do not provide financial planning, estate planning, investment management, SMSF financial planning, or related services. Any mentions of these areas signify that they are outsourced to our network of licensed professionals. We strongly advise consulting a qualified licensed professional within our trusted network for personalised advice in financial planning, estate planning, SMSF financial planning, investment management, or related services.