Policy Point: The Pitfalls of CGT

Dr Patrick Carvalho
21 February, 2019

Executive Summary

Tax Working Group’s proposed rate of capital gains tax one of the most penal in the world.

The Tax Working Group’s report proposes a broad-based top rate of 33% capital gains tax.

That headline rate would immediately push New Zealand to the top of the international CGT rankings among industrialised economies, just behind Denmark and Finland.

The proposal is conspicuous by a lack of exemptions and concessions around business investment, so a full rate would arguably qualify New Zealand’s CGT regime as one of the harshest in the world.

Worse, given New Zealand’s recognisably low income tax thresholds by international standards, a new CGT would disproportionally hit middle-income earners already struggling to invest for retirement.

New Zealand should be cautious about siren calls for a top-ranking CGT. Trying to punch above our weight can sometimes place us in the wrong fight category.

About the author

Dr Patrick Carvalho is a Research Fellow with The New Zealand Initiative.

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