When it comes to compensation payments, understanding the tax implications is crucial. Whether you’ve received an insurance payout for property damage caused by natural disasters or compensation for wrongful dismissal or workplace injuries, the tax treatment can be complex. This article aims to shed light on the tax considerations associated with compensation payments and emphasises the importance of seeking professional advice.


Compensation for property damage

If you own a rental or commercial property that has been damaged by storms, bushfires, or floods, an insurance payout covering the damage is subject to capital gains tax (CGT). However, the tax law and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) treat such payouts concessionaly based on their purpose and usage.


Destruction or loss of property

If the payout is for the complete or partial destruction or loss of the property, it won’t be subject to CGT at that time if it is used to acquire a replacement asset within the required timeframe (generally two years). This is known as a “concessional rollover” and allows deferring the CGT liability.


Permanent damage to property

If the payout is received for permanent damage to the property, a different CGT concession applies. In this case, the compensation received reduces the cost base of the property for CGT purposes. It is important to note that the proceeds can be used for repairs or restoration without affecting the tax treatment.

To determine the appropriate tax treatment for your situation, it is vital to consult with a tax professional who can assess your circumstances and guide you through the process.


Compensation for wrongful dismissal or workplace injury

In cases where you receive compensation for wrongful dismissal or workplace injury, the tax treatment can vary depending on the nature of the payment.

  • Substitution for Lost Income: Compensation received as a substitution for lost income is generally treated as assessable income. This applies regardless of whether the payment is received as a lump sum or in another form and regardless of how it is calculated.
  • Exemption from Assessable Income and CGT: Compensation received for injury, loss of physical capacity, illness, pain, suffering, or under anti-discrimination legislation can be exempt from assessable income and CGT.


Determining the precise category of compensation can be challenging, especially in cases of out-of-court settlement payments that may comprise both types of compensation. While such payments are generally not taxable, identifying any component meant to compensate for lost income, as outlined in the initial pleadings, would make that portion assessable for tax purposes.

To navigate these complexities, it is essential to engage the services of a professional adviser before agreeing to any settlement payment.



The tax treatment of compensation payments can be intricate, and it is crucial to understand the specific rules and concessions that apply to your situation. Whether you’ve received an insurance payout for property damage or compensation for wrongful dismissal or workplace injuries, seeking professional advice from a tax professional such as Regency Partners is invaluable. We can help assess your circumstances, guide you through the tax implications, and ensure compliance with the relevant tax laws and regulations. Contact us today to find out more.

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