The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has decided that a property a small business owner used to store materials, tools and other equipment was an active asset for the purpose of the small business capital gains tax (CGT) concessions. 

The taxpayer carried on a business of building, bricklaying and paving through a family trust. He owned a block of land on which there were two 4m × 3m sheds used to store work tools, equipment and materials. Bricks, pavers, scaffolding, mixers and other equipment were stored on open space on the property, and work vehicles and trailers were also parked there. On occasion, some preparatory work was done at the property in a limited capacity. There was no business signage on the property.

After the property was sold in October 2016, the ATO issued a private ruling that the taxpayer was not entitled to apply the small business CGT concessions to the capital gain because the property had not been an active asset within the meaning of s 152-40 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997).

The AAT, however, concluded that the extent of the use of the land was far from minimal, and its use was more than incidental to the carrying on of the business. Accordingly, the property was "used, or held ready for use, in the course of carrying on a business" and was an active asset in terms of s 152-40.

Source: Eichmann and FCT [2019] AATA 162, AAT, File No: 2017/5571, Hanger DP, 15 February 2019.