Here are some important points around the Bright-Line Test that you need to be aware of:
Currently 2 year period.  So, in general, if you buy a rental, sell within 2 years, any gains will be taxable.
Measuring the Bright-line Time Period:
  • Effective from 1 October 2015.  So, if Sale and Purchase
       Agreement dated before that, then Bright-Line doesn’t apply.
  • Date of Acquisition = Normally Settlement.
  • Date of Disposal = Sale & Purchase Agreement date.
Must be residential land: There is some criteria around this: 
  • Includes overseas residential land!  But should also get
     tax credit if gain taxed overseas already.
  • Includes B&B’s and AirBNB properties.
Off The Plan Sales:
  • Purchase = date of Sale & Purchase Ageement.
  • Sale =  date of Sale & Purchase Agreement.
Subdivided Land: 
  • Date of Acquisition = registration of undivided land, i.e. when
       the whole property is purchased.
  • Date of Disposal = Sale & Purchase Agreement for sale of
  • NOTE:  Likely to be taxable under other tax provisions.
      Leasehold to Freehold:
  • Date of Acquisition = date lease granted Gift.
  • Date of Disposal = date of registration
Compulsory Acquisition: 
  • Date of Disposal = date of compulsory acquisition
Mortgagee Sale: 
  • Date of Disposal = date of disposal by mortgagee.
  • Originally IRD viewed nominations as a disposal, and
        therefore any gains could be taxed under the Bright-Line
  • In early 2017, IRD retracted and have confirmed no sale or
       disposal on a nomination – which is good news.
Main Home Exclusion: 
  • Can be Trust
  • Must be predominately main home, so more than 50% of time
       used as main home.  If vacant and renovated for more time
       than used as a personal house, then not main home.
  • Main Home Exclusion can only be used twice in 2 year period.
  • Doesn’t apply if there is a pattern of buying and selling
       personal home.
  • Holiday ok if short term.  Longer time, depends on exact
       circumstances and as long as you don’t set up another
       home, it should be ok.
  • Subdivide main house.  Generally section sale would also
       have main home exclusion but would suggest getting full
       advice on this to double check.
Main home looking at buying and selling for a profit: 
  • If intention is to renovate and sell for profit, then taxable under
       other income tax sections.
  • Main home exclusion would not apply.
  • So be very careful with what your intention is and how this is
Main Home intended to renovate and sell:
  • Gain is taxable.
Main Home, intended to live in and renovate.  But then later decide to sell:
  • Gain not taxable and exclusion for main home should apply
        (as long as no pattern of buying and selling, and still meet
         home exclusion provisions).
Relationship Property Transfers:
  • Generally excluded and transfers deemed to be at cost.
       Inherited Property:
  • Generally excluded.
Change of Trustee: 
  • If only a change of Trustee, then stays with original
       registration date.
Residential Land Withholding Tax (RLWT): 
  • Applies from 1 July 2016.
  • Only for Offshore RLWT person who disposes of land subject
        to Bright-line rule.
  • Only relates to New Zealand land.
  • Obligation on conveyancer at settlement and to account to
  • If taxed under other tax provisions, but within 2 years, there
       will still be RLWT if vendor is an “Offshore RLWT” person.
  • There are three RLWT methods.
I hope this summary of the main points is helpful.