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In 1995, my de facto husband lost his job in Sydney and we bought a cattle property in the upper Hunter Valley, where he has since lived permanently.

In 1995, my de facto husband lost his job in Sydney and we bought a cattle property in the upper Hunter Valley, where he has since lived permanently. In 1996, I bought a house in the inner west for myself and my son, to allow him to work in Sydney. Although my de facto never lived in it, the deed for this house was in both our names. My son moved out in 2003 but I continued to live in the house virtually full time until my retirement in 2007. Since then, it has only been used during occasional visits to the city and we now want to sell it. As it was my only principal place of residence for 11 years, will the sale be liable to capital gains tax?

If you and your de facto are living in separate principal residences, you must either choose one of the dwellings as your main residence for both of you for the entire ownership period or nominate different dwellings as your main residence for part of your ownership period. If you choose the first method, there will be no CGT on the city property. The only downside is you will not be able to use the principal-residence exemption on the farm. However, you may be able to use some of the small-business concessions to eliminate CGT on the farm. While spouses only get one full principal-residence exemption between them, they can choose which property to cover. The six-year absence rule can cover a property with your main-residence exemption for up to six years if it is income producing, and for an indefinite period if it is not and you have first lived there. These rules are complex so seek further advice before proceeding.

I'm 67, retired and single. I have $1 million in my super fund, $200,000 in shares, $200,000 in property and $50,000 in fixed-interest bank deposits. I'll soon need to start drawing money from somewhere. What would you suggest?

I am 70 and my wife is 69. I retired in 1996 but have continued to work part time. We are self-funded and drawing $4000 a month as an allocated pension. We have a large property and our children and grandchildren are living with us at present. They are not financially strong. My wife and I are finding it difficult to continue living on the property so we wish to sell and move, however we have concerns for the welfare of our family if we sell and move them out. If we were to sell and use some of the proceeds to give them a start, say $200,000 to $300,000, what effect would that have on our ability to access a pension should that become necessary in coming years?

Any gifts you make to the children will be treated as a deprived asset by Centrelink for the next five years but will cease to exist for Centrelink purposes after that. I am all in favour of helping children sooner rather than later, as long as they have proved that they are capable of handling money. You are the only ones who can decide if a substantial monetary gift now will be to their benefit or whether it will ultimately prove to be a demotivating act.

It would appear that your income from funds outside super should not be more than $20,000, which means you will not be leaving the 15 per cent bracket. Earnings on your money within super will also be taxed at 15 per cent. I suggest you take advice about starting to draw a pension from your super fund because this pension will be tax free (assuming it is a taxed scheme) and the earnings in the fund will become tax free once you start to draw it. You could then take the minimum pension from your fund and make up any shortfall in your spending from your other investments outside super.

I have a question related to tax on a super inheritance. Would the tax be incurred on both the "concessional super component" and "non-concessional super component" to non-dependants? If I make a non-concessional contribution of $450,000 before I turn 65, will this be taxed on inheritance by a non-dependant?

The death benefits tax applies only to the taxable component. Non-concessional contributions form part of the tax-free portion of your fund and are not subject to tax when paid to a dependant, or a non-dependant, for tax purposes. Keep in mind that the earnings on the tax-free contributions are part of the taxable portion.

My wife and I have been on the aged pension since January last year and I have just started to do some casual work. I was wondering if the Work Bonus of up to $6500 applies to our combined pension per year or is it $6500 per person per year? We don't have much super, not too much in assets or bank accounts and we own our home. If it applies to each of us, does that mean we can combine it to earn $13,000 on top of our combined pension? Where would the limit kick in to pay tax?

It applies to both of you so you can earn $13,000 without affecting your pension. Thanks to the senior Australians tax offset, you can each earn $26,680 without paying tax.

Advice is general readers should seek their own professional advice.

Contact noel.whittaker@whittaker macnaught.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @noelwhittaker. Questions to: Ask Noel, Money, GPO Box 2571, Qld, 4000, or see moneymanager.com.au /ask-an-expert.

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