Hugo and Hannah are married. Hugo is an agricultural economist and Hannah is an architect. In addition to their principal residence in Melbourne (a house in South Yarra), they own a block of land near Inverloch which they had bought in 2005. They had always intended to carry on a small farming business on the land but had not yet started the business. 

In July 2017 Hannah was offered a very good job in Sydney. In addition to a generous salary package, she was offered a $50,000 inducement amount to encourage her to take the job and a $70,000 allowance to cover costs related to the relocation.

Hannah decided to take the job.  She started work in Sydney in August 2017. Hugo stayed in Melbourne to sell the house and the block of land. He planned to move to Sydney as soon as everything is finalised with both the properties.

Sale of the house in South Yarra

The house had been purchased in 1998 for $250,000 and in 2007 Hannah and Hugo had spent $200,000 on renovations. The house sold at auction in October 2017 for $3,000,000. Settlement took place in December 2017. Real estate commissions and advertising fees were $60,000.

Sale of the land near Inverloch

Hugo sought the advice of a real estate agent who advised him that the land would yield a much higher selling price if it was divided into smaller lots and each lot was sold individually. Following this advice, Hugo and Hannah engaged a solicitor to assist them in getting a Planning Permit, which was a requirement prior to Subdivision. The Planning Permit was granted with the following conditions:

1.    Each of the subdivided lots/blocks had to measure at least 500 square metres; and

2.    Water and sewerage had to be installed at Hugo and Hannah’s expense, before any sales could be made.

Hugo and Hannah decided to subdivide the land into five (5) blocks, each measuring 700 square metres. Hugo was keen to get to Sydney as soon as possible so engaged an Agent to manage the subdivisions, including connections of water and sewerage. At Hugo and Hannah’s request, the Agent also organised a builder to build access roads and fencing for each block.

Once the subdivided blocks were ready for sale, the Agent organised an extensive advertising campaign to raise awareness of the new properties.

By June 2018, all the subdivided lots/blocks were sold at a net profit of $2,000,000.


Advise both Hannah and Hugo on the income tax treatment for each of the amounts received by them individually or together, in the above fact situation. Support your answer with legislation and case law          

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