Wesfarmers bosses cash in chips to pay tax

Peter WilliamsThe West Australian

Wesfarmers' top executives have sold more than $3 million stock to meet tax obligations.

Managing director Richard Goyder yesterday declared an on-market sale of $2.3 million in shares, while finance director Terry Bowen offloaded shares worth $1.1 million.

Both told the Australian Securities Exchange they made the trades to meet a tax liability associated with shares allocated as part of an incentive plan.

Wesfarmers also reported that the Australian Taxation Office had ruled there would be no immediate tax liability for most shareholders from a proposed $579 million capital return.

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Wesfarmers last month announced the 50�-a-share return to reward shareholders in a tax-friendly manner.

At the time, it said the cost base of shares for capital gains purposes would be reduced by 50¢ per share.

"For shareholders with a cost base of less than that amount, an assessable capital gain could arise," Wesfarmers said.

The capital return applies equally to ordinary and partially protected shares. It must be approved by shareholders at the annual meeting in November.

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