What is Capital Gains Tax?

A UK resident and domiciled individual is taxed on their worldwide income and gains. It also applies to Non-Residents with property in the United Kingdom (UK).  There are special rules regarding reporting and payment deadlines for these Non-Residents Landlords.

A Capital Gain occurs when a chargeable person makes a disposal of a chargeable asset irrespective if they convert it into British pounds.  The disposal date isn’t necessarily when you physically receive the money; it can be when contracts are exchanged like when purchasing residential property.

Certain assets which have a useful life not exceeding 50 years are exempt from Capital Gains Tax unless they have been used in a trade like racehorses, computers, plant and machinery, which includes items such as clocks and watches.


How much is Capital Gains Tax?

The rate of Capital Gains Tax varies dependent on a number of factors and interacts with your Income.  The level of your worldwide income will dictate which tax band you will fall within.  After the Annual Exemption (where no tax falls due), the rates are:

For Non-Residential Property

  • Basic Rate 10%
  • Higher Rate 20%

For Residential Property

  • Basic Rate 18% (10% + 8%),
  • Higher Rate, 28% (20% + 8%)

The rates above are for individuals.  Companies pay Capital Gains Taxation through Corporation Tax.  Indexation that was allowed has been abolished since 1st January 2018.  If your assets have been accruing the indexation allowance they will keep this but it will be linked to the Retail Price Index up to December 2017, irrespective of your future date of disposal.

When do you need to declare Capital Gains Tax to HMRC?

There are two thresholds when an individual needs to notify HMRC of a Capital Disposal you have made.  These are:

  • When your gains exceed the CGT Annual Exemption, which is £12k for 19/20 and £11,700 for 18/19 tax years.
  • When you total proceeds (disposals or sales) of the Capital Asset exceeds 4 x the Annual Exemption amount.
  • Any non-Resident disposing of property must report the sale to HMRC within 30 days of completion.

For Non-Resident Landlord, it is vitally important to report the sale of to HMRC otherwise penalties will be charged.  We have managed to successfully cancel penalties previously but if we can avoid the penalty notices that is always desirable.  It seems not all solicitors are not advising their clients about this tax law.


How can I save Capital Gains Tax?

The timing of a Capital Disposal is always an important consideration with regards to Capital Gains Tax, as explained below.

In addition to reliefs and exemptions in the next sections.  If you have a spouse earning less than yourself, it may be worthwhile transferring an asset or share of such to one another to help mitigate Capital Gains Tax.

You must be careful when transferring assets, especially to family members as this can still trigger other taxes or Capital Gains Tax if not carried out in a tax efficient manner.

We would therefore highly recommend you speak with us to obtain the appropriate advice.

What Reliefs are there for Capital Gains Tax?

There are many different reliefs available to either individuals or companies, some of these include:

  • Entrepreneurs Relief,
  • Inter spouse or civil partnership no gain no loss transfers,
  • Rollover Relief,
  • Gift Relief,
  • Incorporation Relief,
  • Disincorporation Relief,
  • EIS, SEIS and Social Enterprise Reinvestment Relief,
  • Principal Private Residence Relief,
  • Lettings Relief,
  • S.131 whereby a capital loss may be set against income tax.

Why is the timing of a Capital sale important?

Dates are critical when making a disposal and it is often imperative to consult an accountant or tax adviser to assist you with this transaction before it is planned to take place.

Get the timing right you can eliminate, save or delay taxation.

Get the timing wrong, it could lead to a higher Capital Gains Tax Rate and also bring your payment date up to 12 months earlier, whereby you could have used the funds from the Capital Gain to generate additional income or gains. 

Are there any other special Rules?

There are also many different and special tax laws relating to Capital Gains, such as

  • Chattels,
  • Connected Person Transactions,
  • Share Trading (incl. Cryptocurrencies),
  • Time limits in order to make a relief or loss relief claim with HM Revenue & Customs.

Capital Gains Tax Planning and what else to consider

With any Capital Gains Tax losses this are automatically set off against other gains within the tax year first.  Any remaining carries forward to the next year, you cannot carry back a Capital Loss.

You may wish to consider the timing of these by bringing forward or delaying a Capital loss to maximise their usage rather than potentially letting them go to waste.

Capital Gains Tax is a vast tax with different laws, so feel free to contact us for further Capital Gains tax and planning advice.

How have we helped to Save Capital Gains Tax

Mr A was awarded a right on a divorce. This right was over a property, which would entitle him to a share of the proceeds when it was sold. This disposal would create a Capital Gains charge. Through gifting this some of this right to his new spouse prior to the sale, we helped him save £4,356 of CGT. This more than outweighed our fees for the advice and work.

We have assisted many of our clients to mitigate their tax liabilities. For details on how we have helped save property owners Capital Gains Tax see our Property page.