Understanding Capital Gains Tax on property investments

Investing in property can be a lucrative venture, but it’s essential to understand the implications of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on these investments to protect your investments from unexpected costs. 

This is particularly relevant for those who may be new to property investment or are considering selling their first property for profit. 

Here are some of the things you should know about CGT before you proceed.  

How to calculate Capital Gains Tax 

The first step in understanding CGT is knowing how to calculate it.  

When you sell a property, the gain you make from the purchase price to the selling price is subject to CGT.  

To calculate this, you must deduct the purchase price, costs of any improvements, and selling costs from the selling price.  

From this gain, your tax-free allowance is subtracted. The remaining amount is your taxable gain. 

As a formula, this looks like: 

CGT = (Selling Price − Purchase Price − Improvement Costs − Selling Costs − Annual Exempt Amount) × Tax Rate 

Tax rates and income bands 

The rate of CGT you’ll pay depends on your overall taxable income.  

If your total taxable income and gains are within the basic Income Tax band, you will pay 18 per cent CGT on your property gains.  

However, if your combined income and gains exceed the basic rate band, you’ll pay 28 per cent CGT on the portion of the gains above this threshold. 

Everyone has an annual tax-free allowance, known as the Annual Exempt Amount, for CGT purposes.  

For the tax year 2023/24, this amount is £6,000 (reduced from £12,300 in 2022/23).  

Any gains up to this amount in a tax year are exempt from CGT but you’ll pay on the remainder.  

Property exemptions 

It’s crucial to note that CGT is not payable on your main residence, thanks to Private Residence Relief.  

However, if you’re selling a second home, a buy-to-let property, or an inherited property, CGT may be applicable. 

A qualified accountant could help you understand your CGT liabilities and obligations in more depth.  

Planning and timing 

Effective timing of your property sale can significantly impact the CGT due.  

If possible, consider spreading the gains across multiple tax years or aligning the sale with years where your income might be lower, to remain within a lower tax band. 

Again, an accountant could help with this.  

Record-Keeping and reporting 

Finally, it is important to maintain thorough records of your property transactions, including purchase and selling prices, dates, and associated costs.  

UK residents are required to report and pay any CGT due on property sales within 60 days of the completion date (this used to be 30 days but was increased during the pandemic). 

For property owners, the key to managing CGT efficiently is planning and understanding these rules as well as having a trusted tax adviser by your side.   

If you’re considering property investment or planning to sell a property you already own, it’s advisable to consult with an accountant who can provide tailored advice, ensuring that you navigate the complexities of CGT effectively.  

This foresight can not only help you in making informed decisions but also in potentially reducing your tax liability. 

Speak to one of our experts if you are worried about your CGT liabilities or are considering selling a property.  

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