Do I have to pay Capital Gains Tax when I sell my home?

Updated: October 26, 2018

For the majority of people selling their home in the UK Capital Gains Tax (CGT) will not apply. But what exactly are the rules and are there any exceptions?

Selling your only property

According to gov.uk, you will not have to pay any Capital Gains Tax when selling your home if all of the following apply:

  • you have one home only and have lived in it as your main home for the whole time you have owned it
  • you haven’t let part of it out
  • you haven’t used part of it for business only
  • the grounds, including all buildings, are less than 5,000 square metres in total
  • you didn’t purchase the property purely to make a gain

Failure to meet one or all of the above means that you may have to pay some CGT.

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Under what circumstance do I have to pay CGT?

You will normally have to pay CGT when  selling a second home such as a buy-to-let property or holiday home.

You may also have to pay CGT if you use you home partly as a business premise such eg. a live/work property.

This means that if your second property has increased in value by more than your annual CGT allowance then there will be tax due.

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What about married couples?

If you are married. or in a civil partnership, you and your spouse can only collectively count one property as your main home at a time.

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What are the CGT rates in the UK?

CHT is paid at 10% if you are a basic rate taxpayer and at 20% if you are a higher rate taxpayer.

However, CGT on property is paid at the higher rate of 18% on gains for basic rate taxpayers and 28% for higher rate taxpayers.

Taxpayers have an annual CGT allowance (£11,700 for the tax year 2018/19).  If you are married or in a civil partnership you can double up for jointly owned assets to give an allowance of £23,700.

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Do I have to do anything to claim the CGT back?

No.  Seller will get Private Residence Relief automatically.

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When do I have to pay CGT?

CGT will be payable when you file a tax return for the respective financial year

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Is there anything I can do to mitigate CGT?

When completing your tax return, remember that your spouse's allowance allows you to ‘double up’ your annual CGT allowance.

Timing can also be critical.

If you are completing your sale in April. i.e. near the end of the tax year, you may want to try and delay if you have used your CGT allowance up for the previous year.

CGT is calculated from the date of exchange of contracts rather than completion.  This means that you won’t be able to exchange in one year and hold off completion until the next year. 

Disclaimer:  The above does not constitute tax advice.  You should consult with a financial adviser for further information about Capital Gains Tax.
 

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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