Capital Gains Tax is a tax on the profit (known as a gain) you make when you sell or otherwise dispose of an asset.

Only the gain, not the proceeds is taxed.

For CGT purposes you are considered to have disposed of an asset when you cease to own it. This includes if you:

  1. sell it

  2. make a gift of it

  3. transfer it to someone else

  4. exchange it for something else

  5. receive compensation for it

Not every disposal attracts CGT. For example -

  1. when somebody dies and their assets pass to their personal representatives or

  2. where shares are disposed of in exchange for other shares (and HMRC approval is obtained).

EXAMPLE :    If you bought Apple Inc. stock in May 2011 for £8,500 and sold the stock in September 2015 for £13,200 your basic gain would be £4,700.

If you have capital gains, you may have to fill in the capital gains pages. You do not have to fill them in if the total disposal proceeds in the 2015/16 tax year were less than £44,400 and your chargeable gains (before losses) were below £11,100.

Otherwise you must fill in the capital gains pages. You must also fill them in if you want to claim an allowable loss.

The the rate of CGT is 18% or 28%, depending on your total income and gains in the year.

You must pay CGT on all your chargeable gains if you are resident or ordinarily resident in the UK.

If you leave the UK you are still potentially liable for CGT for up to 5 years. Also, the law relating to long term expats and CGT changed from April 2015 - contact us for advice.

In certain circumstances you may not have to pay CGT on gains arising on assets abroad if you are not domiciled in the UK.

Most assets, tangible or otherwise, which are capital in nature are likely to give rise to a capital gain or loss on disposal. Some common examples are -


        Land and Buildings

        Business assets, such as goodwill

The following are the most common assets which are exempt from CGT -

  1. private cars

  2. personal effects worth £6,000 or less when you dispose of them (these are called chattels)

  3. Savings certificates, Premium Bonds and British Savings Bonds

  4. gains made within a Personal Equity Plan (PEP)

  5. bonuses from tax exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs)

  6. UK government stocks (gilts)

  7. personal injury compensation

  8. foreign currency for you or your family's personal use

  9. life assurance policies and deferred annuity contracts, unless purchased from a third party.

  10. betting, lottery or pools winnings

  11. SAYE terminal bonuses

  12. compensation for mis-sold pensions taken out as result of disadvantageous advice given between 29 April 1988 and 30 June 1994

  13. any asset whose disposal is chargeable to income tax (such as some share options)

Transfers between husband and wife can be a good CGT planning tool for married couples.

If you transfer an asset to your husband or wife and you are living together, you will not be taxed. Instead any gain or loss is deferred until the asset is disposed of by your spouse. Your spouse may then pay tax on any gain made during the whole time that both of you have owned the asset.

So, for example, a person who was about to dispose of shares for £18,000 and which would produce a gain of £12,000 would normally pay CGT on gains of £900 (£12,000 less the exemption of £11,100) in 2015/16.

However, if that person transferred half of the shares to their spouse before disposal - so that they each had proceeds of £9,000 and gains of £6,000 - there would be no CGT to pay as each would have gains below their exempt limit.

Normally, capital losses may only be set against capital gains. Losses incurred in one year may be carried forward indefinitely until they are used.

However, if you have losses from the disposal of certain unlisted shares, you may be able to make a claim to set those losses against your income, rather than your gains. We would be able to advise you if this would be possible.

The old rules for indexation relief taper relief no longer apply.

The basic idea is that the original cost of an asset is deducted from the sale proceeds (net of the costs of sale) to give the gain. Sometimes market value has to be substituted for the original cost.

There are extensive help sheets on the HMRC website here.

Capital Gains Tax

What is capital gains tax?

Do I need to disclose a capital gain on my tax return?

Who pays CGT?

What assets attract CGT?

What happens if I transfer an asset to my spouse?

Can I set my CGT losses against my income?

How do I calculate my capital gains?

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"How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case."

Robert G. Allen

More information.......

What are the Changes to Private Residence Relief?

The rules relating to CGT on the sale of a main residence / home are currently changing.

For many years, the CGT rules have been that where a property has always been occupied as the main home, any gain made when the property is sold will be exempt from CGT. This relief is known as principal private residence relief (PPR). However, this relief cannot apply to any period in which the property is unoccupied or is not your home.

PPR relief was previously available for the last three years of ownership of a property that has been a main residence, regardless of whether it was occupied during the last three years of ownership.

From April 6, 2014 the rules have changed - the PPR exemption from tax for gains in the final years of ownership is restricted to the last 18 months rather than three years.

If more than one property is owned then an election as to which is the main residence must be made.

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Do you need help with filing a tax return?

We can complete and file a return for you with all tax calculations taken care of.

We can agree a fixed fee in advance.

Contact us for details

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