Q&A; Capital Gains Tax on Buy-to-Let or investment properties
Author: Andy Bedford » Publish Date: 18 November 2009
Capital gains tax is liable for gains made on certain non-exempt sales of assets at a current rate of 18%.
Your main residence is effectively exempt from Capital Gains Tax through tax relief; however, any second home or investment property will become liable for Capital Gains Tax from the date it is no longer your main home.
So if you bought a property as a second home or buy-to-let, then it is liable from the date of purchase; whereas, if you bought a property as your main home and subsequently moved to a new property letting the old one, the old property becomes liable to Capital Gains Tax from the date of transfer.
However, there is a 36-Month leeway given, so you owe Capital Gains tax on the property from 36 Months after its transfer to a buy-to-let.
Losses and expenses are offset against any gain. So keep a record of all your costs as a landlord, including maintenance bills, but not including your mortgage costs (mortgage interest is offset against income tax).
That means it is also worth having some form of valuation on the property at or around its 36th month as a let property to establish the value at its date of becoming liable.
You also have a personal Capital Gains Tax threshold of £10,100 currently, below which no tax is due, so if you are married or in a civil partnership having the property held on a “joint tenancy” or “tenancy in common” basis will allow you to use both your tax thresholds up to £20,200.
To work out any tax owed, take the sale value of the asset, less any costs and applicable tax threshold, and the value at its date of becoming liable, then multiply by 18%.
So if you let a property worth £120K in 2005 and sold it this year for £150K with costs in the four years of £3k, then you would owe £30K less £3K, less £10,100 which = £16,900 taxable gain. Then multiply £16,9K by 18%, giving tax due of £3,042.
In the same situation for a married couple where the property was held in joint names, you would instead take the gain of £30K less £3K costs, and £20,200 tax exemption giving £4,800 taxable and tax owed of £864.
Capital Gains Tax is a complex area, and there are other factors which may affect your tax liability. Remember that taxation policy can change in each government budget.
For more information or to speak to a mortgage broker, call 0345 4594490. Seek independent taxation advice for an exact analysis of your tax liability and guidance on tax mitigation.