Capital Gains Tax arises when you make a profit from selling something you own. The important point to remember is that the tax is calculated on the profit you make, and not the amount you sold it for. As the name suggests, it’s all about the gain!
Capital Gains Tax is essentially a tax on any profit you made on the disposal of an asset and it applies to most assets when they’re sold. There are some exceptions, for instance you don’t pay Capital Gains Tax if you sell your main place of residence or on personal possessions sold for £6,000 or under.
There are some complex rules for assets with an expected life of under 50 years. Please seek expert advice if you need it.
Capital Gains Tax also applies to assets received as gifts from other people (though not usually your spouse or civil partner). A valuation needs to be made of how much the asset is valued at when gifted, and if a capital gain arises when you dispose of the asset, tax is applied. There is tax relief available for gifts, so please speak with an accountant for more advice.
If you inherit an asset then you will not have to pay Capital Gains Tax until you sell it – at which point you will need to know its value at the time you inherited it. This will allow you to calculate and if necessary, report any capital gain on your tax return. It can be a good idea to keep a record of these assets so that if you ever do decide to sell, you will have the necessary information to hand. This might also be useful in case you need to let your insurers know if an asset you inherit is particularly valuable.
Your tax-free allowance on Capital Gains for the 2020/21 tax year is £12,300, which is an increase from the 2019/20 tax year amount of £12,000.
You pay most types of CGT you owe as part of your annual Self Assessment. However, if you have CGT to pay as a result of selling a property which is not your main residence, from 6th April 2020, you must pay the amount you owe to HMRC within 30 days of the date of disposal.
If you don’t already complete a Self Assessment you will need to register with HMRC by 5th October following the end of the tax year in question to enable you to submit one.
The tax rate you pay depends on the total amount of your taxable income and your marginal rate of personal tax, so you need to work this out first. The following Capital Gains Tax rates apply for the tax years 2020/21 and 2019/20:
You may have to pay Capital Gains Tax even if your assets are held overseas. It’s important to know if you’re a UK tax resident or not, as this can affect the tax you pay and whether you’re entitled to any allowances or exemptions.
There are special rules surrounding Capital Gains Tax if you’re a UK resident but not ‘domiciled’ in the UK (eg. if you work in another country and earn income there). You should speak to an accountant to understand more about your own personal situation.
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