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The period that private residence relief impacts on capital gains tax will be reduced from 6 April 2014.

Private residence relief – or principal private residence relief – applies for capital gains tax purposes if the dwelling house or part of the dwelling house has been the individual’s only or main residence during some period of ownership.

If during the period of ownership the dwelling house or part of the dwelling house has been used exclusively for some other purpose then the relief is reduced, although the last 36 months of ownership will be treated as if it was the individual’s only or main residence even if in fact it was not so used.

However, this final period exemption will be reduced from 36 months to 18 months from 6 April 2014. This was announced in the Autumn Statement on 5 December 2013, although the legislation has not yet been put in place. 

Let property relief

A further relief may be available where private residence relief is restricted because some or all of the dwelling has been let as residential accommodation (TCGA 1992 sec223(4)). 

Example 1 (last 36 months treated as eligible for private residence relief)

A dwelling house which is owned by husband and wife Mr & Mrs Green in the proportion 40% by husband and 60% by wife is sold in March 2014 (contracts exchanged on 14 March and completion on 1 April) for £600,000 net of allowable expenses. The house cost £400,000 including the allowable expenses. The house was purchased in 2004 contracts exchanged on 15 March 2004 and completed on 3 May 2004.

Mr & Mrs Green lived in the house as their principal private residence from 3 May 2004 until 15 March 2007 then let the property to tenants until 31 December 2012, then the property was empty until it was sold.

The computation is:                              Total            Mr Green     Mrs Green

40%                      60%

Sale proceeds                                     600,000      240,000      360,000

Cost                                                    400,000      160,000      240,000

Net gain                                              200,000        80,000      120,000

Private residence relief (3+3)/10   120,000        48,000        72,000

Gain arising by reason of letting      80,000        32,000        48,000

Letting relief lower of:

  1. Private residence relief                             48,000        72,000
  2. Gain by reason of letting                           32,000        48,000
  3. Statutory figure                                            40,000        40,000

Lower of above three is                                          32,000        40,000

Chargeable gain                                                             Nil           8,000

 

In the above calculations the period qualifying for private residence relief is the period when the house was occupied as a principal private residence plus the last 36 months. The period of ownership is from date of exchange on purchase to date of exchange on sale.

If either Mr or Mrs Green were in business while they were living in the house they may have used part of the house for business purposes such as one room being used as an office. If that room was used exclusively for business purposes then the private residence relief would be restricted, based on period used exclusively for business purpose and say on the size of that room compared to the size of the house. However, if the room was used for business purposes but not exclusively (ie some non-business use and some business use) then there will be no restriction of the private residence relief for this business use (see CG64663).

Husbands and wives or civil partners can elect for property held in their joint names to be held in any proportion if that couple live together. This can be done using HMRC form 17.

Example 2 (last 18 months treated as eligible for private residence relief, sale after 5 April 2014)

A dwelling house which is owned by husband and wife Mr & Mrs Green in the proportion 40% by husband and 60% by wife is sold in April 2014 (contracts exchanged on 14 April and completion on 1 May) for £600,000 net of allowable expenses. The house cost £400,000 including the allowable expenses. The house was purchased in 2004: contracts exchanged on 15 April 2004 and completed on 3 June 2004.

Mr & Mrs Green lived in the house as their principal private residence from 3 June 2004 until 15 April 2007 then let the property to tenants until 31 December 2012, then the property was empty until it was sold.

The computation is:                              Total            Mr Green     Mrs Green

40%            60%

Sale proceeds                                   600,000      240,000      360,000

Cost                                                    400,000      160,000      240,000

Net gain                                              200,000        80,000      120,000

Private residence relief (3+1.5)/10  90,000        36,000        54,000

Gain arising by reason of letting    110,000        44,000        66,000

Letting relief lower of:

  1. Private residence relief                             36,000        54,000
  2. Gain by reason of letting                           44,000        66,000
  3. Statutory figure                                           40,000        40,000

Lower of above three is                                        36,000        40,000

Chargeable gain                                                      8,000        26,000

In the above calculations the period qualifying for private residence relief is the period when the house was occupied as a principal private residence plus the last 18 months. The period of ownership is from date of exchange on purchase to date of exchange on sale.

Article contributed by ACCA