Capital Gains Tax changes could spell trouble for expats owning UK property

Foreign owners of UK property assets are being advised to seek property valuations to avoid falling foul of changes to Capital Gains Tax, writes David Westgate – Managing Director, Andrews Letting & Management

LAST UPDATED: 17 Apr, 2015 @ 11:35
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CHANGES to Capital Gains Tax for UK property investors based overseas were first announced by George Osborne last year and now here we are, just a few weeks’ away from the new legislation being introduced.

In essence, this will mean that if you’re resident outside of the UK and you decide to sell a property which you continue to own there, then you will be liable to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on any rise in value between April 6 2015 and the date on which you sell that property, once annual CGT exemptions have been deducted (currently £11,000 per person).Andrews-David-Westgate2

Some investors have taken action in the last year by making the decision to sell these properties to avoid being landed with a large CGT bill.

If, however, you haven’t been able to do this or are undecided on how you wish to manage your UK-based property investments over the longer term, there is still positive action that you can take to ensure that you manage the situation most effectively.

Simply, gains started accruing on April 6 and as such, we’d advise first and foremost to get a RICS Registered Valuer to carry out a valuation on your property as soon after that date as possible.

That way, both you and HMRC will know exactly how much your property is worth from the very outset of the new regime and any increase can be easily calculated from that date forward.

Without an accurate valuation in place, you’ll be required to seek a retrospective valuation on your property at such point as you come to sell it in the future.

This will not only cost more to commission, but could also be subject to closer scrutiny and analysis by HMRC.

Andrews has had it confirmed by HMRC in recent weeks that they will honour such a valuation when calculating any capital gains made in the future, so can you afford not to take action now?

Andrews’ sister company Landmark is able to offer this service and any survey booked via http://www.landmarksurveyors.co.uk/?utm_source=TheOlivePress&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=CapitalGainsTax will be eligible for a 15% discount on fees.

If, however, you continue to spend time in the UK, or think you may even return to the UK full time at some stage, you may wish to take advantage of the Principal Private Residence relief (PPR).

Under PPR, it might be sensible for a returning expat to live in the property for a while and claim it as their main home to avoid the CGT bill.

However, changes are afoot here too, and moving to qualify for PPR relief, the owner of a UK property only needs to show that they have spent at least 90 days in the property for each year when they are not UK resident.

These 90 days can be split between husband and wife if the property is jointly owned although, of course, this will prevent the property from being rented out other than for short periods.

For more information visit http://www.landmarksurveyors.co.uk/?utm_source=TheOlivePress&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=CapitalGainsTax



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