tax when selling your home

Tax When Selling Your Home: An Overview For Property Owners

Selling your home can be a significant financial event, and understanding the tax implications is crucial. In the UK, the primary tax concern when selling a property is Capital Gains Tax (CGT). This article outlines the conditions under which CGT applies and the circumstances that may entitle you to full relief.

What is Capital Gains Tax? (CGT)

Capital Gains Tax is a tax on the profit (or gain) made when you sell or dispose of an asset that has increased in value. It’s the gain you make that is taxed, not the amount of money you receive.

When CGT Applies to Property Sales

According to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), you may have to pay CGT if you dispose of:

  • A dwelling house (including a house, flat, houseboat, or fixed caravan) which is your home.
  • Part of a dwelling house which is your home.
  • Part of the garden attached to your home.

Conditions for Full CGT Relief

You will be entitled to full relief (no tax to pay) if all the following conditions are met:

  1. Main Residence: The dwelling house has been your only or main residence throughout your period of ownership.
  2. No Significant Absences: You have not been absent, other than for an allowed period of absence or because you have been living in job-related accommodation, during your period of ownership.
  3. Permitted Area: The garden or grounds, including the buildings on them, are not greater than the permitted area.
  4. Non-Exclusive Business Use: No part of your home has been used exclusively for business purposes during your period of ownership.

Note: Using a room for both business and non-business purposes will not prevent entitlement to full relief.

Detailed Considerations

The last point regarding non-exclusive business use warrants further examination. If you use part of your home as a dedicated business space (e.g., an office), HMRC may treat any profit on the sale of this business part of your home as taxable under CGT regulations. The key term here is “exclusivity”.

Avoiding Loss of Private Residence Relief (PRR)

To avoid losing PRR, you need to demonstrate that any room used for business purposes also serves a personal use. For example, if the room is used as an office and personal storage space, or as an office and a space for children’s homework, this dual use should protect your PRR entitlement.

What To Do If In Doubt

If you are about to sell your home and have any doubts about the use of your home in the past that may compromise a claim for PRR, it is advisable to seek professional advice. Consulting with a tax advisor can help you consider the facts and advise you of any tax consequences.

Summary Tables

Conditions for Full CGT Relief

Main ResidenceThe property must be your only or main residence throughout your ownership.
No Significant AbsencesNo significant absences except allowed periods or job-related accommodations.
Permitted AreaThe garden or grounds, including buildings, must not exceed the permitted area.
Non-Exclusive Business UseNo part of the home used exclusively for business purposes during the ownership period.

Avoiding Loss of PRR

Business Use ScenarioPRR Status
Exclusive Business UseMay result in loss of PRR.
Dual Use (Business + Personal)Should not result in loss of PRR. Examples include office + storage or office + homework area.
Accountant York


Understanding these rules can help you navigate the tax implications of selling your home and ensure you take advantage of any available reliefs. If you need further assistance, do not hesitate to seek professional advice.


When Selling Property How is the Gain Calculated for CGT Purposes?2024-06-26T11:19:52+00:00

When selling a property, the gain for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) purposes is calculated as follows:

  1. Determine the Sale Proceeds:
    • The sale proceeds are the amount you received from selling the property. If you gave the property away or sold it for less than its market value, the market value is used instead.
  2. Deduct the Cost Basis:
    • The cost basis typically includes the original purchase price of the property and any associated purchase costs, such as legal fees and stamp duty.
  3. Subtract Allowable Expenses:
    • You can deduct certain allowable expenses from the sale proceeds. These include:
      • Costs of improvements (but not maintenance or repairs).
      • Selling costs (e.g., estate agent fees, legal fees).
  4. Calculate the Gain:
    • The gain is calculated by subtracting the cost basis and allowable expenses from the sale proceeds.

Example Calculation

Let’s consider an example to illustrate the process:

  1. Sale Proceeds: £300,000 (the amount you sold your property for).
  2. Purchase Price: £200,000 (the amount you originally paid for the property).
  3. Purchase Costs: £5,000 (legal fees and stamp duty at the time of purchase).
  4. Improvement Costs: £10,000 (costs of adding a conservatory).
  5. Selling Costs: £3,000 (estate agent fees and legal fees for selling the property).

Calculation Steps:

  1. Total Cost Basis: £200,000 (purchase price) + £5,000 (purchase costs) = £205,000
  2. Total Allowable Expenses: £10,000 (improvement costs) + £3,000 (selling costs) = £13,000
  3. Total Deductible Amounts: £205,000 (cost basis) + £13,000 (allowable expenses) = £218,000
  4. Gain: £300,000 (sale proceeds) – £218,000 (total deductible amounts) = £82,000

Key Points to Remember

  • Exemptions and Reliefs: If the property was your main residence, you might be eligible for Private Residence Relief (PRR), which could reduce or eliminate the gain subject to CGT.
  • Annual Exempt Amount: Each individual has an annual exempt amount (£12,300 for the 2023/2024 tax year), which can be deducted from the gain if PRR does not fully apply.

Professional Advice

Consult a tax advisor if you need help calculating your gain or determining your eligibility for reliefs and exemptions. They can provide tailored advice based on your specific circumstances.

Do I need to report the sale of my home to HMRC?2024-06-26T09:38:17+00:00

Whether you need to report the sale of your home to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) depends on the specifics of your situation:

  1. No Gain or Full Private Residence Relief (PRR)
    • If the entire gain from the sale of your home is covered by Private Residence Relief (PRR), meaning you don’t have any taxable gain, you generally do not need to report the sale to HMRC.
  2. Partial or No Private Residence Relief (PRR)
    • If part or all of the gain from the sale of your home is not covered by PRR, then you must report the sale to HMRC. This situation can arise if:
      • The property was not your main residence for the entire period of ownership.
      • Part of the property was used exclusively for business purposes.
      • The property includes grounds exceeding the permitted area.
      • There are other reasons that PRR does not fully apply.
  3. Reporting Requirement
    • If you need to report the sale, you must do so by completing the Capital Gains Tax section of your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year in which the property was sold.
    • You must report and pay any CGT due within 30 days of the completion of the sale using the ‘real-time’ Capital Gains Tax service.

Key Considerations

  • Documentation: Keep detailed records of the sale, including the purchase price, sale price, and any allowable expenses (e.g., legal fees, improvement costs).
  • Professional Advice: If you’re unsure whether you need to report the sale or how to calculate the gain, consulting with a tax advisor can help ensure compliance and accurate reporting.

By understanding these requirements, you can ensure you meet your obligations and avoid potential penalties.

What happens if I used part of my home for business purposes?2024-06-26T09:36:55+00:00

If you used part of your home for business purposes, the tax implications depend on the exclusivity and extent of the business use:

  1. Exclusive Business Use:
    • If a specific part of your home, such as a room, was used exclusively for business purposes, then the gain attributable to that part may be subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). This means you might lose Private Residence Relief (PRR) for the portion of the home used solely for business.
  2. Dual Use:
    • If the part of your home used for business purposes also served as a personal space (e.g., an office that is also used as a guest room or a study where children do homework), this dual use generally does not affect your entitlement to PRR. In this case, you should still be eligible for full relief.
  3. Example Scenarios:
    • Exclusive Use: If you used a room solely as an office and never for personal purposes, the gain from selling that part of the home would be taxable.
    • Dual Use: If you used the office both for work and as a family room, this mixed use should protect your PRR, and you would not have to pay CGT on the gain from this part of the home.

Key Considerations

  • Evidence of Use: Be prepared to provide evidence of how the space was used, especially if you claim dual use to secure PRR.
  • Professional Advice: If you’re uncertain about how your business use of the home might affect your tax situation, consulting a tax advisor can provide clarity and help you make informed decisions.

Understanding these distinctions can help you effectively manage your tax obligations when selling your home.

What is the “permitted area” for the grounds of my home?2024-06-26T09:33:32+00:00

The context of the “permitted area” in this FAQ relates to the conditions under which Private Residence Relief (PRR) can be claimed to exempt you from paying Capital Gains Tax (CGT) when selling your home. PRR is available if certain conditions are met, one of which concerns the size of the property’s grounds. The “permitted area” specifies the maximum size of land (including the area occupied by the house) that can qualify for full PRR. If the grounds exceed this permitted area, the excess may not qualify for PRR, potentially resulting in a CGT liability on the gain associated with that excess land when the property is sold.

The “permitted area” for the grounds of your home is up to 5,000 square metres (about 1.24 acres), including the area of the house itself. If the grounds exceed this area, you may be liable for Capital Gains Tax on the portion of the gain attributable to the excess land when you sell your property.

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