Private Residence Relief: minimising tax when selling your home

Have you ever considered selling your home? If yes, you’ve probably wondered about the tax implications. Specifically, there might be one tax you’ve heard about: Capital Gains Tax (CGT). In this article, we aim to clarify what this tax is and how Private Residence Relief can potentially protect you from it.

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What is Capital Gains Tax (CGT)?

Capital Gains Tax is a tax on the profit or gain you make when you sell or dispose of an asset that has increased in value. This applies to finance assets, investments like art, and company shares. In the context of property, if you sell a house that is not your main home, you may need to pay CGT on the profit you make.

What is Private Residence Relief?

Private Residence Relief, also known as Principal Private Residence Relief (PPR), is a valuable tax relief that can significantly reduce, or even eliminate, CGT when you sell your main family home. This relief recognises that your primary residence should not be subject to the same tax burdens as other investment assets.

Who Qualifies for Private Residence Relief?

There are specific conditions you need to meet for Private Residence Relief. According to the HMRC, the following conditions must be satisfied:

  1. Main Residence: The property must have been your only or main residence throughout the period of ownership.

  2. No Rental: You must not have let out part of the house (having a lodger is not considered letting out a part).

  3. Business Use: No part of your home should have been used exclusively for business purposes. However, using a room as a temporary or occasional office doesn’t count as exclusive business use.

  4. Property Size: The garden or grounds including the buildings on them should not be greater than 5,000 square metres (approximately an acre) in total.

  5. Profit Motive: The property must not have been purchased solely to make a financial gain.

If you meet all these conditions, you may be entitled to full Private Residence Relief on CGT.

Final Period Exemption

Even if you move out of your home, HMRC provides a Final Period Exemption. Under this provision, the last nine months of ownership are disregarded for CGT purposes. This means you might still qualify for Private Residence Relief even if you weren’t living in the property when it was sold. Under certain limited circumstances, this time period can be extended to 36 months.

Private Residence Relief for Married Couples and Civil Partners

It’s important to note that for married couples and civil partners, only one property can be counted as the main home at any one time for the purposes of Private Residence Relief.

In summary, understanding Private Residence Relief can save you significant sums of money when selling your home. However, it’s always wise to consult with a tax advisor or expert who understands your specific circumstances to ensure you maximise any tax relief you are entitled to.

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