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Overseas property investors – are you ready for CGT in 2015

Taxes

In the Autumn Statement 2013 it was announced that a CGT charge will be introduced from April 2015 on ‘future’ capital gains made by non-UK residents disposing of UK residential property. George Osborne said…

“Britain is an open country that welcomes investment from all over the world, including investment in our residential property”

“But it’s not right that those who live in this country pay capital gains tax when they sell a home that is not their primary residence – while those who don’t live here do not. That is unfair.”

UK Residents typically pay capital gains tax at 28% on any profit from selling property that is not considered their primary residence.

 

 Reuters reported in Dec 2013…

Property lawyers and estate agents said foreign owners would be relieved the tax will not apply to historic gains before 2015. But they cautioned that the overall impact could be marginal as many foreign investors see London property as a safe and profitable place to park capital.

“Tax is not the primary driver for the majority of international buyers of residential property in London,” Knight Frank’s head of global research, Liam Bailey, said.

“It is important to note that the change to CGT rules brings the UK in line with other key investor markets, such as New York and Paris, where equivalent taxes can approach 35-50 percent depending on the owner’s residency status.”

It was not immediately clear how the tax would be collected and how it would apply if foreign owners used a domestic company to purchase property.

When a company disposes of an asset and makes a capital gain, as the main rate of corporation tax in 2014 is 21% (20% small profits rate) there could be a future tax saving opportunity for overseas investors to transfer property to limited companies.

There are other tax implications for example ATED (Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings) and SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) but now could be a good time to consider your options.

steve@bicknells.net

Loan Notes – A Seller’s Dilemma

Stress business woman

When you sell your company your buyer may wish to pay part in cash and part in loan notes to be paid off from future profits. The Loan Notes are known as Qualifying Corporate Bonds (QCB’s), the dilemma is whether to claim Entrepreneurs Tax at 10% now or pay full Capital Gains Tax later.

To obtain Entrepreneurs’ Relief on a disposal of the shares (the “old asset”) at the time of the exchange, the individual may make an election for the gain not to be deferred by TCGA92/S116 (10). The effect of an election is that the gain is brought into charge at the time of the exchange so that Entrepreneurs’ Relief can be claimed in order to benefit from the 10% rate – TCGA92/S169R (2).

In the absence of an election the gain is deferred and will be charged to CGT when it accrues under TCGA92/S116 (10) (b). It would be unusual for the qualifying conditions for Entrepreneurs’ Relief to be met at the later date when the gain comes into charge.

An election under this section, like the claim for Entrepreneurs’ Relief, must be made on or before the first anniversary of the 31 January following the tax year in which the relevant transaction takes place – TCGA92/S169R (4).

So would you claim the Entrepreneurs Tax Relief and pay 10% now or possibly pay 28% later?

You could try selling your shares in stages but that might not suit either you or your buyer?

steve@bicknells.net

5 Pitfalls to avoid with Entrepreneurs Tax Relief

Businessman With Gold Bar

If you sell or close your business, you may be able to claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief – this means that you only pay 10% Capital Gains Tax on any qualifying profits.

There’s no limit to how many times you can claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief, and you can claim up to £10 million of relief in total during your lifetime.

Companies

To claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief you must:

  • own at least 5% of the shares in the business for a year
  • be a director, partner or employee of the business

Sole traders

To claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief you must have been trading for at least a year.

Full details are on the HMRC Helpsheet HS275

But here are some pitfalls to avoid…….

  1. Entrepreneurs Tax Relief is not available to companies, so if your company sold the part of its business then that won’t qualify, it’s common for a buyer to want to buy the assets into a New Co but ask that the old company remains alive in case of future claim.
  2. Significant Non Trading Activity could be a problem too, some business contain investments and if these were more than 20% in terms of turnover, net assets, time spent by directors or profit it could mean that your business is not counted as a trading business
  3. Less than 5% share ownership this can be an issue where share options are granted and exercised before a sale
  4. Voting rights of classes of shares or when at an AGM votes are based on a show of hands
  5. Shares transferred to a non working spouse prior to sale to save tax – to qualify you have to be an employee/officer and hold the shares for a year

steve@bicknells.net

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