Disposals of UK Residential Property by Non Residents – Introduction of CGT charge in the UK

Last week the UK Government released a Summary of Responses to a consultative exercise, and confirmed that a change is scheduled to come into effect from the start of the 2015/16 UK tax year – ie on the 6th of April, 2015 – whereby non UK resident individuals disposing of UK residential property will be subject to capital gains tax in the UK.

The Summary confirms that: “The government believes that extending capital gains (CGT) tax to non-residents disposing of UK residential property is an important change that will improve the integrity of the tax system. This change will remove the current differences in treatment of UK and non-UK residents disposing of residential property, and will bring the UK into line with many other countries that charge CGT on the basis of the location of the property.”

Draft legislation will be included in Finance Bill 2015 and is due to be published next week, on the 10th of December.

The Responses document advises that it will still be possible to elect which property is the taxpayer’s Principle Private Residence (the PPR) for a particular year provided the taxpayer is either tax resident in the same country as the property, or is resident in the property for at least 90 midnights in that year. This rule will apply to non residents for their UK property, and to UK residents for a non UK property.

Only gains arising after 5th of April 2015 will be liable for the new charge. The capital gain will be calculated by default using a rebased cost as at 05/04/2015, with an option to calculate the gain based on the original cost on a time apportionment basis.

The change will only apply to residential property.

The vendor of the property will have to notify HMRC of the sale within 30 days, and if the vendor is already within the UK tax system the tax will be collected via Self Assessment.

A new system will be devised for non residents not already within the UK tax system, but they will need to make a tax payment along with the notification.

The rate of tax for non resident individuals will be the same as the CGT rates for UK individuals, which are currently 18% or 28% depending on the taxpayer’s total UK income and chargeable gains for the tax year.

Non resident individuals (ie most of those living in Australia) will have access to the annual exempt amount of taxable gains, in line with UK residents.

Further details are awaited in the Finance Bill, but we are recommending that those with UK property plan on the basis that a future disposal of a UK property after the end of the current tax year when non-UK resident will be subject to UK CGT, computed with reference to the value of the property on the 5th of April, 2015.

To the extent that the disposal is subject to capital gains tax in Australia we anticipate the CGT paid in the UK will be creditable against the CGT liability in Australia.

If you are a non-UK resident owner of a UK residential property and wish to discuss how this might affect your tax position please complete the enquiry form on this page.