There’s more to buying and selling a house than you might realise. From paying stamp duty and disclosing to HMRC within the right time frame, to calculating the tax charge and weighing up your finances, there’s a lot to consider.
Here’s how you can ensure the transaction goes as smoothly as possible.
Saving you tax
When buying or selling a property, there are always tax implications. Stamp duty, capital gains and SDLT are all factors that will affect the amount of money involved in the deal.
There are various ways tax can be saved when buying or selling a property, but not all are applicable to everyone.
Let’s look at what you need to know.
Capital Gains Tax
You won’t have to pay Capital Gains Tax when you sell your home if all of the following apply:
- you’ve lived in it as your main home for all the time you’ve owned it
- you have not let part of it out or used part of it for business only
- the grounds, including the buildings, are smaller than 5,000 square metres (just over an acre)
This is because you automatically get a tax relief called Private Residence Relief. You don’t need to do anything.
Not meeting these criteria will make it likely that you’ll have to pay some tax, but it’s always worth checking to see if you’re eligible and discussing this with your accountant to ensure you comply with the tax charge.
SDLT (Land tax)
You won’t have to pay land tax if you’ve bought your first home and the total cost of the property is £300,000 or less.
If this isn’t your first home, however, you will have to pay SDLT if you paid more than £125,000 for the property.
You still have to pay if you swap something of economic value for a property, for example, shares or another property.
There are ways of protecting property when it comes to moving it on rather than selling it, which will likely put you in a better financial position at the end of the process.
Putting an asset — such as money, land or buildings — into a trust is often known as ‘making a settlement’ or ‘settling property.
Putting your property in a trust is a surefire way to protect it from inheritance tax and retain its value within your family structure.
This will generally form part of a will and will be clearly left to a relative or next-of-kin who will inherit the property after your death.
Sharing the ownership of tax on a property means sharing the tax obligations. This is incredibly important for maintaining a healthy balance and gives you room for flexibility with your finances.
For example, if one of you earns enough to be in a higher tax bracket, changing the split of property ownership to favour the lower income partner will produce a better tax result for everyone.
This is of course something that needs to be handled with care and with the help of an expert.
Always talk to an expert
With everything in life, business and property, it always pays to talk to an expert. We’re here to help you get the most from your money and make your life better.
Buying and selling property requires proper planning and forethought – if you try to cut corners, you’re very likely to get stung.