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Exposure to UK CGT for non-residents


When faced with a large tax bill and the administrative burden of having to file Tax Returns in two jurisdictions, people always regret not getting professional taxation advice BEFORE they completed the transaction.


Over the past number of years I’ve been contacted by several Irish citizens returning home from the UK where they’ve lived and worked for a number of years.


In the majority of cases, these individuals have had difficulty selling their UK homes and, as a result, may have rented them out for a number of years until a suitable buyer was found.


Their main question they asked was “Do I have an Irish and a UK Capital Gains Tax liability?”


Up until 5th April 2015 the UK domestic law did not impose a Capital Gains Tax liability on non residents which meant if you were Irish resident, for example, then you had no exposure to UK CGT on the sale or disposal of a UK asset.  Because the UK domestic tax law didn’t and couldn’t impose a charge to UK CGT on the disposal of the asset by a non-resident then the Double Taxation Treaty didn’t need to be consulted but the individual would have a CGT liability in his/her place of residence.  Under Section 29(2) Taxes Consolidated Acts 1997, an Irish resident individual only paid Capital Gains Tax in Ireland.


From 5th April 2015 the UK Government amended the taxation of gains made by non-residents disposing of UK residential property.


The New UK Rules

The new CGT charge on non-residents deals with “property used or suitable for use as a dwelling” and will include residential property used for letting purposes.


There are, of course, exclusions for certain types of property in communal use which include boarding schools, nursing homes and certain types of student accommodation.


What differentiates this new charge from the existing ATED-related CGT charge is that all residential property falling within the definition comes within the scope of this new legislation regardless of the value of the property.


The existing ATED-related CGT charge limited the charge to properties where the consideration on sale/disposal exceeded a specified “threshold amount” which for all gains arising on or after 6th April 2015 is £1m.


So who will be affected by this new charge?


The charge will apply to gains made by


  • Individuals
  • Trustees
  • Closely held non-resident companies
  • Funds – to the extent that these gains are not within the ATED-related CGT charge


Who will not be affected by this new charge?


Companies and funds which are not closely-held as well as the majority of institutional investors.


Tax rates (UK)


The tax rates for the new CGT charge on non-residents are the same for UK residents who pay CGT at their marginal rate of Income Tax.


What does that mean?


For taxpayers paying at a Basic Rate, the rate will be 18%


For taxpayers liable at the higher/additional rate, it will be 28%.


For non-residents, the rate will depend on their total UK Income and Gains.


Is there an Annual Exemption?


The annual exempt amount for gains of £11,000 is also be available to non-residents.


Paying and Filing (UK)


In circumstances where the non resident person has an “existing relationship” with HMRC and providing the disposal is not exempt, he/she will be required to file a self-assessment Tax Return following the end of the tax year and make the relevant payment within the usual deadline dates.


A person who does not have an “existing relationship” must submit a Tax Return and make the appropriate tax payment within thirty days.


What about Tax Returns requiring Amendments?


Amendments or changes to these Tax Returns are allowable within the twelve months following the normal filing date for the tax year in which the disposal is made.


In Summary


  • For non-residents disposing of UK residential property, Capital Gains Tax was not an issue up until 6th April 2015.


  • With the introduction of the new legislation, which takes from 6th April 2015, non resident individuals, trustees and/or closely held companies or funds may be exposed to a UK CGT Charge.


  • Non-resident individuals, trustees or closely-held entities can avoid a CGT charge on a disposal of UK residential property where the property qualifies for Principal Private Residence Relief.


  • The new legislation governing Principal Private Residence Relief has prevented some non-residents from claiming the CGT relief.


  • Under this new rule, a residence will not qualify for PPR for a tax year unless (a) the person making the disposal is tax resident in the country where the property is located for that tax year or (b) the person spent at least 90 days in that property in that tax year. (For further information regarding the amendment to PPRR please contact us)


  • Non-residents can defer the payment of the CGT due until the self-assessment filing date provided they register with HMRC.