In the dynamic landscape of property ownership, the complexities surrounding Capital Gains Tax (CGT)on a second house remain a central concern for homeowners and investors. As we embark on the year 2024, understanding the nuances of second home CGT becomes crucial. Property owners grapple with key questions such as, "How can I avoid capital gains tax on a second property?" The strategic considerations surrounding CGT on a second house, including relief options and optimal tax outcomes, will be explored in depth.

In this blog post, we are going to be exploring when you will need to pay capital gains tax in relation to a second property sale, what effect your tax band will have on the sale, and how we can help you sell a second home without the fees. 

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Do the new capital gains tax rates affect my second house

Tax Rates Based on Income:

  • For higher rate taxpayers, the capital gains tax rate on property is set at 28%.

  • Basic rate taxpayers are subject to a capital gains tax rate of 18%.

These rates determine the percentage of the profit from the sale of a second home that will be owed in taxes, depending on the taxpayer's income level.

Taxation on Gains for Non-Primary Residences:

  • If the property in question is not your main residence, you will be subject to capital gains tax on the gain made from the sale.

  • The gain is calculated by subtracting the original purchase price from the selling price, and the resulting profit is then subject to the applicable CGT rate.

If you are selling a property that is your second home or a property that is not your main residence, then it is important to have a good understanding of CGT tax rates.

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How much will my CGT be for my second house?

In the event of a taxable gain, an associated liability for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) will be incurred and is payable to HMRC. The applicable rate of CGT is contingent upon the nature of the asset that has undergone either a sale or a gift. For dispositions involving residential property, a CGT rate of 18% for basic rate taxpayers and 28% for higher rate taxpayers will be applicable. Conversely, for disposals of non-residential property, such as shares, the CGT rates are set at 10% for basic rate taxpayers and 20% for higher rate taxpayers.

Below we take a closer look at what your CGT liability may amount too:

Gains Formula: At the core of calculating CGT liability lies the Gains Formula, a fundamental equation that establishes the groundwork for determining the taxable amount. The formula is expressed as:

Gains = Purchase Price – (Sale Price + Buying & Selling Costs + Improvement Costs)

This equation encapsulates the essence of CGT calculations, considering various facets such as the initial investment, selling price, and associated costs. Let's break down each component:

  • Purchase Price: The original cost of acquiring the property.

  • Sale Price: The amount for which the property is sold.

  • Buying & Selling Costs: Expenses incurred during the acquisition and sale, including legal fees, estate agent fees, and stamp duty.

  • Improvement Costs: Any costs associated with enhancing the property’s value.

By plugging in these values, property owners can determine the gains made from the sale, laying the foundation for subsequent CGT calculations.

GCT Payable Formula: The GCT Payable Formula refines the gains further, considering the CGT Allowance and the applicable Tax Rate. It is articulated as:

GCTPayable=(Gains–GCTAllowance)×GCTTaxRate

Breaking down this formula provides clarity on the steps involved:

  • GCT Allowance: The annual allowance that exempts a certain amount of gains from taxation.

  • Gains (from the Gains Formula): The calculated gains based on the property’s transaction details.

  • GCT Tax Rate: The applicable tax rate, contingent on the individual’s income and asset type.

Executing this formula refines the taxable gains, incorporating the allowable CGT allowance and applying the relevant tax rate.

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Do I have to pay CGT for a second home?

Typically, capital gains tax (CGT) is not applicable when selling your primary residence, unless the property has been utilised for business purposes or if certain portions have been let out. It's important to note that having a lodger while residing in the property does not trigger CGT liability.

Conversely, if you are selling a property that serves as a secondary residence, like a holiday home, or if it is a buy-to-let property, CGT will be applicable. Even if the buy-to-let property represents your sole ownership, it remains subject to capital gains tax upon sale.

When don't I need to pay capital gains tax? 

In order to be exempt from Capital Gains Tax when you are selling or disposing of your primary asset, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You own a single home, and it has been your primary residence for the entire duration of your ownership.

  • No part of your home has been let out, excluding situations where you have a lodger.

  • No part of your home has been exclusively used for business purposes, and occasional or temporary use of a room as an office does not count as exclusive business use.

  • The total grounds, including all buildings, are less than 5,000 square meters (slightly over an acre).

  • You did not acquire the property solely for the purpose of making a profit.

If all these criteria are satisfied, you automatically qualify for tax relief known as Private Residence Relief, resulting in no tax obligation. However, if any of these conditions do not apply, there may be potential tax liabilities.

How to reduce the Capital gains tax on sale of second home

When it comes to reducing selling second home tax, you will need to utilise planning, available reliefs, and allowances. While complete elimination may not always be possible, here are several effective strategies to minimize CGT liabilities:

Utilise the Annual Exemption:

Make the most of the annual CGT allowance, which allows a certain amount of gains to be tax-free. For the 2023-2024 tax year, the allowance is £6,000. Timing the sale to stay within this threshold can help reduce the overall tax liability.

Private Residence Relief (PRR):

If the property has been your main residence at any point, PRR can exempt all or part of the gain on the sale. The last nine months of ownership are typically covered by PRR, even if the property wasn't your main home during that time.

Lettings Relief:

If you've let out the property, you may be eligible for Lettings Relief, which can further reduce the CGT liability. Meeting the conditions, such as shared occupancy with tenants, is crucial to qualify for this relief.

Consider Entrepreneur's Relief (ER):

If the property has been used for business purposes, you might qualify for Entrepreneur's Relief, which offers a reduced CGT rate of 10% on qualifying gains, subject to certain conditions.

Gift or Transfer to Family Members:

Transferring ownership of the property to a family member, especially if they are in a lower tax bracket, can be a tax-efficient strategy. However, consider potential Inheritance Tax implications and the recipient's CGT on future disposals.

Invest in Tax-Efficient Vehicles:

 Explore tax-efficient investment options such as Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) or Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (SEIS). Reinvesting the gain into these schemes can provide deferral relief on CGT.

Offsetting Losses:

 If you have incurred capital losses on other investments, consider offsetting them against the gains from the second home. This can significantly reduce the overall CGT liability.

Pension Contributions:

Making pension contributions can reduce your taxable income, potentially moving you to a lower CGT band and reducing the CGT rate on property gains.

Timing of the Sale:

Be mindful of the timing of the property sale, taking into account any impending changes in CGT rates or allowances. Selling before a reduction in the annual allowance or an increase in tax rates can optimize tax outcomes.

Everyone's personal circumstances are different, however, it is critical that you seek out professional advice from a tax accountant or financial advisor to tailor these strategies to your own needs. Staying informed about the latest tax regulations and planning ahead are key elements in successfully reducing CGT on the sale of a second home.

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How can I avoid capital gains tax on a second property?

Avoiding capital gains on sale of a second home involves strategic planning and leveraging available reliefs and allowances. While complete avoidance may not always be possible, there are legal and legitimate ways to minimize CGT liabilities. Here are some key strategies to consider:

Private Residence Relief (PRR):

 If the property has been your main residence at any point during the ownership period, you may be eligible for PRR. This relief can exempt all or part of the gain on the sale of your primary residence. The last nine months of ownership are usually covered by PRR, even if the property was not your main home during that time.

Lettings Relief:

If you've let out the property, you might qualify for Lettings Relief, which can further reduce the CGT liability. Lettings Relief can exempt up to £40,000 (£80,000 for a couple) from CGT, provided certain conditions, such as shared occupancy with tenants, are met.

Utilise the Annual Exemption:

Take advantage of the annual CGT allowance. In the 2023-2024 tax year, the allowance is £6,000. This means that gains up to this amount are tax-free. Planning the timing of the sale or transfer of assets can help maximize the use of this allowance.

Gift the Property:

Transferring ownership of the property as a gift to a family member might be a tax-efficient strategy. However, this involves careful consideration of potential Inheritance Tax implications and the recipient's CGT on future disposals.

Pension Contributions:

Consider making pension contributions to reduce your taxable income. Lowering your income can potentially move you to a lower CGT band, leading to reduced CGT rates on property gains.

Tax-Efficient Investments:

Explore tax-efficient investment options such as Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) or Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (SEIS). Reinvesting the gain into these schemes can provide deferral relief on CGT.

Timing of the Sale:

Be mindful of the timing of the property sale, especially considering any impending changes in CGT rates or allowances. Selling before a reduction in the annual allowance or an increase in tax rates can optimize tax outcomes.

It is critical that you always seek professional advice from either a tax accountant or financial advisor before adapting any of these strategies. They will be able to advise you on which method is best for your personal circumstances, as well as how best to execute it. Tax laws are complex and subject to change, so staying informed and planning ahead are key elements in minimizing CGT on a second property.


 How can The Property Buying Company help? 

When it comes to selling a second house taxes there is plenty to consider, especially with the changes over the last few years. If you find yourself contemplating the sale of a second home or a substantial portion of your property portfolio, then time is of the essence. Unfortunately, you may find that the traditional methods of selling may not align themselves to your situation. 

So where can you go? 

Look no further. We are The Property Buying Company, a genuine cash buyer who can buy your property in as little as 7 days. As a cash house buyer, we possess the ability to purchase your home in a timeline that suits you. Regardless of location or condition, we can start the purchasing process as soon as you are ready to sell. 

Furthermore, we will also cover all of the fees that you would typically associate with selling a house, it’s just one of the ways we make selling easy. 

When you sell with The Property Buying Company, you are in good hands. We are proud members of both The Property Ombudsman and The National Association of Property Buyers and have over 1,000 reviews on TrustPilot rating us as excellent. 

So, what are you waiting for? If you are looking to dispose of an asset quickly in order to reduce CGT on second home, then simply enter your postcode below and let us take care of the rest!

Alexandra Ventress

Alexandra is a Content Producer who enjoys writing articles, finding out about the property market, keeping you up to date with the latest trends.

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