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As a general rule there is no CGT payable on the disposal of a property which has been used as the main family residence. Conversely, an investment property which has never been used will not qualify for relief. This relief from CGT is commonly known as private residence relief (PRR).
It is increasingly common for taxpayers to own more than one home and there are a number of issues that home owners should be aware. An individual, married couple or civil partnership can only benefit from CGT PRR on one property at a time. However, it is possible to choose which property benefits from a CGT exemption when it comes to be sold by making an election.
This must be done by nominating one property as your main home by writing to HMRC and specifying (with the full address) which home you want to nominate. All owners of the property must sign the letter. If you want to nominate a home you must do this within 2 years on every occassion your combination of homes changes. You must have also lived in the house as your main or only residence at some point in the past.
There are special rules for overseas property and for non-UK residents. It is important to carefully consider the timing and frequency of changing an election. We would be happy to help you consider your position and ensure the optimum tax structure for your needs.
If a property has been occupied at any time as an individual’s private residence, the last 18 months of ownership are disregarded for CGT purposes – even if the individual was not living in the property when it was sold.