IN DIFFICULT FINANCIAL times, many naturally look to put their affairs in order in case the worst happens. In such testing times many fall into tax traps without realising. One of most common misconceptions we come across here at Shipleys Tax is individuals transferring interest in properties to a spouse, child or relative in the belief that so long as no money has changed hands it must be tax free, right?
Wrong. As with most things in life, it’s not that simple, unfortunately. Although it is possible in certain circumstances to transfer assets between spouses tax free, giving a property to children or other family members may trigger an unwelcome tax bill, even if nothing was received it return.
In today’s Shipleys Tax note we briefly look at what tax traps could lay in wait for the unsuspecting person looking to organise their property affairs.
Family connections and market value
The problem is that the legislation does not respect family connections. So, where an asset is transferred (or disposed) to a “connected person”, the transfer is deemed to take place at market value, regardless of whether any consideration is actually received and the amount of that consideration.
So, who are connected people? The list of connected persons includes:
- spouses and civil partners;
- relatives (siblings, ancestors or lineal descendants);
- spouse or civil partners of relatives;
- relatives or spouses or of civil partners; and
- spouses or civil partners of those relatives.
However, as noted above, the tax-free transfer rule applies to transfer between spouses and civil partner rather than the market value rules.
The following case study illustrates the potential cost of being caught out by the market value rule.
Adam has a buy to let property. To help his daughter to get on the property ladder, he decides to make a gift of the property to her. He receives nothing in exchange for the property.
At the time that he gifted the property to his daughter, the house was valued at £300,000.
Adam purchased the property ten years earlier for £200,000. Costs of acquisition and disposal are £5,000.
As his daughter is a connected person, Adam is deemed to have disposed of the property for £300,000, giving rise to a chargeable gain of £95,000 (£300,000 – (£200,000 + £5,000)).
Assuming Adam is a higher rate taxpayer and has used his annual exempt amount already, this will give rise to a capital gains tax bill of £26,600 (£95,000 @ 28%). This must be reported to HMRC within 30 days and capital gains tax paid within the same time frame.
Despite not receiving a penny for the property, Adam must find £26,600 to pay in capital gains tax!
Family Tax Planning?
However, with careful planning Adam may have been able to transfer the property to his daughter potentially tax free. There are planning options available in the right circumstances using a trust arrangement or an LLP/company structure to mitigate or at the very least defer some of the tax payable.
If you are affected by any of the issues above and would like more information, please call 0114 272 4984 or email email@example.com.
Please note that Shipleys Tax do not give free advice by email or telephone.