Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gain When Selling a Rental Property in the UK: Navigating the Tax Landscape

As a landlord or property investor in the United Kingdom, understanding the intricacies of capital gains tax (CGT) is crucial when selling a rental property. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll explore the essentials of CGT, exemptions, reporting requirements, and practical tips for minimizing your tax liability.

1. What Is Capital Gains Tax (CGT)?

Capital Gains Tax is a tax levied on the profit (capital gain) made from selling certain assets, including rental properties. Here are the key points to grasp:

  • Applicable Assets: CGT applies to various assets, such as rental properties, business premises, land, and inherited properties.
  • Calculation: The tax is based on the gain realized from the sale, which is the difference between the sale price and the original purchase price.

2. Exemptions and Reliefs

While CGT is generally applicable, there are scenarios where you may qualify for exemptions or reliefs:

a. Private Residence Relief (PRR)

  • If the property was your main home at any point during your ownership, you may be eligible for PRR.
  • PRR can significantly reduce or eliminate your CGT liability.

b. Dependent Relative Occupancy

  • If the property housed a dependent relative (e.g., an elderly parent), you might be exempt from CGT.
  • Conditions apply, so consult a tax professional for guidance.

c. Gifts and Charitable Donations

  • Transferring the property to your spouse, civil partner, or a charity usually doesn’t attract CGT.
  • Ensure compliance with relevant rules and documentation.

3. Calculating Your Gain

To determine your capital gain, follow these steps:

a. Sale Price Minus Purchase Price

  1. Subtract the sale price of your rental property from the original purchase price.
  2. This difference represents your capital gain.

b. Allowable Costs

  1. Deduct allowable costs related to the sale:
    • Legal fees
    • Estate agent fees
    • Advertising expenses
  2. These costs reduce your overall gain.

c. Annual Exemption

  1. Each tax year, you have an annual tax-free allowance for CGT.
  2. For the 2023-24 tax year, the allowance is £6,000, but it’s being lowered to £3,000 for 2024-25.

4. Reporting and Paying CGT

a. Timely Reporting

  1. Within 60 days of selling your UK property, report and pay any CGT due.
  2. Include relevant information if you’re handling the estate of a deceased person.

b. Pre-April 2020 Sales

  1. If you sold UK property or land before 6 April 2020, use the non-resident Capital Gains Tax return for reporting.

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JK Accountants, based in Wanstead, London, is your trusted financial partner. With over 14 years of experience, they offer comprehensive services, including tax assistance, VAT returns, payroll management, and annual accounts. Their qualified professionals provide personalized guidance, ensuring compliance with tax laws and efficient financial management.


  1. How long do you have to keep a property to avoid capital gains tax in the UK? To avoid capital gains tax (CGT) when selling a property in the UK, you generally need to have owned and lived in the property as your main home for at least two years. This period of ownership and residence qualifies you for certain exemptions. Keep in mind that specific circumstances may vary, so it’s advisable to consult with a tax professional for personalized advice.

  2. How much tax will I pay if I sell my rental property in the UK? When selling a rental property, the amount of capital gains tax you’ll pay depends on several factors, including your income level and the type of property. Here are the key points:

    • Basic-rate taxpayers: Pay 18% on the gains (not the total sale price) from selling the property.
    • Higher and additional-rate taxpayers: Pay 28% on the gains. However, starting from April 6, 2024, the rate for higher and additional-rate taxpayers will be reduced to 24%.
    • Remember that capital gains tax is calculated based on the increase in the property’s value during your ownership.
  3. Can I sell my rental property with tenants in it in the UK? Yes, you can sell a rental property with tenants still occupying it. However, there are important considerations:

    • Tenant rights: UK law protects tenant rights. Tenants are entitled to remain until the end of their tenancy term, even if the property is sold. You must give proper notice before viewings and cannot evict tenants solely to create a vacancy for sale.
    • Tenancy agreement: Check your tenancy agreement for provisions related to property viewings and notice periods. If the property is let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement, tenants have legal rights of occupation for at least six months.
    • Disclosure: Be transparent about the tenancy when marketing the property to potential buyers.

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