Do You Pay Capital Gains Tax on Inherited Property?

Do You Pay Capital Gains Tax on Inherited Property

Inheriting property in the UK can be intimidating due to the possibility of capital gains tax (CGT). However, understanding when CGT applies, potential exemptions, and how to manage your tax responsibilities can make the process smoother. By giving you clear and simple facts, this article will explain CGT on inherited property.

Table of Contents

What is Capital Gains Tax?

When you sell (or “dispose of”) an item that has increased in value, you are liable for capital gains tax on the profit you make. You pay taxes on your gains, not the total amount you receive. When it comes to inherited property, CGT is applicable at the time of sale.
For instance, if you paid £1,000 for an artwork that you eventually sold for £2,000, you would be taxed on the £1,000 profit you made.

When Does Capital Gains Tax Apply to Inherited Property?

When you inherit a property, you do not have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) straight away. Inheriting the property does not mean you owe CGT right then. Instead, CGT becomes important if and when you decide to sell the property. The tax is only due on the profit you make from selling the property, which is the difference between the value of the property when you inherited it and the price you sell it for.

How is the Value of Inherited Property Determined?

Calculating Capital Gains Tax (CGT) depends on the property’s “probate value,” which is its value at the time of inheritance. The probate procedure, which is the legal procedure for handling a person’s estate after their death, determines this value.

Maintaining documentation of any improvements you make to the property is particularly essential because, in certain cases, these expenses can be reduced from your earnings and may lower your CGT liability. If the property serve as your primary residence, you may qualify for certain reliefs that lower your required CGT payment.

Exemptions and Allowances

Principal Private Residence Relief

If the inherited property becomes your main home, you might be eligible for Principal Private Residence (PPR) relief, which can significantly reduce or even eliminate your CGT liability. To qualify, you must live in the property as your primary residence.


Annual Exempt Amount

Each individual has an annual CGT exemption, which for the tax year 2023/24 is £6,000. This means you can make gains up to this amount each year without paying CGT. For jointly owned properties, both owners can use their annual exemptions.


Transfer to a Spouse or Civil Partner

Transferring the inherited property to a spouse or civil partner does not incur CGT, as transfers between spouses and civil partners are exempt from this tax.

How to Calculate Capital Gains Tax

To calculate CGT, you need to:

  1. Determine the Gain: Subtract the probate value from the sale price.
  2. Deduct Allowable Costs: These can include expenses such as estate agent fees, legal fees, and costs of improvements made to the property.
  3. Apply the Annual Exempt Amount: Subtract the annual exempt amount from the gain.
  4. Calculate the Tax Due: The remaining amount is taxed at either 18% or 28%, depending on your total taxable income and gains for the year.

Capital Gains Tax Calculator

Practical Steps to Manage Capital Gains Tax

Record Keeping

Maintain accurate records of the property’s value at inheritance, any improvements made, and costs associated with the sale. These records are essential for accurately calculating CGT and can be required by HMRC.

Professional Advice

Consider consulting with a tax advisor or accountant. Professional advice can help you understand your specific situation, explore potential reliefs, and ensure compliance with tax regulations.

Timing the Sale

The timing of the sale can affect your CGT liability. If possible, plan the sale to maximise your annual exempt amount and consider the impact of your total income and gains for the year.

Closing Thoughts

It can be difficult to understand the complicated capital gains tax laws on inherited property. By understanding when CGT applies, exploring available exemptions, and seeking professional advice, you can effectively manage your tax obligations. Remember, planning ahead and keeping thorough records are key steps in ensuring you handle inherited property tax matters smoothly and efficiently.

For more detailed information and personalised advice, always consider consulting with a tax professional.

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