There is usually no Capital Gains Tax (CGT) due on a property which has been used solely as the main family residence. Conversely, an investment property which has never been used as a private residence will not qualify for relief. This relief from CGT is commonly known as private residence relief.
There are a number of issues taxpayers that own more than one home should be aware. An individual, married couple or civil partnership can only benefit from CGT on one property at a time. However, it is possible to choose which property benefits from a CGT exemption 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 of any relevant change. 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.
If a property has been occupied at any time as an individual’s private residence, the last 9 months of ownership are disregarded for CGT purposes – even if the individual was not living in the property when it was sold.