Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is a tax on the profit made from selling certain assets such as property, shares or other investments. CGT is usually charged at a flat rate of 20% and applies to most chargeable gains made by individuals.
If taxpayers only pay basic rate tax and make a small capital gain, they may only be subject to CGT at a reduced rate of 10%. Once the total of taxable income and gains exceed the higher rate threshold, the excess will be subject to 20% CGT. An 8% surcharge applies to the sale of chargeable residential property (apart from a principal private residence) and carried interest (the share of profits or gains that is paid to asset managers). There is also an annual CGT exemption for individuals that is currently £12,300.
There are a number of asset disposals, which are not subject to CGT.
- your car
- your main residence – known as a principal private residence, but there are some important caveats to be aware of
- personal possessions worth up to £6,000 each, such as jewellery, paintings or antiques
- stocks and shares you hold in tax-free investment savings accounts, such as ISAs and PEPs
- UK Government or 'gilt-edged' securities, for example, National Savings Certificates, Premium Bonds and loan stock issued by the Treasury
- betting, lottery or pools winnings
- personal injury compensation
- foreign currency you bought for your own or your family's personal use outside the UK
So, if you are lucky enough to win the National Lottery this weekend, it is unlikely you will have to pay CGT!
Note that none of the above exemptions apply when the gains arise through trading or business activities as distinct from occasional sales and disposals.