What has changed?
Tax returns are no longer required just once a year.
If you sell a residential property (eg rental property) after 5 April 2020, you will probably need to file a special tax return and pay the estimated capital gains tax within 30 days.
This is a major change. (At the moment a sale in, for example, May 2019 would not need to be reported and tax paid until 31 January 2021.)
What about my main home?
If you sell your main home and are certain that it is exempt, due to private residence relief, no return is required. But – are you sure it is fully exempt? If not, you are at the risk of penalties. Take advice several months before the sale.
When will your tax adviser know about the sale?
Will your tax adviser know? Often it is the estate agent and lawyer who know about the sale before the tax adviser. This now needs to change.
What action is needed?
Find out the property base cost, improvement costs, your estimated income and likely proceeds. Inform your tax adviser of these, as soon as possible before the sale.
Tax relief and losses
You can take into account losses made before the disposal in computing the 30 day tax estimate but not losses or other reliefs that have not yet crystallised (such as Enterprise Investment Scheme deferral, unless you have the EIS3).
What about the normal tax return?
The disposal still has to be reported on your normal tax return, with the final tax computation taking place and credit given for the capital gains tax already paid.
The return is required 30 days after completion, even though the tax disposal date is exchange of contracts (the binding contract).
Why is this change important?
It is likely that, due to not being aware of the change, or making assumptions on tax or relief, that many taxpayers will face penalties for errors or late filing.