The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has recommended changes to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) that could result in costly implications for buy to let property sellers and, ultimately, renters. The OTS says the government should increase the rate of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) so that it matches income tax rates, and decrease the amount of personal tax allowances.
Capital Gains Tax is payable when you sell an additional property i.e, when you sell property that is not your main home.
The move would mean higher tax rate sellers of second homes or buy to let properties could be taxed at 40%, up from the current 28% rate of Capital Gains Tax.
Hamptons International estimates that the average landlord of property owned for ten years in England and Wales made a gross capital gain of nearly £70,000 this year. Under the current arrangements, this would attract CGT of £15,880. However, the new proposals would raise the tax bill to £22,680.
The tax burden would increase further to £25,600 if the annual personal tax-free allowance was reduced to £5,000 from the current £12,300.
Should these changes be implemented, the OTS says that the number of people paying CGT would be doubled and the thinktank, Institute for Public Policy Research, said an additional £90 billion could be raised over the next five years.
However, HMRC says the tax would instead discourage people from selling, which could result in only an additional £14 billion a year.
A surge of properties coming on to the market to get ahead of the changes may sound like good news for those searching for property, but in the long run it could be disastrous for renters.
The reduced number of properties available for rent would result in rent increases and very little choice in a strong market.