Homesellers warned over unexpected CGT bills due to garden offices

Homesellers warned over unexpected CGT bills due to garden offices

Original source: Property Reporter

The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have disrupted and altered the usual working habits of millions of Brits, maybe forever in some cases. As a consequence, there has been a boom in garden offices as staff and business owners quickly made the transition from a daily commute to working from home.

With a combination of both home and office working likely to be adopted on a more permanent basis, the garden office will look even more attractive.

However, the rise in popularity of garden offices can create tax holidays and headaches when homeowners choose to sell, says accountants Hillier Hopkins.

The garden office can also come with an unexpected Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday or a Capital Gains headache when a homeowner decides to sell, which estate agents often overlook.

Natasha Heron, a Tax Manager specialising in property taxes at accountants, Hillier Hopkins, explains: “Sellers, buyers and their estate agents often fail to realise that a garden office if it meets certain criteria can lead to quite substantial savings for stamp duty land tax under what is called multiple dwellings relief.

"Multiple dwellings relief will usually see stamp duty land tax charged not on the total sale price of a home but on the sale price divided by the number of properties acquired regardless of their size or value, and that can represent a significant saving.

“The relief does, however, come with strict qualifying criteria, with a garden office needing to be independent of the main house and with its own cooking facilities and bathroom. Independent does not necessarily mean detached, but attached garden offices, or granny annexes, will need a separate entrance.

“Savvy sellers can use this relief to increase the sale value of their home, sharing the reduced stamp duty land tax liability with the buyer.”

But, warns Natasha, business owners that have funded a garden office through their business could face an unexpected capital gains tax bill.

She concludes: “Garden offices can add significant value to a property and consideration is required if that space is classed as a business asset. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) does not usually apply to your primary residence when you sell it. However, it may apply if part of your residence is used solely for business. Business owners will need to keep a watchful eye particularly is a sale is on the cards any time soon.”


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