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Sam, Accountant
Category: Tax
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Experience:  26 HMRC expertise, PAYE, Self Assessment ,Residency, Rental Income, Capital Gains, CIS ask for Sam Tax
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We are UK nationals currently living in Switzerland and considering

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We are UK nationals currently living in Switzerland and considering returning to UK next year. We came to CH in Jan 2000 and stayed until March 2008. In October 2005 we bought a property which we lived in. From April 2008 to August 2011 we lived and worked in UK. During this time our property was rented out for holiday lets. (All income reported to HMRC) On our return to live and work in CH in August 2011 we lived again in our property. My question is 'Will we be liable for capital gains tax in UK if:
1)we sell the property before we leave CH and
2)we sell the property after returning to UK?
During all the time we have retained a property in UK.
Thanks for your questions - I am Sam and I am one of the UK tax experts here on Just Answer.
It makes no difference whether you sell before or after your return as you will still have a Uk tax liability on this sale, as its less than 5 full tax years since you last departed the UK to live abroad. But more importantly as the chargeable gain arises to reflect the time you lived back in the UK then this will remain in place anyway.
So yes you would have a seeming UK capital gains liability which will reflect the time in the UK/total ownership BUT this may prove to be a nil liability as this property was your home prior to and after your return to Switzerland, and also you may qualify for lettings relief.
However I note that you state this was holiday lets .... which is in fact a trade income position and I assume you qualified for this each year (and were taxed as trade income and not rental income?) - and as long as you were not a limited company this will not get any more complex and the reliefs can still be considered, which again should bring the charge down to NIL
You should alert HMRC of this sale once it has taken place for them to review whether any charge arises. So keep all your papers for the purchase and sale and receipts for any capital expenditure on the property and costs to buy and sell (such as legal fees etc)
Also note there will be a capital gain position on the UK property as and when it is sold, as there has been time that this has not been your main residence.
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