Direct disposals of interests in UK land by non-residents

By Tolley

The following Corporation Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Direct disposals of interests in UK land by non-residents
  • Interests in UK land
  • Calculating the gain or loss on a direct disposal

Prior to 6 April 2019, only gains on direct disposals by non-resident persons of UK residential property interests were potentially subject to UK tax. This would have been the case where the capital disposal was annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED) related or was caught by the FA 2015 non-resident CGT (NRCGT) rules. See the Overview of the ATED regime and Capital gains tax charge on UK residential property owned by non-residents guidance notes (subscription sensitive) for further details on the operations of those rules. In both cases, the gains were subject to CGT, either at 20%, if caught by the FA 2015 NRCGT rules, or 28%, if ATED-related. The normal rule charging companies’ capital gains to corporation tax did not apply.

However, as a result of legislation introduced in FA 2019, Sch 1, all types of direct disposals of ‘interests in UK land’ (see below) by non-residents made on or after 6 April 2019 are within the scope of capital gains, widening the remit significantly (the extended regime is referred to in the remainder of this guidance note as the ‘FA19 NRCGT regime’).

Essentially, from 6 April 2019:

  • all direct disposals of interests in UK land, both residential and commercial, are subject UK tax. For non-resident companies, such disposals are subject to UK corporation tax (at 19%) rather than CGT (at up to 28%). If commercially sensible to do so, taxpayers may wish to consider deferring a sale until after 5 April 2019 to avail of the lower tax rates
  • the previous exemption from UK tax for residential property owned in diversely-held corporate vehicles (broadly, one which is not under the control of five or fewer participators) no longer applies. See Simon’s Taxes C2.1131 (subscription sensitive) for further details on the rules that applied prior to 6

More on Planning and transactions: