Can a house be gifted tax-free?
When it comes to planning for inheritance tax, there are a few things to consider to work out whether there will be any liability. There are certain gifts that can be given without incurring any tax, such as small cash gifts on customary occasions such as birthdays and Christmas, but you need to be sure that you understand the rules before gifting your possessions.
When it comes to gifting property, the inheritance tax rules as set out in the government guidelines (https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax/gifts) state that gifts made within the seven years preceding your death will count towards the value of your estate. If your estate is valued at more than £325,000, inheritance tax will be payable; if you gift your house and survive for seven years from the date of giving away the property, the value will no longer be included in your estate and there will be no inheritance tax to pay on this gift.
Capital gains tax
If you are making a property gift to your children, you should also consider the capital gains tax implications. Capital gains tax doesn’t need to be paid on your principal private residence, but it does need to be paid on a second property. HMRC will calculate the capital gains based on the market value of the house at the time of disposal rather than the price paid. You need to consider this if you are gifting the property. If a property is owned jointly and both parents are gifting the property, the two individuals can take advantage of the capital gains tax allowances, which is currently £12,300. Any gains over this amount will be taxable.
Giving property to children
If you decide that gifting property to your children is what you want to do, there are four ways in which you can proceed:
– Sale and purchase at full market value
– Concessionary sale and purchase at less than the market value
– Transfer the gift for no consideration
– Transfer the equity whereby the transfer keeps one of the original owners on the property
If you are considering gifting a house, you should be careful to take professional advice to work out the most effective way of proceeding, whether this is gifting the house tax-free or minimising the amount of tax to be paid. By consulting an expert who understands the rules and the financial implications and can give you detailed professional advice on the best way forward, you could avoid there being a large tax penalty.
There are also some risks involved in giving away property, which makes it even more important to take professional advice to ensure you fully understand the implications.