Now that principal private residence relief is being restricted from next April, is there any other relief available? I've built up my portfolio of six properties, first buying and living in one (I bought it for £37,000, now it is worth £140,000). I lived in it for seven years, rented it for ten years (the rise in value was while I lived in it). I remortgaged it and bought a second property, rented the first, did up the second, and moved on like this; living in building sites thinking one day I'll cash in. But now after the last Budget I am not sure what to do. My health's not good, so I am wondering should I sell them all now, and what tax would I have to pay? Or I could keep hold and my son can pay inheritance tax; but how much would that be? I'd like to sell the first property but I remortgaged to buy the second and third houses etc. The first remortgage was £67,000, and then I remortgaged for £87,000 ten years ago. So what tax will I have to pay on the £100,000 rise in value with the proposed tax changes, or should I sell before next April?
Arthur Weller replies:
Firstly, principal private residence relief is not restricted as such in April 2020. The length of the final period exemption is being shortened from 18 months to nine months. However, the lettings exemption is being restricted to a scenario in which the landlord lives in the property at the same time as the tenant. As for leaving everything to your son and your question of how much inheritance tax (IHT) would he have to pay, IHT is calculated on the net equity (i.e. assets minus liabilities), so if these properties are heavily mortgaged, it could be that there is not much, if any, IHT to pay. It is difficult to answer your question directly without more information about: (a) the purchase prices of the properties; (b) the likely sales proceeds of the properties; (c) the length of time you lived in the properties as your main residence; and (d) the length of time you rented out the properties. As always, as the saying goes, 'you shouldn't let the tax tail wag the commercial dog'.