The owners of second homes in Belgravia, Mayfair and other parts of prime central London could fall into an income tax trap when selling their properties, according to the Law Society.
The warning follows the government adding amendments to the Finance Bill that is due to go before the House of Commons for its report stage on 5 and 6 September.
The changes may result in profits from the sale of an investment property in central London becoming liable for income tax rather than capital gains tax as at present.
The Law Society says this means anybody who sells an investment property could be forced to pay up to 17% more in tax.
When it comes to investment property sales, CGT is charged at 18% for basic rate taxpayers and 28% for higher rate taxpayers. This is payable on any profit earned on the property minus the current £11,100 CGT Allowance and other reliefs available.
Given the size of property value increases in Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Mayfair and surrounding areas, the basic rate band is often used up and the majority of the gain ends up taxed at 28%.
Income tax rates, on the other hand, are currently 40% for anyone earning more than £43,000 a year and 45% for the highest earners.
The Law Society claims the new measures have been “slipped in at the committee stage” by the government instead of being part of the formal legislation which is subject to a standard consultation period.
Law Society chief executive Catherine Dixon comments: “The way these changes were introduced starts to feel like legislation by stealth.”
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