Gifting Second Homes to Children Tax Efficiently
We were approached by a married couple who wanted to make Wills. Sadly the husband was terminally ill. The couple had a second property which had increased significantly in value. Capital Gains tax (CGT) is not paid when a principal private residence is sold, however much the gain, but when second homes are sold or given away a charge to CGT is triggered.
On a death the value of property owned by the person who has died is automatically uplifted to the value at the date of death, and no capital gains tax has to be paid. This is because inheritance tax (IHT) frequently has to be paid. Under many circumstances the charge to tax is 40% (the rate for IHT) not 18% or 28% which is the rate of CGT.
The couple wanted to give the second home to their children. We advised them to wait until the husband died, when the wife inherited her husband’s share in the house. Gifts between husband and wife on death are free of IHT, but the CGT uplift still happened in relation to the husband’s share. The widow then gave the house to the children, and only her half share was liable to CGT. In fact none had to be paid as she had some losses in her own name.
If the widow lives for 7 years from the date of the gift of the house its whole value will be outside her estate and there will be no IHT or CGT to pay. The clients have potentially saved several thousand pounds in tax.