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Capital gains tax tips

Here are some tips to help keep your capital gains tax bill as low as possible.

There are a number of simple measures you can take to minimise your capital gains tax liability. Always keep receipts and records for all assets on which CGT might eventually be due.

Husbands and wives, and each civil partner each have their own CGT allowance of £11,700 in 2018-19 (£11,300 in 2017-18). 

By transferring an asset into your joint names, you can both make use of your tax-free allowance so that up to £23,400 of any gain can be tax-free in 2018-19 (£22,600 in 2017-18). But the transfer to your spouse or partner must be a genuine outright gift.

Paintings, antiques and other collectibles can be a tax-efficient investment, especially where they are not treated as a set and so can be sold piece by piece, with each item qualifying for the £6,000 exemption. 

Unmarried partners can each nominate a different home as their main home to get tax relief on both. Married couples and civil partners must choose just one, however.

If you live in a property as your main home for a time before letting it out, you can potentially reduce the CGT bill when you eventually sell it. See Capital gains and property.

If you immediately sell employee shares that you get through a save as you earn (SAYE) share option scheme, company share option scheme or enterprise management incentive scheme, you may have a CGT bill. 

Consider selling in several tranches so that each year’s gain is within your annual tax-free allowance of £11,700 in 2018-19. See How capital gains are taxed.

If you get shares through a SAYE share option scheme or a share incentive plan, you have 90 days to transfer them tax-free to an Isa or pension. Gains when you eventually sell will then be tax-free.