According to the most recent statistics from the General Register Office for Scotland, the number of properties classified as second homes could be nearly 40,000 (1), however there is a secondary factor of vacant properties (2) which may include buy to let and inherited homes that could push that figure even higher.
People will have until 9 August 2013 to tell HMRC about any unpaid tax on property sales, and until 6 September 2013 to pay the tax owed.
Lesley Rance, a tax specialist with Tayside solicitors Miller Hendry said:
“Campaigns provide opportunities for individuals to voluntarily put their tax affairs in order and the Property Sales Campaign is the latest in a sequence of similar campaigns encouraging people in targeted groups to come forward.
Some may not realise that selling a second home, including a holiday home or gifting a property to someone else, are all subject to taxation under Capital Gains Tax legislation.
It could prove costly to assume HMRC will never find out about the sale. Land registry records, stamp duty land tax returns when a property is bought and sold, banking records and even ‘For Sale’ boards, alert them to the fact.
This campaign could potentially affect many people in Tayside and our advice to clients is to get in touch if they are at all concerned, so that we can advise them according to their own circumstances.”
If anyone believes they might be affected by this campaign they must tell HMRC by 9 August 2013. There are two stages to the process and at this stage they only have to tell HMRC that they will be making a disclosure. The second stage is the disclosure itself which will give details of the amounts involved.
For those clients who believe that no Capital Gains Tax was due on their property sale but would like the comfort of knowing their affairs are in order, Miller Hendry can review the position and confirm.
After 6 September, HMRC will take a much closer look at the tax affairs of those who have sold properties other than their main home but who appear to have paid no Capital Gains Tax.
Penalties, or even criminal prosecution, could follow. By using this campaign to come forward voluntarily, people will receive the best possible terms, as any penalty they pay by coming forward voluntarily will be lower than if HMRC comes to them first.
Notes to Editors
-2.37million households in Scotland, 1.5% defined as “second homes”
-2.37million households in Scotland, 2.8% defined as “vacant”