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Capital gains tax intake hits record £16.7bn as landlords start to sell up

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek
Posted:
Updated:
03/08/2023

The figures from HMRC showed that record amounts of capital gains tax (CGT) were seen in the 2021 to 2022 tax year. 

The tax liability reached £16.7bn, which was 15% higher than the previous year, while the gains were also up by 15% and totalled £92.4bn. 

The number of taxpayers increased by a fifth annually to 394,000. 

People with gains of less than £50,000 and taxable income below £37,700 contributed to 4% of the total gains and 38% of those liable to CGT. Nearly half, 45% of gains, came from the 12% of people who had taxable incomes of more than £150,000. 

Some 39% of total gains were made by those with gains of more than £1m and incomes higher than £150,000. 

According to the figures, 14% of people liable to pay CGT were higher rate income taxpayers, while 27% had a taxable income of between £37,700 and £150,000. 

Landlords moving out

Meanwhile, the HMRC figures also noted that 151,000 residential properties that were liable for capital gains tax (CGT) were disposed of during the 2022 to 2023 financial year, suggesting that landlords may be exiting the market.

This represented 139,000 taxpayers and a total liability of £1.8bn. The tax department said the figures were broadly similar to the 2021 to 2022 financial year, but disposals were up 56% and the total liability was 60% higher than 2020 to 2021. 

There were 153,000 disposals in the 2021 to 2022 financial year and 98,000 in the 2020 to 2021 financial year.

Rachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Quilter, said: “This data suggests that there is an exodus of landlords from the property market as the tightening of tax laws on buy to lets make them a more unattractive investment. Coupled with this, the continuing high property values but simultaneous threat of a property price crash is seemingly making more landlords opt to sell up.  

“How this ultimately impacts the market for all prospective buyers and renters is yet to be seen. Currently, property prices are slipping slowly but rent remains sky high as renters compete for a dwindling stock of rental properties.” 

Toby Tallon, tax partner at Evelyn Partners, said the rising in residential property disposals was “not surprising given the combined impact of tax changes and rising interest rates on they buy-to-let market.

‘The tax take will get more stark’

Griffin added: “The tax take from CGT is only likely to get more stark as we look forward, considering the changes to the annual exemption allowance (AEA) for capital gains tax.  

“From £12,300 in the 2022/23 tax year, the AEA reduced dramatically to £6,000 in April 2023 and will further drop to £3,000 from April 2024. This reduction could significantly boost the CGT take in future years, as taxpayers will have a lower threshold before becoming liable for CGT.” 

Helen Morrissey, head of retirement analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown, added: “With record numbers of people paying capital gains tax- and tax-free allowances plummeting, CGT is no longer a tax most investors can ignore. Although almost half (45%) of the total CGT paid is on super gains of £5m or more, this tax is not just for the super wealthy as 214,000 people paid CGT on gains of up to £25,000.  

“Overall, the numbers paying this wealth tax has more than doubled in 10 years and this number is only set to rise.”