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Capital Gains Tax receipts rise to £9.5bn

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The government increased its coffers by £9.5bn in 2018/19 from Capital Gains Tax receipts – a 6% rise from the previous tax year.

While the CGT liability came from £62.8bn of chargeable gains (7% increase from 2017/18), the number of people paying it actually decreased 4%. In total for 2018/19, 276,000 people were caught in the tax net.

The figures from HMRC revealed that most CGT came from a small number of taxpayers who made the largest gains. In 2018/19, 40% of CGT came from those who made gains of £5m or more, representing less than 1% of CGT taxpayers each year.

However, the largest proportion of CGT taxpayers have gains in the range of £10,000 to £25,000. But HMRC noted that the percentage of taxpayers in this range has decreased from 43% in 2012/13 to 35% in 2018/19.

The figures are also broken down into age groups, with the 55 to 64 age category consistently having the highest number of capital gains taxpayers, followed by the 65 to 74 and 45 to 54 age categories.

These three age groups represent 71% of the CGT population and contributed 78% of both the gain and tax in 2018/19. The youngest and the oldest age categories have the least amounts of gain and tax.

Just over a quarter of CGT came from disposals that qualified for Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER). ER was claimed by 46,000 taxpayers on £27.7bn of gains in 2018/19, resulting in a total £2.7bn tax charge. This is the highest amount of gains and tax since the introduction of the relief, HMRC said.

More on Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gains Tax is a tax on the profit when you sell, or dispose of an asset that’s increased in value.

Everybody gets an annual tax-free allowance which currently stands at £12,300 (£6,150 for trusts) so you only pay CGT on profit above this.

CGT is applied when you sell or dispose of the following:

  • most personal possessionsworth £6,000 or more, apart from your car
  • property that’s not your main home
  • your main home if you’ve let it out, used it for business or it’s very large
  • sharesthat are not in an ISA or PEP
  • business assets.

Depending on the rate of income tax you pay and what the gains were from, you’ll pay between 10% and 28% CGT.

See YourMoney.com’s How to reduce your Capital Gains Tax bill for more information.

Capital Gains Tax review

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at investment platform AJ Bell said all eyes will be on how much the government is making in Capital Gains Tax after chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a review of the tax ahead of his spending review later this year.

She said: “Many are expecting a crackdown on CGT reliefs and allowances or a raising of the rates, or both, as the government scrambles to fill the large holes in its finances brought about by the Covid-19 crisis.

“The latest figures show the amount the government took in CGT rose 6% but this figure has jumped more than a third during the past five years.

“Despite this, fewer people paid CGT in the most recent data when compared to the previous year. The government may decide to bring more people into the CGT net, meaning more individuals pay the tax, or align the CGT rates with income tax.

“Another area that may pique the government’s interest is the level of gains versus the actual tax take after all allowances and reliefs are taken into account. There were £62.8bn of total gains made by individuals in 2018/19 but only £9.5bn of tax taken, representing an average tax rate of 15%.

“It was suggested that Entrepreneurs Relief might be slashed in previous Budgets. The latest figures show that the total gains eligible for the relief has more than doubled over the past eight years, meaning it could come under more scrutiny. The government has already restricted the lifetime limit from £10m to £1m but more cuts could be on the cards.”