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Gifting Assets or Shares

Newsletter issue - September 2012.

If you plan to gift assets or shares to your relatives, there are several taxes you need to consider:

Capital Gains Tax

You won't make an actual profit or gain when you give away assets or shares, so you may not expect to pay capital gains tax. However, when the gift is made to a person connected to you, such as your son or daughter, UK tax law deems you to have made a transfer of the asset at its market value. This means you could well make a paper gain on the gift, which will be subject to capital gains tax. This does not apply to a gift to your spouse or civil partner.

You need to calculate this gain to see if it needs to be reported on your tax return. Where the gain from the gift, together with any other gains you make in the year, exceeds your annual exemption of £10,600, all those gains must be reported on your tax return.

To calculate the amount of the gain you need to know the market value of the items given, at the date of the gift, and the cost or value when you acquired the items. If you acquired the assets before 31 March 1982, the value at 31 March 1982 is taken as your cost value, so you need a value at that date as well. We can help you with the calculation of the gain, but it would be wise to engage a specialist valuer to determine the value of the assets (particularly property) at the date of the gift and at 31 March 1982 if required.

Gift tax

If the asset (such as property) you plan to give away is located in another country you need to take local tax advice as to whether gift tax will apply. This is not a tax we have in the UK, so any gift tax paid in another jurisdiction will not be offset against UK tax paid on the same gift. Local transaction taxes such as VAT or stamp duty may also apply, so do your research first.

Stamp Duties

Stamp duty does not apply to shares which are transferred as a gift.

Stamp duty land tax generally applies to the transfer of land in the UK, but it will not apply if the recipient gives nothing in return for the property, i.e. it is a pure gift. However, if the recipient agrees to take on a mortgage attached to the property, the outstanding value of that mortgage will be treated as consideration for the property and stamp duty land tax will apply to that consideration.

Inheritance Tax

Most gifts of assets you make will be treated as potentially exempt transfers for inheritance tax, which means they escape inheritance tax as long as you live for at least seven years after the date of the gift. You can look to take out insurance to cover the cost of inheritance tax that will become payable in respect of the gifts made during your lifetime. Gifts made into a trust may be subject to inheritance tax immediately.

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