Understanding Capital Gains Tax Rate: Your Comprehensive Guide

Seeking the capital gains tax rate? Whether you’re a basic or higher rate taxpayer, it’s essential to understand how much you’ll owe when selling assets like shares or property. This article breaks down the rates, guides you through the calculation process, and shares tax-saving strategies. Get the clarity you need to navigate the complexities of capital gains tax.

Key Takeaways

  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is charged on the profit made from selling various types of assets, including personal possessions over £6,000, second homes, and shares, with specific exemptions like ISAs and government gilts.

  • CGT rates vary based on the taxpayer’s income bracket and the type of asset sold, with basic rate taxpayers paying 10-18% and higher/additional taxpayers paying 20-28%. Allowances, such as the Annual Exempt Amount, provide some relief.

  • Calculating CGT involves considering income tax brackets, types of assets, and allowable deductions, with payment deadlines and methods differing based on the asset type. Strategies such as asset transfer and declaring losses can help minimise CGT exposure.

Capital Gains Tax: Definition and Overview

Illustration of diverse assets like property, shares, and possessions

Selling an asset that has appreciated may subject you to capital gains tax. This tax is imposed on the capital gain made from the sale. It’s like a toll gate on your financial journey, applying to a wide range of assets. Your capital gains tax bill may encompass gains from a variety of assets, including:

  • shares

  • business assets

  • second homes

  • valuable possessions like art and antiques worth £6,000 or more.

However, it’s not just UK residents who must be aware of CGT. Non-residents with gains from selling UK property or land also have a CGT obligation. Note that exceptions exist – ISAs or PEPs, UK government gilts, and Premium Bonds are not subject to CGT.

Breaking Down Capital Gains Tax Rates

Illustration of income tax brackets and capital gains tax rates

CGT rates complexity increases as they vary based on your income and the type of asset sold. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. We’ll explore the different CGT rates applicable to basic rate taxpayers, higher/additional rate taxpayers, and residential property gains.

Basic Rate Taxpayers

The journey for basic rate taxpayers begins with understanding that CGT rates for them range from 0% to 20% on most chargeable assets, or 18% on residential property. This rate is applicable to the profit realised from the sale of these assets. However, they don’t stand on an equal footing with higher tax bracket individuals who pay 20% on gains from other chargeable assets and 28% on gains from residential property.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Basic rate taxpayers can deduct their annual tax free allowance from their total taxable gains before applying the tax rate, providing a form of tax relief. This allowance, also known as the Annual Exempt Amount, has seen a reduction in recent years.

Higher/Additional Rate Taxpayers

If you find yourself in the higher/additional rate taxpayer bracket, you might have a steeper hill to climb. These taxpayers face a 28% CGT on gains from residential property and 20% on gains from other chargeable assets.

While information on specific deductions or allowances for higher/additional rate taxpayers might not be readily available, it’s clear that they face a higher tax burden. Consequently, careful planning and strategic financial decisions become even more critical for these taxpayers to pay tax efficiently.

Residential Property Gains

If you’re looking to sell a residential property, there’s a separate set of rules in the CGT book. The journey for residential property gains might seem daunting at first, with up to a 28% CGT rate. However, there’s a silver lining. If the property was your primary residence, the gain may be wholly exempt CGT. When tax is payable, the CGT rate stands at 18% for basic-rate taxpayers and 28% for higher and additional rate taxpayers.

Moreover, there’s a CGT annual exemption which amounts to £6,000 (2023/24). This means no CGT is levied on the initial £6,000 of gains. Apart from this, there are other deductions available, such as private residence relief and the expenses associated with buying and selling the property.

Annual Capital Gains Tax Allowance

Graph showing the trend of annual capital gains tax allowance over the years

A critical stop on our CGT journey is the annual CGT allowance. This is the amount of profit from asset sales that you can make in a year without having to pay CGT. The current annual CGT allowance stands at £6,000. However, it’s important to note that this allowance has seen a decrease from £12,300 in the 2022/23 tax year to £6,000 starting from April 2023, and is scheduled to reduce further.

This allowance can vary based on individual circumstances. You’re only required to pay CGT on your total gains exceeding this tax-free allowance, known as the Annual Exempt Amount. However, if you don’t use this allowance within the tax year, you can’t carry it over to the next year.

Calculating Your Capital Gains Tax Liability

Illustration of calculating capital gains tax liability

Having established the basics, we can now examine how to calculate capital gains tax (CGT) liability. This calculation is influenced by your income tax bracket, the type of asset sold, and the allowable deductions. For instance, the higher/additional rate of CGT is 28% for residential property and 20% for all other chargeable assets, depending on your income tax bracket.

Furthermore, the nature of the asset you’re selling can influence the computation of CGT. Various assets may be subject to different tax rates or exemptions, and the approach to calculating the profit or loss may differ depending on the type of asset. For instance, you can deduct costs such as private residence relief and expenses related to buying and selling the property from the calculation of CGT.

Paying Your Capital Gains Tax

After calculating your CGT liability, the ensuing step is making the payment. In the UK, the deadlines for the payment of CGT vary depending on the type of asset sold. For residential property disposals, you are required to report and pay the tax within 60 days from the date of completion. For other capital gains, the reporting deadline is in the tax year following the gain, with the return and payment due by 31 January.

You can pay your CGT through self-assessment tax returns or the UK government’s CGT service. To pay through self-assessment tax returns, you need to report your gains and pay the tax due on them in the tax year after the gain was made and ensure payment by 31 January. If you’re using the UK government’s CGT service, the deadlines for reporting the sale and making the payment are the same.

The process of paying your CGT requires specific documentation, such as the capital gains pages of your Self Assessment tax return and possibly the completion and submission of the SA108 form to HMRC.

Reducing Your Capital Gains Tax Exposure

Illustration of strategies to reduce capital gains tax exposure

Despite the inevitability of taxes, strategies exist to minimise your CGT exposure. One such strategy is transferring assets to a spouse or civil partner. This can potentially lower your CGT liability as transfers between spouses and civil partners are treated on a ‘no gain no loss’ basis, meaning the transfer doesn’t trigger a CGT liability. Furthermore, by jointly owning the asset, couples can effectively utilise both of their CGT exemptions, potentially resulting in a lower tax payment when the asset is eventually sold.

Another strategy is to declare losses. This enables individuals to offset them against any current-year capital gains, potentially reducing their overall CGT liability. If the losses surpass the gains, individuals can carry forward the remaining losses to offset against future gains, potentially decreasing tax in subsequent years.

Other methods include investing in tax-efficient schemes such as ISAs or pensions, which can help mitigate your CGT liability.

Capital Gains Tax on Specific Assets

While CGT applies to a wide range of assets, there are specific rules and rates for certain types of assets. In the subsequent sections, we’ll examine CGT’s application to:

  • Property

  • Shares

  • Personal possessions

  • Inheritance


When it comes to property, there are some exemptions to CGT. Private residence relief can be applied to gains on the sale of a property, provided it has been your main residence and certain conditions are met. Under specific conditions, you could be exempt from paying CGT when selling your primary residence.

However, if you’re dealing with rental properties, CGT is applicable with a rate of 18% for gains in the basic rate tax band and 28% for gains in the higher rate tax band.

As for second homes or vacation properties, the CGT rate is again contingent upon your taxable income level. Basic-rate taxpayers generally incur an 18% tax, whereas those in higher and additional-rate brackets face a 28% tax.


If you’re dealing with shares, the applicable CGT rates are 10% or 20%, depending on your income tax bracket. This means that the profit you make from selling your shares could be subject to these rates. But, it’s not just about how much tax you have to pay. There are also deductible costs to consider. The costs related to the sale of shares can encompass brokers’ fees for buying and selling shares and the expenses incurred in purchasing the shares. Furthermore, incidental costs such as legal expenses and estate fees are also eligible for deduction.

Investing in shares can be a smart move, especially if you consider tax-efficient investment options. Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) and Pensions can assist in mitigating your CGT liability.

Personal Possessions

When it comes to personal possessions, if you sell a personal possession and make a gain of more than £6,000, you could be on the hook for CGT.

To calculate CGT on a sold personal possession, you’ll need to have documentation such as receipts or invoices for the purchase, sale, or improvement of the personal possession. Additionally, you may need to provide documentation to substantiate the value of the possession, such as valuations or appraisals.


Inherited assets may also be subject to CGT when sold, with the tax based on the asset’s value at the time of sale. The calculation of CGT on inherited assets is done by determining the gain from selling or disposing of the asset, which is computed by comparing the realised price with the value at the date of inheritance.

The CGT rates for inherited assets are the same as assets purchased or received as gfts in lifetime. However, the usual exemptions and reliefs may be available, including the Annual Exemption, Spouse Exemption, Principal Private Residence Relief, Charity Exemption, Allowable losses, and Entrepreneurs Relief in certain cases.

Capital Gains Tax Exemptions and Reliefs

Apart from the discussed strategies, numerous exemptions and reliefs can potentially reduce your CGT liability. The primary exemption, also known as private residence relief, allows you to exclude from paying CGT when selling your home, provided it has been your main residence and specific conditions have been satisfied.

Wasting assets, defined as an asset with a foreseeable lifespan not exceeding 50 years, are also exempt from CGT as long as they are not used for business purposes. Other types of exemptions for CGT include:

  • The Annual Exempt Amount

  • Exemption for an individual’s only or main residence

  • Exemption for gains and losses made on investments held within an ISA

  • Business Asset Disposal Relief

To claim these reliefs and exemptions, you need to report your capital gains on a self-assessment tax return, specifically using the capital gains pages of the tax return form, in order to pay the capital gains tax.


Navigating the world of Capital Gains Tax might seem intimidating, but with a clear understanding of the basics, the different tax rates, the annual allowance, and the various exemptions and reliefs, it’s a journey you can confidently embark on. Remember, the key to successfully navigating the CGT landscape lies in strategic planning, informed decisions, and keeping abreast of the latest changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the capital gains tax rate in the UK for 2023?

The capital gains tax rate in the UK for 2023/2024 is 10% for total gains below £50,270 and 20% for gains above this threshold, with higher rates of 18%/28% for residential property.

Is capital gains tax 10% or 20%?

Capital gains tax can be either 10% or 20%. The tax rate is 10% for gains within the basic Income Tax band and 20% for gains above that.

How much is capital gains tax on property UK?

In the UK, the capital gains tax on property varies from 18% to 28% for individuals, and it is 28% for trustees or personal representatives of someone who has died for disposals of residential property.

What is the present annual capital gains tax allowance?

The present annual capital gains tax allowance is £6,000, effective as of 2023/24.

What is the minimum value that a personal possession must reach to be subject to CGT?

Any personal possession must have a value exceeding £6,000 to be subject to Capital Gains Tax.

About Graham

Accountant specialising in tax, property, and estate planning. A regular speaker at landlord, property Investor, and later life planning events.

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