CGT - very simple question

hello all. I am a long term French resident & tax payer. I have just sold my house in the UK.
I have two simple questions that I feel sure someone with recent experience can assist me with;

  1. who is responsible for calculating the ‘gain’ of the property.
  2. is the CGT payable in France or UK and is it possible for me to calculate the amount?
    Thanks in advance

I’m in the process of selling in the UK too Geoff - I used online CGT calculators in both the UK and France - they will give you a rough idea of any liability - I’ll look for the links.

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@geoff_faulkner I have recent experience and can tell you (to a point!)
As far as the UK is concerned, you need to pay CGT there and it is not a terribly straightforward calculation. It’s based on the increase in the value of the house since 2015, combined with the amount of time you’ve been non-resident less 18 months! If you were, for example, resident in France for the whole of that time, you would have to calculate it based on the difference between what the house was worth in 2015 and what you sold it for, but the period of non-residence would be from 2015 to the time at which you sold it. I strongly suggest you actually talk to HMRC about that - they have become more responsive to phone calls recently.

As far as France is concerned, nominally your tax is based on how long you have owned the house for, More than 30 years and you can forget tax. Lower than that and some tax needs to be paid. I contacted the local Tax office to talk about this and they said I didn’t need to pay anything because I’d paid in the UK. This is in direct contravention to the published rules on the tax website here so I have kept the emails!

Unfortunately the dual taxation agreement only applies to income, not capital gains so it is very possible you will end up paying tax twice. Sorry about that but if your local tax office here is approachable, please go and talk to them!

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My experience is less recent, but I found the HMRC guidance and calculator quite straightforward (sorry Angela…perhaps I have a nerdy brain)

But the important thing is that you should do it within 30 days of the sale!

Guidance here

I then spoke to French tax office and they said there was nothing further to pay. But each case will be individual.

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Is this a recent thing, or dependent on the relative values involved? We sold our flat in England after about 10 or so years of ownership when we came to live here in 1999 and it never occurred to me that CGT had to be paid to anyone. :roll_eyes:

I too was wondering whether to take that approach David ;/

Replying to @David_Spardo
As far as I recall CGT was not due on a main residence… certainly so when we sold up in UK.

Good, so that’s ok then. :grinning:

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The problem is if, as I think Geoff has and I did, you have been resident in France for some time at the time of the property sale, then the rule about primary residence doesn’t apply. Also, if you don’t spend the money (no idea how much of it) on a new primary residence within a certain period (I think 18 months) then French CGT does still apply even if the house being sold was genuinely your (only) primary residence.


The HMRC guidance and calculator is fine but I still think that the OP would probably be more confident if he spoke to someone!

I forgot about the 30 day limit - so thanks for mentioning that. In theory it applies on the French side as well.

The difficulty is that the UK and French rules are so completely different that it’s not easy to compare. In the UK it doesn’t matter, I think, how long you’ve owned the property, you still have to pay CGT on the increase (if it’s not fully your primary residence) whereas in France, if it’s a secondary residence you are exempt if you’ve had it for 30 years and the CGT is a sliding scale depending on how long you’ve owned it. I think I have that right… :thinking:

That was my understanding.

Mind you in France you could own a property for 30 years and find it sold at the same price you bought at… :thinking:

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That much?


Not sure how that would have affected us, we had owned our current French property for about 8 years at the time of the sale in UK, and had lived here as our main residence for 5 months.

I think you had something like 18 months/two years where it was still exempt from CGT if it had been your main home for at least three years. Anyway, I don’t think they’ll come and get you now anyway!

( I got the feeling that the French tax officer I spoke was somewhat unsure of how the rules applied either, so took the easy route of saying there was nothing to pay!)

I agree completely with that, Jane - I’m sure that’s what happened to me!
I am also fairly sure, @David_Spardo , that selling your house that close to starting residence here would have been fine! It was a lot more ambiguous for me because I’d been resident here for 4 years when I sold it

If your main residence UK) was on the market and sold a short while after you moved here (France) permanently… you will have nothing to worry about in respect of CGT on that UK property.

France does understand that one can’t always sell a property “just like that…”
Of course there is a time limit to what they will allow, but 5 months is nothing to worry about…

just looking at the UK site for estimating the amount payable, I see it asks the value of the house in 2015 ! How the heck would anyobne know that.

There’s guidance on this here Geoff:

You can always apportion the gain from the date of purchase to the date of sale to get the 2015 value.
I think the French calculator I used was this one:

I asked the estate agent who was selling my house what it would have sold for in 2015 and used that!

For a fairly recent CGT exercise involving a trust property, we used the Nationwide house price index to calculate (guesstimate) the value at a certain date.