How to Minimise Capital Gains and Protect my Father’s Home from Care Costs?

Q.3 How Best to Minimise Capital Gains and Protect my Father’s Home from Care Costs?

I moved into my father’s home in the Midlands circa three years ago. He’s 92, and I’m 63. I travel around the UK for work and stay there when I’m able. I have continued to have my father’s house as my main residence as it also protects the family home against any care home costs in the future, given my age and as I am a family member. I am not on the title deeds there.

I bought a property in Yorkshire with my brother (I needed him on the mortgage because of my age), and it was a 95:5% split.

The 5% was a token. I paid the deposit and have paid the mortgage. I stay in this house when I’m up North. My divorce settlement came through a few weeks ago and I paid off the mortgage on the house.

I bought this house for £124,000 in August 2020 and it is now worth circa £180,000. My concerns are: (1) If I were to sell the house in Yorkshire, what would be the capital gains tax (CGT) position? (2) What can I do to protect my position? My brother is looking to move back into my father’s home and make it his main residence. If he does, then I would then make the Yorkshire house my main residence. My brother has a house which he owns outright in the Midlands. I’m looking not only to minimise capital gains but also to protect my father’s home from care costs.

Arthur Weller replies:

It appears that your father’s house is your main residence, so if you sold the Yorkshire house now for £180,000, you would be subject to CGT on £56,000. When a person starts to occupy two residences, they can make an election within two years that one of them is their main residence for CGT purposes, even if it is not factually their main  residence; see HMRC’s Capital Gains Manual at CG64485. It seems that you have gone past the twoyear deadline for making the election. However, if you look at CG64500, you can see that since you do not own your father’s house (I assume he is the sole owner) you have ‘nil capital value’ in the house.

Therefore, you are entitled to make an election now (even though it is past the two-year deadline) that the Yorkshire house is your main residence for CGT purposes. This should enable you to claim principal private residence relief.


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