Tax when transferring assets during divorce

When a couple is separating or is divorced it is unlikely that they are thinking about the tax implications of their actions. However, apart from the emotional stress, there are also tax issues that can have significant implications.

The Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rules that apply during separation and divorce changed for disposals that occur on or after 6 April 2023. These changes extended the period for separating spouses and civil partners to make "no gain/no loss transfers" up to three years after they cease living together. The changes also provide for an unlimited time if the assets are the subject of a formal divorce agreement. Prior to this change, the no gain/no loss treatment was only available in relation to disposals in the remainder of the tax year during which the separation occurs.

There are also special rules that apply to individuals who have maintained a financial interest in their former family home following separation and that apply when that home is eventually sold. This allows for private residence relief (PRR) to be claimed when a qualifying property is sold.

It is also important, during divorce proceedings, to make a financial agreement that is acceptable to both parties. If no agreement can be reached, then proceeding to court action to make a 'financial order' will usually be required.

Accordingly, the couple and their advisers should give proper thought to what will happen to the family home, any family businesses as well as the inheritance tax implications of separation and / or divorce.

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