Category: Taxation

Have you been cooking at home?

By Colin Burns

11 Dec 2018

It could help with your tax affairs and claim for relief from Capital Gains Tax on the sale of your Principal Private Residence.

Many taxpayers will own multiple residences and may be unsure as to whether their property will be categorised as their main residence.

In a recent tax case, Hezi Yechiel vs. HMRC (2018) a property owner was denied Capital Gains Tax Private Residence Relief, based on his failure to prove that the property in question was his main or only place of residence before it’s sale.

As part of their evidence for denying his claim, HMRC stated that although he slept at the property on occasion, Mr Yechiel did not cook in the property and had only minimum furniture, as well as having utility bills which indicated minimal use of the property.

Mr Yechiel purchased the property to renovate and then intended to live there with his wife, however upon failure of the marriage, this was argued to not be the case. He stayed at the property in the period between April and July 2011. Mr Yechiel had regular contact with his son and yet his son never visited the property; the property was still undergoing renovations and therefore not childproof, but Mr Yechiel spent much of his time at his parents’ house, where he tended to eat most of his meals, and where he did his laundry.

After appealing to the First Tier Tribunal (FTT), it was decided that to achieve the status of ‘main residence’, Mr Yechiel’s occupation of the property should not be limited to just sleeping there, there should be periods which could be thought of as actually ‘living’ at the property; that being cooking and eating a meal (whilst seated, as was often not the case) and spending leisure time in the property. A lack of furniture at the property was a key observation along with the consumption of takeaway food.

The use of a property is very much a question of fact and, given the easy availability of photographic evidence via the use of smartphones, it is a sensible idea to take plenty of photos of using the property domestically, particularly where the overall period of ownerships is shorter than originally intended.

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