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What to consider when buying a commercial property

2nd August 2018

Stamp duty

There are 3 rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax on the purchase price of a commercial property: 0% up to £150,000; 2% on the next £100,000; 5% over £250,000.

VAT

With commercial properties, the landlord normally applies to HMRC to 'opt to tax' - which means VAT would be charged on any rent which is then reclaimable as an expense. When an 'option to tax' has been made, VAT must be charged on the sale of the property. If the new purchaser is going to use the property for business, it can recover the input VAT charged via a VAT Return without an option to tax the property. But if the buyer wants to rent it out, they should ‘opt to tax’ or they will be unable to recover the purchase VAT.

Capital Gains Tax on selling a commercial property

For a Company, any Capital Gain is reduced by an Indexation Allowance and then taxed at the Corporation Tax rate (currently 19%).  For an individual, any Capital Gain above the Annual Allowance (2018/19 £11,700) is taxed at 10% and/or 20% (depending on other taxable income). 

Capital allowances

As well as claiming ‘normal’ capital allowances on fixtures and fittings in the property (which reduce taxable income), a landlord can also claim capital allowances on ‘integral features’, such as electricity, water and heating systems (at a reduced writing down allowance rate of 8%).