The Government has published proposals to change the rules that apply to transfers of assets between spouses and civil partners who are in the process of separating.
It is proposed to introduce legislation via a Finance Bill in 2022-23 that will provide that:
• separating spouses or civil partners be given up to three years after the year they cease to live together in which to make no gain or no loss transfers
• no gain or no loss treatment will also apply to assets that separating spouses or civil partners transfer between themselves as part of a formal divorce agreement
• a spouse or civil partner who retains an interest in the former matrimonial home be given an option to claim Private Residence Relief (PRR) when it is sold
• individuals who have transferred their interest in the former matrimonial home to their ex-spouse or civil partner and are entitled to receive a percentage of the proceeds when that home is eventually sold, be able to apply the same tax treatment to those proceeds when received that applied when they transferred their original interest in the home to their ex-spouse or civil partner.
The current legislation applying to the transfer of assets between an individual and their spouse or civil partner provides that such transfers made in any tax year in which they are living together obtain no gain / no loss treatment. This means that any gains or losses from the transfer are deferred until the asset is eventually disposed of by the transferee, who will be treated as having acquired the asset at the same allowable cost as the transferor.
If enacted, the changes would apply to disposals that occur on or after 6 April 2023.
There is an excellent analysis of the position from the Association of Tax Technicians at: