Dealing with gift hold-over relief ‘nudge’ letters

Dealing with gift hold-over relief ‘nudge’ letters

Dealing with gift hold-over relief ‘nudge’ letters

HMRC are sending one-to-many ‘nudge’ letters to taxpayers who included an invalid claim for gift hold-over relief in their 2021/22 tax return. This may be because a separate claim form was not included with the return, or the claim form was included but not signed. If you receive such a letter, it is important that you do not ignore it – without a valid claim, HMRC will require any capital gains tax due to be paid now rather than deferred.

What is gift hold-over relief?

Gift hold-over relief is a useful capital gains tax business relief that allows the capital gains tax due on a gift to be deferred by ‘holding over’ the gain, reducing the transferee’s base cost by the amount of the held-over gain. The relief is often used to aid succession planning.

Eligible gifts

The relief is available for:

  • gifts of business assets used for the purpose of a trade or profession carried on by an individual as a sole trader or as a partner in a partnership, by an individual’s personal company or by a member of a trading group where the holding company is the individual’s personal company;
  • gifts of unlisted shares and securities in a trading company or the holding company of a trading group where the individual owns at least 5% of the shares (for trustees, the holding must be at least 25%);
  • gifts of land deemed to be agricultural land for inheritance tax purposes;
  • assets the disposal of which is a chargeable transfer for inheritance tax and not a potentially exempt transfer; and
  • certain gifts that are exempt from inheritance tax, such as a gift from a trust for bereaved minors.

Mechanics of the relief

As a gift by its very nature is not made at arm’s length, any gain arising on disposal is calculated by reference to the market value of the asset rather than the proceeds, if any. For an outright gift, the full gain (calculated using the market value as the consideration) can be held over. The transferee’s base cost is the market value as reduced by the held-over gain.

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Bill gives his son James his workshop, which cost £50,000. At the time of the gift, the market value was £140,000. The gain is £90,000, which Bill and James agree to hold over. James’ base cost is £50,000 – the market value of £140,000 less the held-over gain of £90,000.

If the transferor receives some proceeds, the gain computed by reference to the actual proceeds is immediately chargeable. However, the difference between the market value and the proceeds can be held over.


Elizabeth sells her studio to her daughter Dawn for £40,000. It cost her £30,000 and has a market value of £75,000. They claim hold-over relief. The £10,000 difference between the proceeds (£40,000) and the original cost (£30,000) is immediately chargeable. However, the remainder of the gain (the difference between the market value and the proceeds) of £35,000 is held over. Dawn’s base cost is £40,000 (£75,000 – £35,000).

Joint claim

The claim must be made jointly by the transferor and the transferee on the dedicated claim form. It must be signed by both parties.

Dealing with the letter

If you receive a nudge letter you should send HMRC a valid claim form signed by both parties or, if the gift is not eligible for the relief, amend your tax return to remove the claim.

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