Bath Business Blog: Goughs Solicitors’ family law partner Ross Phillips. Recent changes to Capital Gains Tax for separating spouses

April 13, 2023

The government has brought in changes to the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rules that apply to separating spouses which will allow more time for the transfer of assets between them without incurring a potential tax charge.

Previously there was often a rush to sell or transfer the family home or rental properties once a couple separated in order to take advantage of the tax rules that apply to married couples. 

Since the recent changes, they are now allowed much more time to do so. A transfer of property between spouses before they obtain their final order of divorce, or within the first three tax years following their separation, will not trigger a potential CGT liability.

Furthermore, and significantly, any transfers of property between spouses as a result of a court order, either reached by consent or made by a judge within financial remedy proceedings, will not trigger a disposal for CGT purposes at any time in the future.

Similarly, a spouse who holds an interest in the former matrimonial home will have the option to claim private residence relief (PRR) making it exempt from CGT when it is sold in the future, provided they are not claiming PRR over a new main residence.

However, caution must always be exercised when considering property owned by spouses abroad. The tax authorities overseas may not have a similar exemption for transfers of property between spouses in relation to property in foreign jurisdictions.

Expert tax advice from an accountant or tax adviser is always recommended, particularly when dealing with high net worth separations involving complex property portfolios or property abroad.

Consult Ross Phillips for further advice and information or go to to book a free, confidential 30-minute consultation.


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