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Capital Losses

Don't Forget to Claim Your Losses!
With falling stock and property prices, many investors are nursing substantial Capital Losses from the last tax year. If you act now, you can use those losses to reduce your tax bill in future years.

Market Collapse
Over £700 billion has been wiped off the FTSE All Share Index since its peak in 2007. Any investor skilled or lucky enough to have made capital gains during this period is required to declare those gains to the Revenue.

But what if you are sitting on an overall capital loss after the market meltdown? You too should be looking to file Capital Gains Tax Return SA108 in order to notify HMRC and formally claim those losses.

Once reported to the Revenue, the losses can be carried forward indefinitely to offset against gains at any time in the future, to help reduce prospective tax bills.

Deadlines
Since 1996-1997, it has been necessary for investors to formally declare losses to HMRC if they wish to use them to offset against future gains. The losses need to be reported to HMRC within five years after the 31st January following the end of the tax year in which the loss arose. This means there is still time for investors to claim losses going back as far as 2003–2004.

If HMRC is not notified of the loss within that five year time-frame, it is too late and the loss is ‘lost’. However, once claimed, there is no time limit within which a reported loss must be used - any historical losses claimed can be accumulated and carried forward to offset against gains incurred many years from now

Offsetting Losses
You cannot claim for paper losses - only losses you have actually realised as a consequence of disposing of, gifting or transferring an asset. You can also claim losses against shares which have become of negligible value, eg Northern Rock, however special rules apply - see the article about Negligible Value Shares.

Losses must first be used to offset against any Capital Gains made in the same tax year. If your total combined Capital Losses for the year exceed the total Capital Gains, the difference between the two is the loss available to carry forward to future years.

The losses must be used to offset gains made in the same tax year in full, reducing the gain to zero. Any unused losses then carried forward to a future year are used to offset the capital gain down to the Annual Exempt Amount.

How to Claim
Making a claim is easy! You just need to complete form SA108 - listing the total gains made during the year (box 3), the total losses made during the year (box 4) and the losses left available to carry forward to later years (box 10).

And to make your claim even easier, TimeToTrade Live Account Features will do the work for you. Simply input all of your historical investment transactions into your TimeToTrade portfolio and the CGT Calculator works out the rest. You can then print off a fully completed SA108 ready to submit to HMRC to claim your losses, along with the supporting calculations now required by HMRC.

And if you have historical losses from 2003 onwards that you haven’t already claimed, then don’t worry TimeToTrade will even calculate indexation and taper relief applicable on pre 2008 disposals.


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