House Doctor: 'I'm selling my late parent's home. Do I face a hefty tax bill?'

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The Independent Online

Question: I'm inheriting half of my late father's house but want to sell it to my brother and his family as he's keen to live there. Will I face a hefty tax bill? The house is estimated to be worth about £240,000 and the rest of his estate is worth roughly £12,000.

John Pelton, Middlesex

Answer: You probably won't need to pay anything. The relevant taxes here are inheritance tax and capital gains tax. You won't need to pay inheritance tax as the total value of your late father's estate is less than the current threshold of £325,000.

Capital gains tax is payable on the "gain" in any asset between the time it is acquired and the time it is sold. You will therefore only be liable if your half of the house is worth more when you sell it to your brother than it was when you inherited it. Given the state of the housing market, that is unlikely.

If your gain is less than £10,100, or the house has fallen in value, you won't have to pay a penny. In the unlikely event that you make a gain exceeding £10,100, you'll be taxed on 18 per cent of the difference if you're a basic-rate earner, and 28 per cent if you are a higher-rate tax-payer.

Question: Our £210,000 flat has 78 years left on its lease. We've owned it for 12 years and want to extend the lease, but our landlord is asking for £17,000 to add 90 years to it. Is this exorbitant or simply the going rate?

Shelley Cranet, West Midlands

Answer: Since many flat-owners, like you, leave their lease extension until very late in the day, it sadly tends to be an expensive exercise.

To ensure the wool's not being pulled over your eyes, says Melanie Bien at mortgage broker Private Finance, "get an independent valuation of your flat from an experienced chartered surveyor, and compare it with that of your landlord." It'll set you back a few hundred pounds but you'll be able to compare the so-called "premium" that each thinks needs to be paid to extend your lease.

If your surveyor's opinion is similar to your landlord's, the price is probably reasonable. If it's much less, you can challenge your landlord and, if necessary, apply to a leasehold valuation tribunal.

The Leasehold Advisory Service suggests that, for a flat bought at £150,000 with a 68-year lease and revalued at £165,000, a 90-year extension is likely to cost £8,250.