A Guide For Landlords on Transferring Your Business to a Company

As a UK landlord, you might not be overly excited about tax regulations, but there’s one set of rules that could significantly impact your financial future: transferring your property business to a company. This move could help you save on taxes and streamline your operations, but it’s essential to understand the rules outlined in the HMRC manuals CG65700, CG65710, CG65715. Property118 has a handy overview that breaks down these complex documents into plain English so that you can make informed decisions about your property business.

Understanding the Basics

The HMRC manuals discuss how individuals or landlords can transfer their property business to a company. The main goal here is to defer capital gains tax (CGT) until you decide to sell the shares of your company. This is often referred to as “incorporation relief.”

Who Can Benefit?

Before diving into the details, let’s clarify who can benefit from these rules. If you own a property business and are not a company yourself, you may be eligible. This means that individual landlords and those operating within a partnership structure can potentially take advantage of these rules.

The Conditions for Relief

The HMRC manuals outline specific conditions that must be met to qualify for incorporation relief:

  1. The Business Must Be a “Going Concern”: Your property business should be actively operating at the time of transfer. It shouldn’t merely consist of idle assets. The courts have ruled that a “going concern” means that your business is up and running, has all the necessary equipment to function, and isn’t just a collection of assets gathering dust.
  2. Transferring All Assets (Except Cash): When you transfer your property business, you should move all of its assets, except for cash or funds in a bank account. This includes assets that might not be listed on your balance sheet, such as self-generated goodwill.
  3. Payment Through Shares: The consideration for transferring your property business to a company should be paid, at least in part, through shares in the company. This means you receive shares in the company in exchange for transferring your property business.

Key Considerations for Landlords

Now that we’ve simplified the conditions, let’s consider some important points for landlords looking to take advantage of these rules:

1. Evaluating Your Business Activity

To qualify for incorporation relief, your property activities should resemble what you’d expect from a business. This includes conducting your property activities regularly, actively pursuing them, generating substantial income, and operating according to recognized business principles.

2. The 20-Hour Threshold

One factor that can indicate you’re running a business is the amount of time you personally invest in property-related activities. If you spend 20 hours or more a week on these activities, it’s a strong indicator that you’re running a property business.

3. Seek Professional Advice

The rules surrounding incorporation relief can be complex, and their application can vary depending on individual circumstances. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional who can help you navigate these rules and determine if they’re beneficial for your property business.

Partnerships and Companies

If you’re part of a property business partnership, you can still benefit from incorporation relief as long as you transfer the entire partnership business to a company. Relief is calculated separately for each partner, and it’s not affected if some partners receive cash or a combination of shares and other forms of compensation.

However, relief is not available if a partnership or LLP incorporates into an existing corporate member because the corporate partner already owns a portion of the business assets.

Companies and Non-UK Operations

If you’re operating as a company and looking to transfer a trade conducted outside the UK to a non-resident company, you can’t use TCGA92/S162 for relief. Instead, you should explore TCGA92/S140, which provides a similar relief mechanism.

Interaction with Other Tax Benefits

It’s important to consider how incorporation relief interacts with other tax benefits when selling property assets. Understanding these interactions can help you make strategic decisions about your property business’s future.


Transferring your property business to a company can be a tax-efficient move, but it’s crucial to understand the HMRC rules outlined in the CG65700, CG65710, and CG65715 manuals. By meeting specific conditions, such as operating as a “going concern” and transferring all assets (except cash), you may be able to defer capital gains tax and streamline your property business operations.

However, the application of these rules can be nuanced, and individual circumstances vary. Therefore, seeking professional tax advice is highly recommended before making any decisions. With the right guidance, you can navigate these rules effectively and potentially enjoy tax savings as a UK landlord.