Understanding CGT in Trading and Investing in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide

Finance. Accounting documents on the table

If you’re an investor or trader in the UK, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of Capital Gains Tax (CGT). CGT is a tax on the profit you make when you sell an asset. Example of these assets are shares, property or business assets. Understanding how CGT works can help you make better investment decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about CGT in the context of trading and investing. We’ll start by explaining how it’s calculated, before moving on to discuss the different rules that apply.

What is CGT?

CGT is a tax on the profit you make when you sell an asset. It’s important to note that CGT only applies to assets that have increased in value since you acquired them. If you sell an asset for less than you paid for it, you won’t have to pay CGT.

How is CGT calculated?

The amount of CGT you’ll need to pay depends on a number of factors. This includes the type of asset you’re selling, how long you’ve owned it, and your income. In general, the higher your income, the more CGT you’ll need to pay.

The basic formula for calculating CGT is:

[Sale price] – [Purchase Price] – [Any Allowable Expenses] = Gain

You’ll pay tax on the gain at either the standard CGT rate (currently 20% for higher rate and 10% for basic rate). The higher rate of 28% applies if you’re selling a residential property that isn’t your main home.

Different rules for different assets

Different types of assets are subject to different rules when it comes to CGT. For example, if you’re selling shares, you can use the annual tax-free allowance of £12,300 (2022/23 tax year). This means you won’t need to pay any CGT on the first £12,300 of gains you make from selling investments. Within this category is also options based on the on the tax year whether you need a self-assessment. HMRC has their direct guidance on CGT and options here.

If you’re selling a property, you may also be able to take advantage of certain reliefs, such as the main residence relief or lettings relief, which can reduce the amount of CGT you need to pay.

It’s important to understand the specific rules that apply to the assets you’re selling, as this can have a big impact on the amount of tax you need to pay.


Understanding CGT is essential for anyone involved in trading and investing in the UK. By knowing how CGT is calculated and the different rules that apply to different types of assets, you can make better investment decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

If you’re unsure about any aspect of CGT, it’s always a good idea to seek professional advice from a qualified accountant or tax advisor. By doing so, you can ensure that you’re making the most of the tax reliefs available to you and minimizing your tax bill.

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