Businesses are missing out on millions of pounds of tax allowances when buying commercial property, says CCH Insight. CCH estimates that the majority of owners of commercial properties haven’t claimed because the dormant tax benefit in “embedded fixtures” is often overlooked.

Changes in the Finance Act from April 2014 mean that tax allowances for commercial building fixtures could be lost to a new buyer and all future owners, said CCH, which has produced a guide on the new rules.

First new rule – From April 2012 to 31 March 2014 there’s a transitional period for corporation tax; for income tax it was from 6 April 2012 up to and including 5 April 2014. Where the seller has made a capital allowance claim, the “fixed value requirement” ensures that the vendor’s disposal value and purchaser’s acquisition value are one and the same. This is achieved by requiring the seller and buyer to enter into a joint s198 or s199 Capital Allowances Act 2001 election within two years of the transfer of the property. If a figure cannot be jointly agreed, either party may make a unilateral appeal to the first-tier tax tribunal for an independent decision.

Second new rule – from April 2014 Any seller who could have claimed capital allowances must pool (though not necessarily claim) the allowances, which can then be passed to the buyer. “For a professional accountant or other professional adviser, the complexity of the new rules raises the prospect of their advice being called into question, potentially exposing their professional indemnity insurance,” CCH says.

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