Shares Sold at a Loss

I bought some shares in a company listed on the London Stock Exchange a few years ago. Due to unforeseen circumstances I now have to sell them and have made a substantial loss. Can I get tax relief on this loss?

1st January 2010

When shares are sold for more than the amount originally paid for them a capital gain arises and capital gains tax is charged accordingly.  When shares are sold for less than the amount originally paid for them, a capital loss arises. Unfortunately, capital losses arising on the sale of listed shares cannot be offset against income tax liabilities.  Instead, they are offset against capital gains arising either in the same tax year, or in future years.

Capital gains and losses are calculated by deducting the orginal cost of the asset, plus any enhancement expenditure, from the proceeds received on the subsequent disposal. The original cost includes any fees incurred on the acquisition of the asset and the sale proceeds are likewise reduced by any fees incurred on the sale of the asset.  Allowable fees include legal fees, stamp duty and stockbroker's fees.

Capital losses arising in the tax year must be offset against any gains arising in the same year and if there is a net gain, then the annual tax free exemption (currently 10,100) is applied. If there is a net loss, the loss is carried forward to future years until relief can be given.

Utilising losses in this way is an important tax planning point, so we recommend you take advice from your local TaxAssist Accountant before selling any shares at loss.

By Jo Nockels

Disclaimer: Advice shared in this blog is intended to inform rather than advise. Taxpayer's circumstances do vary and if you feel that the information provided is beneficial it is important that you contact us before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this forum, before receiving our written endorsement, we will accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred.

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