Capital expenditure for property businesses

There are different rules which apply to different types of capital expenditure for a property business. One of the main areas to consider in deciding whether a repair is a deductible expense is whether it is revenue or capital. Capital expenditure cannot be deducted in computing the profits of a property business, however there are separate reliefs for some capital expenditure.

The cost of land and buildings is capital expenditure, this includes the cost of any new buildings erected after letting has started and any improvements. 

HMRC also list the following additional examples of capital expenses:

  • expenditure which adds to or improves the land or property; for example, converting a disused barn to a holiday home,
  • the cost of refurbishing or repairing a property bought in a derelict or run-down state,
  • expenditure on demolishing a derelict factory to clear space for a new office building; the cost of the new building,
  • the cost of building a car park next to a property that is let,
  • expenditure on a new access road to a property,
  • the cost of a new piece of land next to a property that is let.

In general repairs and trivial capital improvements (incidental to a repair) are usually categorised as revenue expenditure. However, the devil can be in the detail and careful consideration must be given to specific expenses. For example, alterations due to advancements in technology are generally treated as an allowable repair rather than an improvement such as replacing single glazing on windows with double glazing.

Corporation Tax loss relief for losses carried forward

Corporation Tax relief may be available where your company or organisation makes a trading loss. The loss may be used to claim relief from Corporation Tax by offsetting the loss against other gains or profits of the business in the same or previous accounting period.

The loss can also be set against future qualifying trading income. Any claim for trading losses forms part of the Company Tax Return. The trading profit or loss for Corporation Tax purposes is worked out by making the usual tax adjustments to the figure of profit or loss shown in your company or organisation’s financial accounts.

Some of the basic requirements for a trade loss to be set off against other income sources include: 

  • being within the charge to Corporation Tax 
  • the trade must be carried on a commercial basis and with a view to the realisation of profit 
  • at least some of the trade must be carried out within the UK

The rules for the Corporation Tax treatment of carried forward losses changed from 1 April 2017. The changes increased flexibility to set off carried forward losses against total profits of the same company or another company in a group whilst at the same time introduced new restrictions as to the amount of profits against which carried forward losses can be set. Any losses carried forward prior to 1 April 2017 fall under the old loss relief rules and must be handled accordingly.