'Don't rush to sell shares in surgeries'

GPs contemplating selling shares in surgeries for tax reasons after a recent government announcement have been urged not to rush into it.

Last month GP reported that GPs thinking of selling surgery premises or shares in them after April 2008 would face a tax bill of up to £15,000 higher than now.

In his first pre-budget report, chancellor Alistair Darling announced that the system of exceptions and taper relief would be abolished and a lower base rate of 18 per cent capital gains tax would apply.

This affects all those who bought property after March 1982 and before April 1998 and are set to retire or sell their shares in premises after 6 April 2008.

However, Valerie Martin, medical director with accountants PKF, writing in GP, said: ‘The most important thing is not to rush into selling your share of the surgery purely for tax reasons.’

She explained that they were only proposals and the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors and the British Chambers of Commerce were attempting to persuade the chancellor to modify his plans.

She added: ‘There is a possibility that the old reliefs might at least be frozen at March 2008 values so that indexation and taper relief could be available against gains up until then.’

Ms Martin added that GPs approaching retirement and contemplating selling a surgery share anyway might want to bring ‘that sale forward to the current tax year rather than risking a higher tax charge in 2008/9’.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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