Until the Summer Budget 2015 when you purchased a business (not its shares) into a limited company from an unrelated party you could write off the goodwill (Intangibles) against your corporation tax but that has now changed and you can’t, another tax relief bites the dust!
In accounting terms, purchased goodwill is the balancing figure between the purchase price of a business and the net value of the assets acquired. Goodwill can therefore be thought of as representing the value of a business’s reputation and customer relationships.
This measure removes the tax relief that is available when structuring a business acquisition as a business and asset purchase so that goodwill can be recognised. This advantage is not generally available to companies who purchase the shares of the target company. The current rules allow corporation tax profits to be reduced following a merger or acquisition of business assets and can distort commercial practices and lead to manipulation and avoidance. Removing the relief brings the UK regime in line with other major economies,reduces distortion and levels the playing field for merger and acquisition transactions.
Intangibles acquired before 8 July 2015 will continue to be treated under the old rules, so a corporation tax deduction will continue to be available for amortisation, and any loss on disposal will be treated as part of the company’s trading profit or loss for the year of disposal.
Mr Smith has been running a small garage for a few years
he decides to incorporate his business and sets up Smiths Garage Limited with himself as the sole director and shareholder
he transfers the goodwill of the business and its other assets and liabilities to Smiths Garage Limited but does not claim incorporation tax relief under Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act (TCGA) 1992, s162, nor does he claim hold-over relief under TCGA s162
at the time of incorporation, the goodwill of the business is valued at £100,000
Mr Smith makes a chargeable gain on the transfer of the goodwill, which is deemed to be at market value, of £100,000 which, after deducting the annual CGT exemption (£10,900 2013-14), will be taxable at 10% due to the availability of entrepreneur’s relief(note rules changed 3rd December 2014 and ER is no longer available normal rates of CGT now apply)
the company will pay Mr Smith £100,000 for the acquisition of goodwill and this is done by way of a credit to Mr Smiths director’s loan account. Mr Smith is able to draw down on this account without any further tax charges.
In addition Mr Smith started his Sole Trader business after the 1st April 2002 so he can claim a corporation tax deduction for amortisation of the goodwill in the company accounts. Small Companies pay Corporation Tax at 20%, so being able to deduct Goodwill on £100,000 will save £20,000 in Corporation Tax. (note rules changed 3rd December 2014 and Section 849C CTA2009 prevents this on related party goodwill)
Where a trader transfers his business to a limited company of which he is a ‘substantial shareholder’, the parties are treated as ‘related parties’ and the transfer must be at market value, but you can ask HMRC to carryout a post transaction valuation check by submitting form CG34
Goodwill relating to personal services is not normally considered to have a market value as it can not be transferred
In general it is expected that intangibles will have a useful life of no more than 20 years (note new rules – FRS102 states
“If an entity is unable to make a reliable estimate of the useful life of goodwill, the life shall not exceed five years.”)
Get professional advice to help you to prepare the valuation, disclose the capital gain and claim the tax relief