Property Clinic: our experts answer your questions about all aspects of buying, owning and selling a house. This week: nominating the main residence.
“In common with other recently married older couple, we each have our own house and choose not to live together full-time. I prefer being in town while my husband prefers the country. We maintain our properties independently, so feel it is impossible to choose one main residence. Our solicitor says he does not see why we have to, but my accountant says we must nominate one or the other within two years of our marriage. Who is right?”
Maggie Flemming writes
A married couple (or civil partners) can only have one property at a time between them qualifying for the principal private residence exemption. You can either wait and tell HM Revenue & Customs whether it is your main residence when you sell, or elect one of your homes as such ahead of time. The nomination must be made within two years of marriage. That sounds restrictive but it is actually incredibly flexible. You can vary the nomination as often as necessary, and backdate it by up to two years, which could save you a considerable amount of tax.