The government has published its responses to the Office of Tax Simplification’s review and recommendations in relation Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains tax.

Particularly noteworthy for family lawyers is the recommendation regarding the ‘no gain no loss’ window, which currently allows spouses to transfer assets between one another without incurring CGT as long as these transfers take place in the remainder of the tax year following the parties’ separation. The recommendation of the OTS was that the government should extend this window so that such transfers between spouses will not incur CGT as long as they are made by the end of the tax year at least two years after separation. The government has accepted this recommendation and is now set to consult on the detail over the next year.

This will be a welcome change for separating couples, and will mean that those separating earlier in the tax year will no longer be arbitrarily favoured by having longer to arrange for the tax-free transfer of assets between them. It will allow spouses more time to deal with disclosure, negotiations and/or court proceedings, and will alleviate the pressure of having to make decisions regarding the transfer of assets in the short period before CGT becomes payable at the end of the current tax year.