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HMRC internal manual

Business Income Manual

Definitions: Development

Whether the land has been developed is a question of fact.

‘Development’ for the  purpose of Condition D is not defined but is interpreted to mean any change from the lands position at purchase.  In the absence of other factors obtaining planning permission will not constitute land being developed for the purpose of condition D.

Example 1

A person acquires land with the intention to hold it for investment purposes. After several years planning permission is obtained to build houses on the land. The landowner’s intention changes to build and sell housing units on the land.  An access road and other infrastructure is built before the landowner gets in financial difficulty and sells the land.  Condition D applies, the land has been developed and one of the main purposes of developing the land was to profit from disposing it.   

Example 2

A company carried out research and decided to purchase a plot of land as they have identified the land will be worth significantly more with planning permission. After acquisition they obtain this planning permission and sell the land. The land has not been developed for the purposes of condition D but it is likely that the company has a either a trade in dealing UK land or that Condition A would apply due to the one of the main purposes of acquiring the land was to profit from its disposal.