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HMRC internal manual

Capital Gains Manual

Land: what is land? Chattels & fixtures

For a definition of chattels, see CG76550 onwards.

Chattels which have been brought onto land may become fixtures. This will normally occur when either the chattels are intended to remain permanently on the land or are attached to the land (or a building on it) in a permanent way.

For example, a pile of bricks placed on a field are chattels, whereas the same bricks built into a house will become a fixture.

Where a chattel has become a fixture, it should not be treated as a separate asset unless it is physically detached from the land and sold independently. Where this is the case, it is the point at which the fixture becomes detached from the land that it becomes a chattel again. Not, if different, the date on which it is sold.

The purpose of annexation is also key, so for example a dry stone wall is designed as a permanant feature of the land so will be a fixture even though the stones merely rest on the land.

Land law cases, such as Elitestone Ltd v Morris (2 All E.R. 513), have considered whether items are chattels or fixtures and the position for CGT will generally follow this treatment.

Where fixtures have been attached to the land by a tenant, again they should not be treated as separate assets; they merge with the land. Certain tenants however are entitled by law to remove certain fixtures that they have attached to land at the end of their tenancy. However unless and until the tenant exercises his right of removal the fixtures continue to form part of the land and remain the property of the landlord.