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HMRC internal manual

Capital Gains Manual

Land: 'real' property

Whilst general law refers to the term ‘property’ this is a difficult term to define. For CGT purposes we are concerned with the disposal of ‘assets’. This is a term which covers all forms of tangible and intangible property, including interests in or rights over property.

In general law, ‘property’ is divided into two basic categories:

  • real property;
  • personal property.

‘Real’ property is property to which a dispossessed owner has a right to have it returned to him. The court does not have discretion to merely order that compensation should be paid for its loss; the owner has a right of action to recover the property itself. This is called a ‘real action’ and it is from this that such property came to be termed ‘real property’ or ‘realty’. This term includes land and most interests in and rights over land.

In Scotland, the terms heritable property and moveable property are used. Heritable property is akin to real property and moveable property is akin to personal property.