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HMRC internal manual

Capital Gains Manual

Chattels: introduction

A chattel is defined as anything which is tangible moveable property.


A tangible object is one that you can touch. The asset has to be a physical asset such as a piece of machinery or a painting.

In some cases, you may come across a combination of tangible and intangible assets. Cherished car number plates which CG76921 + tell you about are one example.

If you are dealing with this type of case, you may need to apportion the consideration, for example, between the various assets. TCGA92/S52 (4) provides for the apportionment to be made on a just and reasonable basis.

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There is no specific meaning for the term `moveable’ in the Capital Gains Tax legislation. In general law, there are specific rules which determine whether an asset is moveable or has become fixed.

If an asset has not become part of the land or any building to which it is attached, then it retains its separate identity. If, however, it is permanently or semi-permanently attached to the land or any building, it is regarded as part of that land or building. There is some further background at CA26025.

In a Capital Gains Tax context, you should regard the question as one of fact. Can the asset be moved easily and without damaging its surroundings?

Small items of plant or other easily moved items will satisfy the test.

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There is no definition of ‘property’ in the Capital Gains Tax legislation. TCGA92/S21 (1) does, however, tell you that all forms of property are treated as assets.

Property has a legal meaning which is based on the concept of ownership. However, Capital Gains Tax looks at the question of whether you can turn something to account. In simple terms, can you buy or sell whatever you are looking at?