Tax when you sell your home

3. Living away from your home

You may get less Private Residence Relief if you live away from your home. However, you always get relief for certain periods.

The rules are different if you’re not UK resident for tax.

Periods that always qualify for relief

No matter how many homes you own or where you lived at the time, you always get relief for the last 18 months before you sold your home. It must have been your only or main residence at some point while you owned it.

You’ll also get relief for the first 12 months you owned the home if both the following apply:

  • it was being built, renovated or you couldn’t sell your old home
  • you lived in it as your only or main residence at the end of the 12 months

You get relief for these periods even if you nominated a different home as your main home.

If you have one home or you nominated your home

You get relief if you were away from it for:

  • any reason for periods adding up to 3 years
  • up to 4 years if you had to live away from home in the UK for work
  • any period if you were working outside the UK

You must have lived in the home before and afterwards, unless your work prevented you.

If you only own one home you get relief for the last 36 months before you sold your home if any of the following apply:

  • you’re disabled
  • you’re in long-term residential care
  • you sold the property before 6 April 2014

If you own more than one home

In most cases, you only get relief for one home for any period. You must work out when you lived in each property as your main home.

If you’re married or in a civil partnership only one home per couple counts as your main home for any period.

If you’ve nominated a home you can’t get relief for another property for the time your home is nominated, apart from for the periods that always qualify for relief.

Example You owned your home for 20 years and were away for 5 (25% of the time). The time you lived away wasn’t during the last 18 months or another period that qualified for relief. The amount of gain you get relief on is reduced by 25%.

There are other rules that affect tax relief when you sell your home.

If you’re not sure how the rules apply to you, call the Capital Gains Tax helpline.