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We rented out our former home – how much CGT to pay? | Money

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Q We are in the process of selling our former family home which has been rented out for the past eight years. We lived there from 1987 until 2012.

The value of the house increased from the £91,500 we paid for it in 1987 to £325,000 in 2012, but has gained only £5,000 since then as we have just accepted an offer of £330,000. As there has been little appreciable gain in price during the time it was let, how is the actual gain calculated? I have assumed that we only pay capital gains tax on the £5,000.
IE

A I’m afraid that you have assumed incorrectly. The value of the property in 2012 is irrelevant and the taxable gain is not £5,000. The gain is £330,000 minus £91,500 minus buying and selling costs – including legal and estate agents’ fees and any stamp duty land tax (SDLT) paid when you bought it.

But some of the gain will be tax-free because the property is your former home.

How much depends on the following calculation: since 6 April 2020, you work out how much of the gain is tax-free by adding nine (it was previously 18) to the number of months you lived in the property and then dividing this figure by the number of months that you owned it and then multiplying by 100.

In your case – and assuming you lived in it for 25 whole years – you lived in the house for 300 months and owned it for 396 months. 300 plus nine is 309 months, divided by 396 and multiplied by 100 that makes 78% of the gain tax-free so only 22% of the gain is subject to CGT.

The first £12,300 of your total taxable gains in a tax year escapes CGT. The amount left after deducting the tax-free slice is charged at 18% if you are a basic-rate taxpayer but 28% if you are a higher- or additional-rate-taxpayer.

Another change since 6 April 2020 is that you have to report and pay any CGT due within 30 days of selling a property. If you don’t, you’ll be fined.

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The best weight loss tips for women undergoing menopause

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Menopause is the natural decline in the reproductive hormones when a woman reaches the age of 40-50. When a woman has not had her periods for one full year, she is said to be menopausal. The menopause stage can have numerous side effects on the body including weight gain, mood swings, hot flashes and hormonal imbalance. The weight gain during menopause occurs due to a drop in the estrogen levels, ageing and inadequate sleep.

Though it can be very challenging to lose weight during menopause, eating certain foods and adopting some lifestyle changes can help one lose extra kilos. Here are some weight loss tips for women undergoing menopause.


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Clap, clap, clap… It’s not only heroes who deserve applause | Coronavirus

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Clap for carers, clap for heroes. Clap for teachers, clap for bin collectors, clap for postmen, clap for chemists, clap for shelf stackers, clap for police. Clap for neighbours dropping off medicine for former enemies, leaving the bag only slightly in the rain. Clap for freelancers working eight days a week to prevent their old routines of pornography and fretting being exposed by a flatmate. Clap for the woman trudging out into the world on a daily walk where every footstep is another curse uttered. Clap for the couple crossing the road, veering away from oncomers as if absolutely pissed at breakfast time.

Clap for the snack makers, busy every 45 minutes with new ideas for crumpets and the end of the cheese. Clap for the dishwashers, initially excited by all the attention received – the detritus from three meals a day at first an exciting challenge (“A plate stained with Nutella and sriracha? By God, I’ll give it a go!”), now an insult, every rinse cycle a slow crawl towards electric morbidity. Clap for the man in the flat over the road who does Yoga with Adriene every morning at 10, then spends the rest of the day playing Fifa in a towelling-robed rage. Clap for the houseplants that have refused to die, despite the new experimental watering regime. Clap for the scented candle, infusing the house with the memory of grapefruit in order to cover the stench of five people’s fears.

Clap for the footballers doing more in their free time for hungry children than politicians for whom it’s their actual jobs. Clap for the parents making half a tomato and a coin bag of grated cheese last a week. Clap for the strangers feeding those who can’t afford to feed themselves. Clap for coffee, clap for aspirin, clap for Calpol, clap for gin. Clap for pictures of other people’s houses on Instagram, built in hot countries in the 70s out of wood and concrete and filled with small, exquisite things one can zoom in on in the night. Clap for the nights, which mark another day completed. Clap for small things done well, like a pencil beautifully sharpened, or a slice of toast unburned. Clap for an untantrummed hour of homeschooling, for a book not thrown. Clap for the person who hasn’t left the house for months, their bedroom a running track, their window a mirror, their phone a window. Clap for the Tweeter who has chosen not to share a video warning about microchips in the vaccine. Clap for the dogs, fried with attention.

Clap for the teenager who last summer missed their first kiss, with tongues and hands in the shade of a tree. Clap for the teenager’s mother, forced to share a sofa with their hormones. Clap for the moments of connection so rare and gorgeous they sparkle like a sequin in mud. Clap for the time passed, all the hours we haven’t died, all the weeks and all the months, clap for another virtually pain-free minute, and again, and again. Clap for the couple that found love in lockdown, and clap for the disgusting habits they each continue to hide from each other in dark corners of their one-bed flat. Clap for the lady with the litter-picker, removing face masks from the bush. Clap for the person telling you their anxiety dream, even though it exposes far too much truth for this time of day. Clap for oven chips, edible even when forgotten overnight. Clap for to-do lists, for their glittering potential. Clap for the promise of snow.

Clap for the boy responding correctly to his friend’s sudden grief. Clap for meal-planning, and a pasta sauce eked out over a fortnight. Clap for the girl who has extended her cleansing routine so masterfully that she is now able to stifle her panic for upwards of three hours a day. Clap for the nephew in the chat group who unpicks all his aunties’ forwarded hoax messages without once taking a patronising or exasperated tone. Clap for that very large tree in the park that has surely seen worse than this. Clap for the ex who elegantly dismisses a drunk midnight text. Clap for unlimited data. Clap for the beds that transition at daybreak into offices, and the kitchens to schools. Clap for the cat, unimpressed by it all. Clap for weather, something else to talk about. Clap for the bit of thumbnail that valiantly held on, despite being worried by its sister hand almost constantly for 11 whole months. Clap for the teaching assistant on Zoom doing all the voices at reading time, and the recorded assembly explaining Brexit with binbags.

Clap and clap, your twice-washed hands slapping drily against each other with the force and intensity of a baby that’s seen ice-cream. Clap until they chafe, then continue clapping and, when the blood threatens to come, clap louder still. Clap until you can feel your knuckles, clap until it feels you will clap your hands down to the wrist. Clap, to show your respect, to show you’re alive, to show you are a witness to these many small glories. For something to do, and wordlessly say, and it slightly hurts, but somebody hears you, not waving but clapping.

Email Eva at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @EvaWiseman



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Baby leaves are a joy to grow – and good to eat | Gardening advice

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I am forever getting into trouble with gardening’s gatekeepers. To date, perhaps the most surprising instance was the really quite lively backlash that occurred when I called gardening “exciting” in an industry talk. According to a flurry of blogposts and social media messages, this was a terrible, even irresponsible, word choice. Gardening apparently is not “exciting”, rather merely “engaging” or “absorbing”. This suggests that, for large parts of the gardening old-guard, there is not only one correct way to garden, but also only one emotion to feel when you are doing it.

To my mind, if you do not feel excited when gardening there are only two possibilities: you either simply see it as outdoor tidying up instead of the wonder of creating artworks from living nature; or you are incapable of feeling excitement, even as the miracle of life is unfolding in front of you.

When I sowed my first packet of seeds, given to me by Santa at a Christmas party when I was six, I vividly remember being absolutely astounded by the pure magic of dry, brown grains exploding into growth within only a couple of days in the tropical heat of Singapore. I am not ashamed to say that, more than 30 years later, I get the same sense of wonder, no matter how many times I do it.

At a time when we are all stuck indoors, we could do with some of that wonder. So, here are some of my favourite seeds to sow, no matter who you are or where you live, to add light, colour, flavour and, yes, excitement, to the dark days of winter.

One of the most rewarding types of plants to grow are micro-greens. Essentially, these are the tiny seedlings of any plant with edible leaves, which can be harvested and eaten at the sprouted stage – basically posh cress. They are a nifty way to get a harvest in as little as five days, turning leftovers from last year’s seed packets into the kind of thing you’d see gracing the plates of fancy restaurants. In addition to the familiarly fiery mustard and cress, radish seeds almost always make great candidates for this treatment, including purple-leaved varieties that give you dazzling burgundy crops of peppery leaves.

For those who like milder flavours, peas and chickpeas provide fresh, sweet leaves, often started from seeds fished from dry supermarket packets. Any herb will work, too – lemon balm, dill, fennel, mint, coriander and parsley all make great sprouts. And for grass-like blades of warm pungency, anything from the onion family is also a good bet, from chives to onions and leeks.

Finally, if you are after something more quirky, try sowing stevia, a herb which contains compounds that taste more than 300 times sweeter than sugar; the little leaves that grow taste as if they have been sprinkled in the sweet stuff.

Growing herbs and baby leaves is a straightforward, low-cost way to marvel at the miracle of creation, that can be enjoyed by anyone with a windowsill – and they have incredible flavour, too.

Follow James on Twitter @Botanygeek



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