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How much is the Capital Gains Tax on shares?

How much Capital Gains Tax you pay when selling company shares or share options for a profit depends on:

  • how you received them
  • from whom
  • and how big the profit is.

I am selling shares from an ISA

Simple. There is no tax to pay if your annual contributions to your ISA stayed in the £20k limit.

I am selling shares that I bought through a broker or a general investment account (GIA)

In this case the calculation is straightforward as well:

  • Zero Capital Gains Tax if your overall profit was under £12,000
  • 10% if your overall annual income is under £50,000
  • 20% if your overall annual income is over £50,000.

Use our Capital Gains Tax calculator to work out how much you need to pay.

I am selling EIS, SEIS, or VCT shares

  • EIS and SEIS: as long as you held them for the required time, there is zero Capital Gains Tax to pay
  • VCTs: there’s no holding time period to benefit of this zero CGT rule.

Read more in our guide to tax-efficient investments.

I am selling shares that I received from my employer

It all depends on your relationship to your employer:

Type of sharesHow you received themCapital Gains Tax
your company’s common sharesyou owned at least £2,000 worth of shares in your companyyou only pay CGT on gains over £100,000 that you make during your lifetime
your company’s common sharesyou owned at least 5% of the companyyou might qualify for Entrepreneurs’ Relief and pay CGT at a reduced rate of 10%
your company’s common sharesthrough a Share Incentive Plan (SIP)
your or other companies’ publicly listed sharesthrough a Save As You Earn (SAYE) plan
your company’s share optionsthrough a Share Option Plannormal rate (on the difference between the exercise price and what you sold them for)
your company’s share options through an Enterprise Management Incentive Plan (EMI)normal rate (on the difference between the exercise price and what you sold them for)

I am selling shares that I received as a gift

If the person giving you the shares was your spouse, then you don’t need to do anything.

Otherwise you need to calculate and pay CGT.

What if I made a loss?

If you made a capital loss when selling shares, you can:

  • deduct it from any gains you made in the same tax year
  • and “carry forward” any remaining losses to a future tax year.

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