Irish developers, many of whom are facing insolvency, have been scrambling for advice on the impact of the proposed increase in capital gains tax (CGT) in Britain to 40% from the current level of 18%. Although the increase will not apply to business assets, many of the properties and investments are owned in their own names which could lead to a significant increase in their tax bill.
A number of developers had been relying on sales of UK property, where values have rebounded strongly, to pay down some of their distressed loans in this country. Irish developers and investors are currently in talks to offload at least €1.3bn of commercial property in London, according to figures compiled by the Sunday Tribune.
A number of business plans submitted to Nama may also have to be amended after the CGT move, details of which have yet to be clarified. Sources at the asset management agency confirmed that the increase in CGT may make some of the business plans they have received less viable.
It comes just days after Nama advertised for specialists in "enforcement and insolvency services" as it gears up for a move against insolvent developers in September. It has also sought property management services related to enforcement and insolvency matters. The tender makes specific reference to UK properties. If developers do get their business plans approved by Nama, many believe they will only last until November when they have to pay tax to the Revenue Commissioners. However sources said that Nama will not demand that the developers produce annual tax compliance certs.
It has also emerged that Nama-bound developers who have objected to rival schemes that make commercial sense will be told by Nama to drop their appeals. The asset management agency, meanwhile, has rejected suggestions by senior sources that a significant tranche of loans from Anglo was transferred with a 72% haircut.
"We don't give details on individual elements of tranche transfers but we can say with confidence those figures do not reflect the breakdown," a spokesman said.