Landmark Decision for Private Residence Relief - Robinsons London

Landmark Decision for Private Residence Relief

Landmark Decision for Private Residence Relief

In a significant legal victory for taxpayers, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) ruled in favour of Gerald and Sarah Lee in their dispute with HMRC regarding Private Residence Relief (PRR) for a replacement property. The decision, handed down in the case of Gerald and Sarah Lee v HMRC [2022] TC 8502, has far-reaching implications for homeowners seeking relief on the sale and purchase of residential properties.


Background of the Case

Gerald and Sarah Lee, a married couple, found themselves entangled in a legal battle with HMRC after claiming Private Residence Relief for a replacement property. The Lees had sold their former residence and subsequently purchased a new home, believing they were eligible for the relief as stipulated under the tax law.


The Dispute

The crux of the dispute revolved around the interpretation of the Private Residence Relief rules. HMRC contended that the Lees did not meet the criteria for relief, arguing that the replacement property did not qualify under the relevant provisions of the tax law. This triggered a protracted legal process, culminating in the case being brought before the First Tier Tribunal.


The Tribunal’s Decision

In a landmark ruling, the First Tier Tribunal sided with Gerald and Sarah Lee, allowing their appeal for Private Residence Relief for the replacement property. The tribunal determined that the Lees had met the statutory requirements for relief, thereby upholding their claim.


Implications for Taxpayers

The decision in the Gerald and Sarah Lee case carries significant implications for taxpayers navigating the intricacies of Private Residence Relief. It underscores the importance of a comprehensive understanding of the relevant tax laws and regulations when buying and selling residential properties.

The ruling also serves as a reminder that taxpayers have the right to challenge HMRC’s decisions and seek redress through the legal system when they believe they are entitled to relief under the law.


Key Takeaways from the Case

  • Clear Legal Precedent: The Gerald and Sarah Lee case sets a clear legal precedent for cases involving Private Residence Relief in situations of property replacement.
  • Importance of Expert Advice: The case highlights the importance of seeking expert advice from tax professionals and legal advisors when navigating complex tax matters.
  • Empowering Taxpayers: The decision empowers taxpayers by affirming their right to challenge HMRC’s decisions and seek a fair outcome through the legal process.
  • Clarity in Tax Law Interpretation: The case reinforces the importance of clear and precise interpretation of tax laws to ensure that taxpayers receive the relief they are entitled to under the law.



The Gerald and Sarah Lee v HMRC [2022] TC 8502 case represents a landmark decision in the realm of Private Residence Relief. The ruling serves as a testament to the importance of a thorough understanding of tax laws and regulations when dealing with property transactions. It also underscores the significance of seeking expert advice and advocating for one’s rights within the legal framework. This decision will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on how taxpayers approach matters related to Private Residence Relief and property transactions in the future.


HMRC Statement


Upper Tribunal Tax and Chancery decision of JUDGE SWAMI RAGHAVAN & JUDGE NICHOLAS ALEKSANDER on 29 September 2023

“CAPITAL GAINS TAX – Private Residence Relief – taxpayers bought land demolished existing house and build new dwelling house which they lived in as main residence then sold for gain – meaning of “period of ownership” used in apportionment relief – held – ownership referred to that of new house as opposed to land as HMRC argued – HMRC’s appeal against FTT decision dismissed”