When deciding whether a property should be given Principal Private Residence (PPR) status HMRC will look at whether the owner had any intention of living in the property. It is a matter of fact whether a property is the PPR or not but to allow a PPR claim HMRC will require proof that the property has actually been lived in as the PPR.
In Metcalf v HMRC (2010), lack of both oral and other evidence, including lack of consumption of electricity helped the Tribunal find in favour of HMRC.
Proving PPR Status – Metcalfe v HMRC (2010)
Mr Metcalfe owned several properties but claimed one property as his PPR. The property was purchased ‘off plan’ and came with various fixtures and fittings (carpets, fridge, cooker, etc.).
As proof of non-permanence HMRC stated that no telephone had been installed but Mr Metcalfe argued that he always used his mobile; additional proof was required.
HMRC particularly cited the electricity bill showing low usage over the winter period suggesting non-residence. Mr Metcalfe argued that the bill was low because the apartment was new, had full double-glazing and he worked long shifts.
He insisted that he had purchased the property with the intention of living there permanently but his work took him elsewhere. The Tribunal found that Mr Metcalfe had lived there for a time but could find no proof of ‘permanence, continuity and expectation of continuity of occupation’ (following the case of Goodwin v Curtis (1988)) as the evidence was flimsy and more concrete evidence was lacking.
This is a sample tip taken from our 112 page guide:101 Tax Tips For Landlords 2016/17