Commercial property owners have a use it or lose tax relief worth billions that will soon disappear.
The key date is April 1, 2014.
For commercial property owners who do not apply to HM Revenue and Customs for unused capital allowances relief by then, a share in an estimated £750 million pay-out is under threat.
Capital allowances can be claimed for a wide range of property improvements – like plant, equipment and machinery.
Claims vary between types of business – for instance enhanced reliefs are available for some industrial or agricultural buildings.
Commercial property capital allowances are a specialist knowledge area, and many property owners and businesses may be unaware they have a claim.
The best way to identify unclaimed capital allowances is to call in a specialist surveyor to prepare a report and cost the relief.
This can be a double-edged sword for properties at the lower end of the value scale, because the cost of the survey cost can come out around the value of the claim.
For many, this could mean the value of the claim is cancelled out by the cost of the survey.
Surveyors warn that capital allowances can only be claimed on the sale or purchase of a commercial building from April 1, 2104, and the slate for unclaimed allowances for existing owners tied up in their properties will be wiped clean.
Mark Tighe, of specialist capital allowance surveyors Catax Solutions, said: “Unless people sit up and take note of the dramatic legislative changes around the corner, Britain’s commercial property owners will be haemorrhaging tax relief in the coming financial year — and every year thereafter.
“If capital allowances aren’t identified and crystallised at the point of sale then they will be lost forever, meaning a loss of thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of pounds to the buyer or seller. And right now, there’s no doubt whatsoever that a very large percentage of transactions will take place next year without this happening: the awareness simply isn’t there.”