With regards to sole trading losses being offset against Capital Gains: as far as I am aware, such losses can only be offset against capital gains in the same year; meaning that trading losses cannot be carried forward and offset against capital gains in any following year.
I have a client (a farmer) who is likely to make a trading loss of around £35,000 in the year to 5 April 2011. Similar losses are anticpated in the year to 5 April 2012. The sole trading activity is then likely to return to a profit in the year to 5 April 2013. The client is currently negotiating the sale of some agricultural land; being 1 of 3 seperate but ajoining fields. The sale is likely to result in a capital gain of around £80,000. The vendor is likely to pay for the field over two years; simply because he can't afford to pay for it in one go. Because of this, the client assumes the title deeds would either: not register the new owner until full payment had been received, or would register part of the field as and when it's paid for. I don't really know how this would work. Incidentally, the Land Registry title treats all 3 fields as one plot, but specifies its division into 3 fields, each seperated by hedge rows.
On the basis of the above: could payment be split over 2 years; meaning half of the field is sold in 2010/11, generating a gain of only £40,000.00, with the remainder applicable to 2011/12, generating a further £40,000?