Selling a business after incorporation
The benefits of incorporating a sole trader or partnership business are well known; eg goodwill, amortisation, entrepreneurs relief, loan accounts, etc. However, what happens if the business is then sold to a third party a couple of years down the line for a price similar to the value agreed with HMRC on incorporation?
If the owners sell the shares then obviously the base cost would be the value at which they were subscribed (usually £1 each) and they would claim ER on the whole proceeds effectively. But if the third party purchased the underlying business from the company rather than the shares, obviously the company would have a chargeable gain.
Could the company claim the value agreed with HMRC on incorporation as its base cost and only pay tax on the increase in value since then, or would it have to pay tax on the disposal proceeds?
Common sense says that the base value must be the amount "paid" by the company otherwise most of the gain would be taxed twice, once on the original owners and then on the company. But what happens if the company has claimed amortisation of the goodwill element againmst its trading profits? It seems to me that the goodwill would then be claimed twice, first against trading profits and then against the sale proceeds.
Am I right in thinking that you can only claim the unamortised goodwill in the chargeable gain calculation or is it more complicated than that?
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