A chattel is a legal term that defines an article which is a tangible moveable property. A tangible object is one that you can touch. The asset has to be a physical asset such as household furniture, paintings, antiques, items of crockery and china, plate and silverware, motor cars, lorries, motorcycles and items of plant and machinery not permanently fixed to a building.

There is no specific meaning for the term 'moveable' in the relevant legislation. However, HMRC’s guidance states that the definition is simply based on whether the asset can be moved easily and without damaging its surroundings. Small items of plant or other easily moved items will satisfy the test.

A charge to Capital Gains Tax usually arises after an asset is sold. However, there are special rules concerning the sale of chattels. That is because chattels with a predictable useful life of 50 years or less are normally exempt from Capital Gains Tax.