HM Insights

Are expats currently stranded in the UK resident or not?

In the last few days HMRC have revealed that any British expatriates stuck in the UK because of the coronavirus crisis and worried they might be caught out by the stringent UK tax residency rules can breathe a sigh of relief.

In an unprecedented rapid response from HM Revenue & Customs they have stated that:  "It would treat as exceptional circumstances the cases of people quarantined in the UK or asked by a health professional or public health guidance to self-isolate in the UK; those advised by official government advice not to travel out of the UK; those unable to leave because of border closures; and those asked by an employer to return temporarily to the UK because of the virus."


UK residence status

Your UK residence status affects whether you are required to pay tax in the UK on your foreign income.

Non-residents only pay tax on their UK income – they do not pay UK tax on their foreign income. It is therefore important to establish whether you are resident or non-resident in the UK for a tax year.

From April 2013, the statutory residence test (SRT) has been used to determine an individual's residence status for tax purposes.

The SRT determines an individual's residence in the UK in any given tax year, which accordingly facilitates the correct application of both the income and capital gains taxes to their personal circumstances. There are two elements to this test namely the automatic residence test and the overseas residence test, which dictate that a person is:

  • Automatically UK resident if they spent 183 days or more in the UK in a tax year; OR
  • Their only home was in the UK – you must have owned, rented or lived in it for at least 91 days in total – and you spent at least 30 days there during the tax year.

It also states that a person would be automatically non-UK resident if they:

  • Spent fewer than 16 days in the UK (or 46 days if you have been classed as UK resident for the previous three tax years); OR
  • The person works abroad full-time and spent fewer than 91 days in the UK, and no more than 30 of them were spent working.

Get in touch

The UKs tax residence rules are complex and anyone trying to assess their residence status should seek professional advice – please get in touch if you require further assistance.


Useful links