HM Insights

Leniency on UK residence rules for stranded taxpayers

In our previous article, 'Stranded British ex pats – resident or not?' we advised that HMRC issued guidance on its interpretation of the exception to the  Statutory residence test as a result of the global pandemic, where people are forced to spend more time in or away from the UK than expected.

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As travel restrictions to and from the UK continue to apply, many taxpayers and their employers continue to raise concerns about the impact of additional unplanned days spent in the UK on their employees UK residence status, and it's knock on effect of how they are taxed in the UK.

The exception to the residence rule as previously laid out is limited to 60 days.  Given that we have been unable to travel for nearly a year the current extension seems pretty limited.  In addition the exceptional circumstances exemption above does not extend to all parts of the statutory residence test where day counting is irrelevant and HMRC invokes a 'work tie' criterion instead.  

Without a further adjustment to this legislation, those stranded in the UK who are required by their employer to work remotely, and as such have a work tie, will find that the number of days that they can spend in the UK before becoming UK-resident has significantly reduced.

Further clarity from HMRC has been sought by several of the professional bodies to allow a resolution for such cases and a response is awaited.

The UKs tax residence rules are complex and anyone trying to assess their residence status should seek professional advice. 

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