New Residency Rules for British Expats come into Force on April 6th 2013

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Pryce Warner International Group have over 40 years experience helping expats manage their tax and residency status, and advise that expats have until April 6th to ensure their residency arrangements are in-line with new regulations.

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Expats need to review their assets and the amount of time they spend in the UK to make sure that they do not unexpectedly receive a bill from HMRC.

Pryce Warner International Group – According to the Australian Times, the 4.7 million British expats are facing a radical change in the way their residency is determined, and will need to clarify their exact residency status before the 6th of April 2013.

Any expats that divide their time between the UK and abroad or who travel frequently for business will need to be especially prudent.

This is because a new Statutory Residence Test (SRT) that determines whether or not someone is considered UK resident for tax purposes will come into force on April 6th. Expats have until that time to ensure that they will not be affected by any rule changes.

Currently, anyone that spends over 183 days or more in any one tax year, or more than 90 days on average per tax year over four years, will be considered UK resident by for tax purposes.

According to HMRC, the SRT is divided into three parts. First is a test to determine whether or not someone is ‘automatically non-resident’, then a test to decide If they are ‘automatically resident’, and If they do not fall into either of these categories, a sufficient ties test will be carried out.

The sufficient ties test determines resident based on a combination of the time spent in the UK with the number of ties a person has. Ties to the UK would include family, property, employment and social connections.

Expats would be considered ‘automatically non-resident’ if; you work full-time overseas or you spend less than 46 days in the UK. This is reduced to 16 days if you lived in the UK for one or more of the three years preceding the test.

Expats would be considered ‘atomically resident’ if; they spend 183 days or more in the UK, have a home in the UK for over 90 days (with exceptions) or work full-time in the UK.

Expats that consider themselves ‘non-resident’ may be considered ‘resident’ once the new regulations come into force.

In an example published by the Australian Times, Seychelles-based British businessman, Robert Gaines-Cooper, had claimed that he did not need to pay UK taxes as he complied with the ‘day count test’. However, he had his appeal rejected by the Supreme Court and judges ruled he had not made a “clean break” from the UK, citing a property in Henley-on-Thames and trips to Ascot, amongst other factors.

David Retikin, Director of Operations at Pryce Warner International Group, commented: “Many expats may now find themselves considered resident in the UK due to the way that their residency will be determined. Because the new SRT looks much more closely at specific ties individuals have as well as how long they spend in the UK, expats will need to review their assets and the amount of time they spend in the UK to make sure that they do not unexpectedly receive a bill from HMRC. Whilst the general residency criteria may seem simple, there are umpteen exceptions and exemptions so expats will need to discuss their residency with advisors that have finely poured over the new regulations.”

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Aneil Fatania
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