Taxation of the Family

Posted by Kath Docherty on October 16, 2017  /   Posted in Newsletters

Individuals are subject to a system of independent taxation so husbands and wives are taxed separately. This can give rise to valuable tax planning opportunities. Furthermore, the tax position of any children is important.

Marriage breakdowns can also have a considerable impact for tax purposes.

We highlight below the main areas of importance where advance planning can help to minimise overall tax liabilities.

It is important that professional advice is sought on specific issues relevant to your personal circumstances.

Setting the scene

Married couples

Independent taxation means that husbands and wives are taxed separately on their income and capital gains. The effect is that both have their own allowances, savings and basic rate tax bands for income tax, annual exemption for capital gains tax purposes and are responsible for their own tax affairs. The same tax treatment applies to same-sex couples who have entered into a civil partnership under the Civil Partnership Act.

Children

A child is an independent person for tax purposes and is therefore entitled to a personal allowance and the savings and basic rate tax band before being taxed at the higher rate. It may be possible to save tax by generating income or capital gains in the children’s hands.

Marriage breakdown

Separation and divorce can have significant tax implications. In particular, the following areas warrant careful consideration:

  • available tax allowances
  • transfers of assets between spouses.

Tax planning for married couples

Income tax allowances and tax bands

Everyone is entitled to a basic personal allowance. This allowance cannot however be transferred between spouses except for the circumstances outlined below.

Transferable Tax Allowance or Marriage Allowance

From 6 April 2015 married couples and civil partners may be eligible for a new Transferable Tax Allowance.

The Transferable Tax Allowance (also referred to as the Marriage Allowance) will enable spouses and civil partners to transfer a fixed amount of their personal allowance to their spouse. The option to transfer is not available to unmarried couples.

The option to transfer is available to couples where neither pays tax at the higher or additional rate. If eligible, one partner is able to transfer 10% of their personal allowance to the other partner, which is £1,150 for 2017/18 (£1,100 for the 2016/17 tax year).

Couples will be entitled to the full benefit in their first year of marriage.

For those couples where one person does not use all of their personal allowance the benefit will be worth up to £230 in 2017/18 (£220 in 2016/17).

Eligible couples can apply for the marriage allowance at www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance. The spouse or partner with the lower income applies to transfer some of their personal allowance by entering some basic details.

Those who do not apply via the government gateway will be able to make an application at a later date and still receive the allowance.

If either you or your spouse were born before 6 April 1935, then a married couple’s allowance is available. This is given to the husband, although it is possible, by election, to transfer it to the wife.

Joint ownership of assets

In general, married couples should try to arrange their ownership of income producing assets so as to ensure that personal allowances are fully utilised and any higher rate liabilities minimised.

Generally, when husband and wife jointly own assets, any income arising is assumed to be shared equally for tax purposes. This applies even where the asset is owned in unequal shares unless an election is made to split the income in proportion to the ownership of the asset.

Married couples are taxed on dividends from jointly owned shares in ‘close’ companies according to their actual ownership of the shares. Close companies are broadly those owned by the directors or five or fewer people. For example if a spouse is entitled to 95% of the income from jointly owned shares they will pay tax on 95% of the dividends from those shares. This measure is designed to close a perceived loophole in the rules and does not apply to income from any other jointly owned assets.

We can advise on the most appropriate strategy for jointly owned assets so that tax liabilities are minimised.

Capital gains tax (CGT)

Each spouse’s CGT liability is computed by reference to their own disposals of assets and each is entitled to their own annual exemption of £11,300 for 2017/18 per annum.

Some limited tax savings may be made by ensuring that maximum advantage is taken of any available capital losses and annual exemptions.

This can often be achieved by transferring assets between spouses before sale – a course of action generally having no adverse CGT or inheritance tax (IHT) implications. Advance planning is vital, and the possible income tax effects of transferring assets should not be overlooked.

Further details of how CGT operates are outlined in the factsheet Capital Gains Tax.

Inheritance tax (IHT)

When a person dies IHT becomes due on their estate. Some lifetime gifts are treated as chargeable transfers but most are ignored providing the donor survives for seven years after the gift.

The rate of IHT payable is 40% on death and 20% on lifetime chargeable transfers. The first £325,000 is not chargeable and this is known as the nil rate band.

Transfers of property between spouses are generally exempt from IHT. Rules were introduced which allow any nil rate band unused on the first death to be used when the surviving spouse dies. The transfer of the unused nil rate band from a deceased spouse, irrelevant of the date of death, may be made to the estate of their surviving spouse who dies on or after 9 October 2007.

The amount of the nil rate band available for transfer will be based on the proportion of the nil rate band which was unused when the first spouse died. Key documentary evidence will be required for a claim, so do get in touch to discuss the information needed.

IHT residence nil rate band

An additional nil rate band is being introduced for deaths on or after 6 April 2017 where an interest in a main residence passes to direct descendants. The amount of relief is being phased in over four years; starting at £100,000 in the first year and rising to £175,000 for 2020/21. For many married couples and civil partners the relief is effectively doubled as each individual has a main nil rate band and each will potentially benefit from the residence nil rate band.

The additional band can only be used in respect of one residential property which does not have to be the main family home but must at some point have been a residence of the deceased. Restrictions apply where estates are in excess of £2 million.

Where a person dies before 6 April 2017, their estate will not qualify for the relief. A surviving spouse may be entitled to an increase in the residence nil rate band if the spouse who died earlier has not used, or was not entitled to use, their full residence nil rate band. The calculations involved are potentially complex but the increase will often result in a doubling of the residence nil rate band for the surviving spouse.

The residence nil rate band may also be available when a person downsizes or ceases to own a home on or after 8 July 2015 where assets of an equivalent value, up to the value of the residence nil rate band, are passed on death to direct descendants.

From April 2017 we have three nil rate bands to consider. The standard nil rate band has been a part of the legislation from the start of IHT in 1986. In 2007 the ability to utilise the unused nil rate band of a deceased spouse was introduced, enabling many surviving spouses to have a nil rate band of up to £650,000. By 6 April 2020 some surviving spouses will be able to add £350,000 in respect of the residence nil rate band to arrive at a total nil rate band of £1 million. However this will only be achieved by careful planning and, in some cases, it may be better for the first deceased spouse to have given some assets to the next generation and use up some or all of the available nil rate bands.

For many individuals, the residence nil rate band will be important but individuals will need to revisit their wills to ensure that the relief will be available and efficiently utilised.

Gifts

A gift for family maintenance does not give rise to an IHT charge. This would include the transfer of property made on divorce under a court order, gifts for the education of children or maintenance of a dependent relative.

Gifts in consideration of marriage are exempt up to £5,000 if made by a parent with lower limits for other donors.

Small gifts to individuals not exceeding £250 in total per tax year per recipient are exempt. The exemption cannot be used to cover part of a larger gift.

Gifts which are made out of income which are typical and habitual and do not result in a fall in the standard of living of the donor are exempt. Payments under deed of covenant and the payment of annual premiums on life insurance policies would usually fall within this exemption.

Children

Use of allowances and lower rate tax bands

It may be possible for tax savings to be achieved by the transfer of income producing assets to a child so as to take advantage of the child’s personal allowance.

This cannot be done by the parent if the annual income arising is above £100. The income will still be taxed on the parent. However, transfers of income producing assets by others (eg grandparents) will be effective.

A parent can however allow a child to use any entitlement to the CGT annual exemption by using a ‘bare trust’.

Child Tax Credit

A Child Tax Credit (CTC) is available to some families. To see whether you are entitled to claim visit www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit.

Junior Individual Savings Accounts (Junior ISA)

The Junior ISA is available for UK resident children under the age of 18 who do not have a Child Trust Fund account. Junior ISAs are tax advantaged and have many features in common with existing ISAs. They are available as cash or stocks and share-based products.

High Income Child Benefit Charge

A charge applies to a taxpayer who has adjusted net income over £50,000 in a tax year where either they or their partner are in receipt of Child Benefit for the year. Where both partners have adjusted net income in excess of £50,000 the charge will apply to the partner with the higher income.

The income tax charge will apply at a rate of 1% of the full Child Benefit award for each £100 of income between £50,000 and £60,000. The charge on taxpayers with income above £60,000 will be equal to the amount of Child Benefit paid.

Child Benefit claimants can elect not to receive Child Benefit if they or their partner do not wish to pay the charge.

Example

The Child Benefit for two children amounts to £1,788.

The taxpayer’s adjusted net income is £54,000.

The income tax charge will be £715.

This is calculated as £17.88 for every £100 above £50,000.

For a taxpayer with adjusted net income of £60,000 or above the income tax charge will equal the Child Benefit.

Marriage breakdown

Maintenance payments

An important element in tax planning on marriage breakdown used to involve arrangements for the payment of maintenance. Generally no tax relief is due on maintenance payments.

Asset transfers

Marriage breakdown often involves the transfer of assets between husbands and wives. Unless the timing of any such transfers is carefully planned there can be adverse CGT consequences.

If an asset is transferred between a husband and wife who are living together, the asset is deemed to be transferred at a price that does not give rise to a gain or a loss. This treatment continues up to the end of the tax year in which the separation takes place.

CGT can therefore present a problem where transfers take place after the end of the tax year of separation but before divorce, although gifts holdover relief is usually available on transfers of qualifying assets under a Court Order.

IHT on the other hand will not cause a problem if transfers take place before the granting of a decree absolute on divorce. Transfers after this date may still not be a problem as often there is no gratuitous intent.

How we can help

Some general points can be made when planning for efficient taxation of the family.

Any plan must take into account specific circumstances and it is important that any proposed course of action gives consideration to all areas of tax that may be affected by the proposals.

Tax savings can only be achieved if an appropriate course of action is planned in advance. It is therefore vital that professional advice is sought at an early stage. We would welcome the chance to tailor a plan to your own personal circumstances so please do contact us.

VAT – Seven Key Points for the Smaller Business

Posted by Kath Docherty on October 16, 2017  /   Posted in Newsletters

This factsheet focuses on VAT matters of relevance to the smaller business. A primary aim is to highlight common risk areas as a better understanding can contribute to a reduction of errors and help to minimise penalties. Another key ingredient in achieving that aim is good record keeping, otherwise there is an increased risk that the VAT return could be prepared on the basis of incomplete or incorrect information.

This aspect is not considered further here but useful guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website keeping-records-for-business-what-you-need-to-know.

Input VAT matters

Only registered traders can reclaim VAT on purchases providing:

  • the expense is incurred for business purposes and
  • there is a valid VAT invoice for the purchase.

Only VAT registered businesses can issue valid VAT invoices. VAT cannot be reclaimed on any goods or services purchased from a business that is not VAT registered. Proforma invoices should not be used as a basis for input tax recovery as this can accidentally lead to a duplicate VAT recovery claim.

Most types of supply on which VAT recovery is sought must be supported by a valid VAT invoice. This generally needs to be addressed to the trader claiming the input tax. A very limited list of supplies do not require a VAT invoice to be held to support a claim, providing the total expenditure for each taxable supply is £25 or less (VAT inclusive). The most practical examples of these are car park charges and certain toll charges.

The following common items however never attract input VAT and so no VAT is reclaimable – stamps, train, air and bus tickets, on street car parking meters and office grocery purchases like tea, coffee and milk!

Business purpose

This is often an area of contention between taxpayers and HMRC as VAT is not automatically recoverable simply because it has been incurred by a VAT registered person.

In assessing whether the use to which goods or services are put amounts to business use (for the purpose of establishing the right to deduct input tax), consideration must be given as to whether the expenditure relates directly to the function and operation of the business or merely provides an incidental benefit to it.

Private and non-business use

In many businesses, personal and business finances can be closely linked and input tax may be claimed incorrectly on expenditure which is partly or wholly for private or non-business purposes.

Typical examples of where claims are likely to be made but which do not satisfy the ‘purpose of the business’ test include:

  • expenditure related to domestic accommodation
  • pursuit of personal interests such as sporting and leisure orientated activities
  • expenditure for the personal benefit of company directors/proprietors and
  • expenditure in connection with non-business activities.

Where expenditure has a mixed business and private purpose, the related VAT should generally be apportioned and only the business element claimed. Special rules apply to recover input tax claimed on assets and stock (commonly referred to in VAT as goods) when goods initially intended for business use are then put to an alternative use.

Example

Three laptops are initially bought for the business and input VAT of £360 in total is reclaimed.

One is then gifted by the business owner to his son so VAT will have to be accounted for to HMRC of £120 (1/3 x £360)

Business entertainment

VAT is not reclaimable on many forms of business entertainment but VAT on employee entertainment is recoverable. The definition of business entertainment is broadly interpreted to mean hospitality of any kind which therefore includes the following example situations:

  • travel expenses incurred by non employees but reimbursed by the business, such as self employed workers and consultants
  • hospitality elements of trade shows and public relations events.

Business gifts

A VAT supply takes place whenever goods change hands, so in theory any goods given away result in an amount of VAT due. The rule on business gifts is that no output tax will be due, provided that the VAT exclusive cost of the gifts made does not exceed £50 within any 12 month period to the same person.

Where the limit is exceeded, output tax is due on the full amount. If a trader is giving away bought-in goods, HMRC will usually accept that he can disallow the tax when he buys the goods, which may be more convenient than having to pay output tax every time he gives one away.

Routine commercial transactions which might be affected include such things as:

  • long service awards
  • Christmas gifts
  • prizes or incentives for sales staff.

Cars and motoring expenses

Input tax errors often occur in relation to the purchase or lease of cars and to motoring expenses in general. Some key issues are:

  • Input VAT is generally not recoverable on the purchase of a motor car because it is not usually exclusively for business use. This prohibition does not apply to commercial vehicles and vans, provided there is some business use.
  • Where a car is leased rather than purchased, 50% of the VAT on the leasing charge is not claimed for the same reason.
  • Where a business supplies fuel or mileage allowances for cars, adjustments need to be made to ensure that only the business element of VAT is recovered. There are a number of different methods which can be used, so do get in touch if this is relevant to you.

Output VAT issues

Bad debts

Selling on credit in the current economic climate may carry increased risk. Even where credit control procedures are strong there will inevitably be bad debts. As a supplier, output VAT must normally be accounted for when the sale is initially made, even if the debt is never paid, so there is a risk of being doubly out of pocket.

VAT regulations do not permit the issue of a credit note to cancel output tax simply because the customer will not pay! Instead, where a customer does not pay, a claim to recover the VAT on the sale as bad debt relief can be made six months after the due date for payment of the invoice.

Example

A trader supplies and invoices goods on 19 October 2016 for payment by 18 November 2016 (ie a normal 30 day credit period). The earliest opportunity for relief if the debt is not settled would be 18 May 2017. The relief would be included in the return into which this date fell, depending on the return cycle of the business.

The amount of the claim

The taxpayer can only claim relief for the output tax originally charged and paid over to HMRC, no matter whether the rate of VAT has subsequently changed. The claim is entered as additional input VAT – treating the uncollected VAT as an additional business expense – rather than by reducing output VAT on sales.

The customer

A customer is automatically required to repay any input VAT claimed on a debt remaining unpaid six months after the date of the supply (or the date on which payment is due if later). Mistakes in this area are so common that visiting HMRC officers have developed a programme enabling them to review Sage accounting packages and to list purchase ledger balances over 6 months old for disallowance.

Preventing the problem?

Small businesses may be able to register under the Cash Accounting Scheme, which means you will only have to account for VAT when payment is actually received.

How we can help

Please contact us if you require any further guidance on VAT issues for your business.

Travel and Subsistence for Directors and Employees

Posted by Kath Docherty on October 16, 2017  /   Posted in Newsletters

Travelling and subsistence expenditure incurred by or on behalf of employees gives rise to many problems.

We highlight below the main areas to consider in deciding whether tax relief is available on travel and subsistence.

Employees with a Permanent Workplace

Many employees have a place of work which they regularly attend and make occasional trips out of the normal workplace to a temporary workplace. Often an employee will travel directly from home to a temporary workplace and vice versa.

An employee can claim full tax relief on business journeys made.

Business journey

A business journey is one which either involves travel:

  • from one place of work to another or
  • from home to a temporary workplace or
  • to home from a temporary workplace.

Journeys between an employee’s home and a place of work which he or she regularly attends are not business journeys. These journeys are ‘ordinary commuting’ and the costs of these have to be borne by the employee. The term ‘permanent workplace’ is defined as a place which the employee ‘regularly’ attends. It is used in order to fix one end of the journey for ordinary commuting. Home is the normal other end of the journey for ordinary commuting.

Example 1

An employee usually commutes by car between home in York and a normal place of work in Leeds. This is a daily round trip of 48 miles.

On a particular day, the employee instead drives from home in York to a temporary place of work in Nottingham. A round trip of 174 miles.

The cost here is the cost of the travel undertaken (174 miles). A deduction would be available for that amount.

Example 2

An employee who normally drives 40 miles in a northerly direction to work is required to make a 100 mile round trip south to a client’s premises. His employer reimburses him for the cost of the 100 miles trip.

A deduction would be available for that amount.

Subsistence payments

Subsistence includes accommodation and food and drink costs whilst an employee is away from the permanent workplace. Subsistence expenditure is specifically treated as a product of business travel and is therefore treated as part of the cost of that travel.

Anti-avoidance

Some travel between a temporary workplace and home may not qualify for relief if the trip made is ‘substantially similar’ to the trip made to or from the permanent workplace.

‘Substantially similar’ is interpreted by HMRC as a trip using the same roads or the same train or bus for most of the journey.

Temporary postings

Where an employee is sent away from his permanent workplace for many months, the new workplace will still be regarded as a temporary workplace if the posting is either:

  • expected to be for less than 24 months, or
  • if it is expected to be for more than 24 months, the employee is expected to spend less than 40% of his working time at the new workplace.

The employee must still retain his permanent workplace.

Example 3

Edward works in New Brighton. His employer sends him to Wrexham for 1.5 days a week for 28 months.

Edward will be entitled to relief. Any posting over 24 months will still qualify provided that the 40% rule is not breached.

Site-based Employees

Some employees do not have a normal place of work but work at a succession of places for several days, weeks or months. Examples of site-based employees include construction workers, safety inspectors, computer consultants and relief workers.

A site-based employee’s travel and subsistence can be reimbursed tax free if the period spent at the site is expected to be, and actually is, less than two years.

There are anti-avoidance provisions to ensure that the employment is genuinely site-based if relief is to be given. For example, temporary appointments may be excluded from relief where duties are performed at that workplace for all or almost all of that period of employment. This is aimed particularly at preventing manipulation of the 24 month limit through recurring temporary appointments.

Other Employees with no Permanent Workplace

Travelling appointments

For some employees, travelling is an integral part of their job. For example, a travelling salesman who does not have a base at which he works, or where he is regularly required to report. Travelling and subsistence expenses incurred by such an employee are deductible.

Home based employees

Some employees work at home occasionally, or even regularly. This does not necessarily mean that their home can be regarded as a place of work. There must be an objective requirement for the work to be performed at home rather than elsewhere.

This may mean that another place becomes the permanent workplace for example, an office where the employee ‘regularly reports’. Therefore any commuting cost between home and the office would not be an allowable expense. But trips between home and temporary workplaces will be allowed.

If there is no permanent workplace then the employee is treated as a site-based employee. Thus all costs would be allowed including the occasional trip to the employer’s office.

The home may still be treated as a workplace under the objective test above. If so, trips between home and any other workplace in respect of the same employment will be allowable.

How we can help

Full tax relief can be given for travel and subsistence costs but there are borderline situations.

We can help you to decide whether an employee can be paid expense payments which are covered by tax relief and do not result in a taxable benefit.

Please note that if you do make payments for which tax relief is not available, there may be PAYE compliance problems if the payments are made free of tax.

Please contact us if you require advice whether payments can be made to employees tax free.

Statutory Residence Test

Posted by Kath Docherty on October 16, 2017  /   Posted in Newsletters

The concept of residence in the United Kingdom is fundamental to the determination of UK tax liability for any individual. The Statutory Residence Test (SRT) provides, through a series of tests, a definitive process to determine the UK residence status of any individual. That status applies for income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax purposes.

Once that status has been established then other rules determine the extent of an individual’s liability to UK taxes. These other rules may include not just UK statute but also double tax treaties with other countries. These rules are not covered in this factsheet.

Counting days

The SRT relies heavily on the concept of counting ‘days of presence’ in the UK in the relevant tax year and so it is important to understand what this term means. The basic rule is a day of presence is one where the individual was in the country at midnight. There are two exceptions to this:

  • the individual only arrives as a passenger on that day and leaves the UK the next day and in between does not engage in activities that are to a substantial extent unrelated to their passage through the UK and
  • the individual would not be present in the UK at the end of the day but for exceptional circumstances beyond their control which prevent them from leaving and they would intend to leave as soon as those circumstances permit.

A further rule applies where an individual has been resident in the UK in at least one of the three previous tax years and has at least three ‘ties’ with the UK. It will then be necessary to add to the total of ‘midnight days’ the excess over 30 of any other days where the individual spent any time at all in the UK.

Three tests

The SRT is based on a series of three tests which must be considered in a particular order in every case. The tests are applied to the facts in the ‘relevant tax year’ i.e. the year for which residence status is being determined:

  • first consider the Automatic Overseas Test (AOT). If this test is satisfied the individual will be not resident in the UK in the relevant tax year and no further tests are required. If the AOT is not satisfied then move on to
  • the Automatic Residence Test (ART). If this test is satisfied the individual will be resident in the UK in the relevant tax year and no further tests are required. If the test is not satisfied move on to
  • the Sufficient Ties Test (STT). If this test is satisfied the individual will be resident in the UK and if it is not satisfied they will be not resident.

The detailed conditions relating to each test are discussed below. There are further tests which only apply if the individual has died in the year but these are not dealt with here.

The Automatic Overseas Test (AOT)

There are three possible tests in the AOT and if an individual satisfies any one of these they will be not resident in the UK in the relevant tax year. The conditions are that the individual:

  • was resident in the UK in one or more of the previous three tax years and they are present in the UK for fewer than 16 days in the relevant tax year
  • was not resident in the UK in all of the previous three tax years and they are present in the UK for fewer than 46 days in the relevant tax year
  • works full time abroad for at least a complete tax year and they are present in the UK for fewer than 91 days in the relevant tax year and no more than 30 days are spent working (currently defined as more than 3 hours) in the UK in the tax year.

The first two tests are simply based on a day count and ignore the existence of other factors such as other links with the UK like the availability of accommodation in the UK.

There are conditions for the third test which need to be considered by those planning to go abroad to work either as an employee or on a self-employed basis. Obviously the days of presence and the working days must be considered carefully. In addition it should be noted that:

  • full time work is defined as an average of 35 hours a week over the whole period of absence. Account can be taken of a range of factors such as holidays and sick leave to effectively improve the average
  • working days in the UK do not have to be the same as the days of presence so a day where there is UK work and the individual leaves the UK before the end of the day may well count as a working day

HMRC will expect evidence to be provided if it is claimed that the time limit for a working day has not been exceeded.

The way in which the subsequent tests are structured mean that it is really important that a working expatriate can pass the AOT and be treated as not resident otherwise they are likely to find a real problem under the later tests.

The Automatic Residence Test (ART)

If the AOT is not met then the individual must next consider the conditions of the ART. This test will be satisfied if any of the following apply to the individual for the relevant tax year:

  • they are present in the UK for 183 days or more in a tax year
  • they have a home in the UK and they are present in that home on at least 30 separate days in the relevant year. There must be a period of at least 91 consecutive days during which the home is available and at least 30 of those days must fall within the relevant tax year
  • they carry out full time work in the UK for a period of 365 days during which at least 75% of their time is spent in the UK.

The ‘home’ test may be of real significance because, if that test applies, the number of days in the UK is irrelevant. The legislation makes clear that a home can be a building or part of a building and can include a vessel or vehicle. It must have a degree of permanence or stability to count as a home but specific circumstances may have to be considered. If the individual also has a home abroad, the second test above will not apply if the person spends more than 30 days at the home abroad in the tax year.

The Sufficient Ties Test

If no conclusive answer to residence status has arisen under the first two tests, the individual must then look at how the STT applies to them for the relevant tax year. The test will be satisfied if the individual has sufficient UK ties for that year. This will depend on two basic conditions:

  • whether the individual was resident in the UK for any of the previous three tax years and
  • the number of days the individual spends in the UK in the relevant tax year.

The STT reflects the principle that the more time someone spends in the UK, the fewer connections they can have with the UK if they want to be not resident. It also incorporates the principle that residence status should adhere more to those who are already resident than to those who are not currently resident.

Under the STT an individual compares the number of days of presence in the UK against five connection factors. Individuals who know how many days they spend in the UK and how many relevant connection factors they have can then assess whether they are resident.

The five ties are summarily set out as:

  • a family tie – this will apply if either a spouse or minor child is resident in the UK in the relevant tax year
  • an accommodation tie – where there is accommodation which is available for at least 91 days in the tax year and is actually used at least once
  • a work tie – where there are at least 40 working days of three hours or more in the UK in the relevant tax year
  • a 90-day tie – more than 90 days were spent in the UK in either or both of the two immediately preceding UK tax years and
  • a country tie – more time is spent in the UK than in any other single country in the relevant tax year.

An individual who has been resident in the UK in any of the three preceding tax years must consider all five ties and they will be resident if any of the following apply:

Days in UK

Number of ties sufficient to establish residence

16 – 45

at least 4

46 – 90

at least 3

91 – 120

at least 2

121 – 182

at least 1

An individual who has not been resident in any of the three preceding years must consider all the ties apart from the country tie and they will be resident in any of the following situations:

Days in UK

Number of ties sufficient to establish residence

46 – 90

all 4

91 – 120

at least 3

121 – 182

at least 2

Special rules for international transport workers

The SRT rules are adapted where an individual is an ‘international transport worker’ This is defined as someone who:

  • holds an employment, the duties of which consist of duties to be performed on board a vehicle, aircraft or ship, while it is travelling or
  • carries on a trade, the activities of which consist of the provision of services on board a vehicle, aircraft or ship as it is travelling.

In either case substantially all the journeys must be across international boundaries. The individual has to be present on board the respective carrier as it makes international journeys in order to provide those services.

An individual who has some duties on purely domestic journeys will still be regarded as within the definition if the international duties are substantial (probably at least 80%).

Where an individual falls within this group the implications for the SRT are (broadly) that the individual:

  • cannot be non-UK resident on the grounds of working full time overseas
  • cannot be UK resident on the grounds of working full time in the UK and
  • in considering the work day tie for the STT an international transport worker is regarded as doing more than three hours work where any journey that day commences in the UK and fewer than three hours on any other day.

Split year rules

The basic rule will be that if an individual satisfies the conditions of the SRT to be treated as resident for a part of the UK tax year then they are resident for the whole of that year. Special rules will apply in certain circumstances to allow a year of arrival or departure to be split into resident and not resident parts as appropriate. We shall be pleased to discuss whether your plans or circumstances will be eligible for such treatment.

Anti-avoidance rules

The government wants to ensure that individuals are not able to exploit the rules to become not resident for a short period during which they receive certain types of income or make capital gains. Basically an individual with a history of at least four out of the previous seven years as a sole UK resident will need to maintain not resident status for at least five UK tax years otherwise certain income and all capital gains made in the period of absence will become taxable in the UK in the next year in which they are resident.

How we can help

A change of tax residence is always a major decision and detailed advice is necessary. Please do contact us for any advice you may need.