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7. Coming to the UK
If you come to live here permanently or to work here for an extended period, or with no particular end date, you will become resident in the UK. But not everyone who comes to the UK becomes resident here. For example, those who are in the UK on holiday or for a short period of work will generally not become resident in the UK.
In most cases it will be clear whether you become resident or not, but sometimes it needs careful thought about a number of factors. These include:
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- whether you have been resident in the UK before
- how many days you spend here
- the pattern of your presence in the UK or absence from it over a period of years
- whether your purpose for being in the UK is settled or temporary
- your family, social and work ties to the UK
- your accommodation arrangements.
The following sections will help you to think about various factors to decide if, and when, you have become resident in the UK, and what this means for the tax that you pay.
If you become UK resident in a particular tax year, by law you are resident for the whole of that tax year. But, if you come to the UK part way through a tax year, the year may by concession be split (Extra-Statutory Concession A11). This means that the UK Income Tax you should pay because you are resident here is calculated on the basis of the period you are living here rather than the whole of that tax year. This has the effect of splitting the tax year into resident and not resident periods for the purposes of calculating the tax due. The following guidance assumes that this split-year treatment applies.
7.1. Residence and your purpose in coming to the UK
To work out what UK tax you will have to pay, you need to establish whether you are resident here. To do this you must think about why you have come here, and how often and how long you will be here.
- Have you come to the UK to live here permanently or indefinitely, or to live or work for three years or more? If you have, read paragraph 7.2.
- Have you come to the UK as a student for a course of study or education? If you have, read paragraph 7.3.
- Have you come to the UK for less than three years? If you have, read paragraphs 7.4 through to the end of this part of the guidance.
- Have you come to the UK as part of a series of visits? If you have, read paragraphs 7.4 through to the end of this part of the guidance.
Depending on your circumstances you may need to follow two or more of the above references.
7.2. When you come to the UK permanently, indefinitely, or to live or work for three years or more
If your home has been abroad and you have come to the UK to live here permanently or indefinitely, you will be resident and ordinarily resident from the date you arrive.
You will also be resident and ordinarily resident from the date you arrive if you have come to the UK to remain here for three years or more. This is because you are not simply visiting but have settled in the UK for the time being.
If you have previously been resident in the UK and are returning after a period abroad, you will need to think about whether or not your absence from the UK was a period of non-residence. You may not have been entitled to the split-year treatment. If you were not resident you may have been ‘temporarily not resident’ and this might affect your liability to UK tax when you become resident in the UK again.
Whether or not you have lived here before, if you have come to the UK to live or work permanently, indefinitely, or for three years or more, you should tell us immediately so that you can make sure that you are paying the correct amount of tax as soon as possible.
- If you work for an employer in the UK, they will give you the forms you need to complete for us and will deduct tax from your earnings on our behalf under PAYE – see part 6. The forms might include form P46.
- If you have been seconded to work in the UK while employed by a foreign employer, they should give you the form P46 (Expat) to complete. We will send you any other forms that you need.
- If you are going to work for yourself – that is, as a self-employed person – you can find out what you need to do at www.hmrc.gov.uk or you can phone our Self-employed Helpline. The helpline will be able to give you the advice you need to make sure that you pay the right amount of UK tax at the right time.
- If you have come to the UK to live (permanently or indefinitely or for three years or more) but do not intend to work here, you must tell us if you have any taxable income and/or gains.
Paragraphs 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6 explain what you need to think about if you have come to the UK and will not be staying here for three years or more, or permanently or indefinitely.
7.3. When you come to the UK as a student
If your home has been abroad and you have come to the UK for less than two years for a period of study or education, you might not be resident in the UK (see paragraphs 7.4 and 7.5). If you have come to the UK for more than two years but less than four years for study or education, you will be resident in the UK while you are here. But you will not usually be ordinarily resident if:
- you do not own or buy accommodation here
- you do not acquire accommodation here on a lease of three years or more
- when you leave the UK you do not plan to return here regularly for visits which average 91 days or more in a tax year (to calculate your average visits to the UK – see paragraph 7.6).
If, while you are studying in the UK, you get a job to help support yourself, you might have to pay UK tax on your earnings. This is because your earnings are from a UK source and are liable to UK tax whether or not you are resident in the UK. If you are going to work in the UK you will usually need a UK National Insurance number. You can find information about this and other details of working in the UK in paragraph 7.2.
How much tax you have to pay will depend on the amount you earn during a tax year. You may be entitled to UK personal tax allowances which reduce the amount of any UK tax that you have to pay. This is explained in part 6.
As a student from outside the UK, you should check if there is a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) between the UK and your own country. Most DTAs make provision for the tax treatment of the money paid from abroad for course fees and your support while you are studying here. It is important that you check your position as this will affect what, if any, UK tax you need to pay on foreign income and/or gains that you bring into the UK.
7.4. When you come to the UK temporarily
If you are simply visiting the UK, then you might not be resident. But you are not simply visiting the UK if you have a purpose for being here which is not temporary. The nature and extent of your connections to the UK may indicate that your purpose in the UK is not temporary.
If you are here temporarily read paragraphs 7.5 and 7.6. You may also need to read paragraph 7.7.
If you remain in the UK for a period that spans two tax years and are resident in the second year then you will need to think about whether you were also resident in the first tax year. This will depend on all the facts.
It is possible that after you first come to the UK your circumstances change and you are going to live here permanently or indefinitely, or you are going to remain here for three years or more from the date of your arrival. In such a situation, you will become resident and ordinarily resident in the UK and you should read paragraph 7.7. If your circumstances change and you become resident in the UK, you should tell us as soon as possible to make sure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.
7.5. Short term, one-off or repeated visits – residence and ordinary residence
This section applies to you only if you are in the UK temporarily (see paragraph 7.4).
If you are making a one-off visit to the UK and leave before you have been here for 183 days in a tax year and you do not intend to return, you will not usually be resident or ordinarily resident in the UK.
But, if you are going to make a number of separate visits to the UK you need to think about whether this will make you resident and/or ordinarily resident here. It does not matter whether the visits are for the same purpose or different purposes, or varying lengths of time.
If you are making a number of separate visits, part 2 explains that you need to look at the pattern and regularity of your visits. The length of time required to establish a pattern will depend on your circumstances but after three years it will usually be possible to judge the pattern that has emerged.
You may not know how long you will continue to visit when you first arrive in the UK. If, after three complete tax years, a pattern has emerged that these visits total more than 91 days on average and your visits continue, then you will become resident and ordinarily resident in the UK from the start of the next tax year.
But there are situations where you might become resident and ordinarily resident in the UK before you have been visiting for four years, for example:
- where you know, when you start visiting the UK, that your visits here will be for an average of 91 days or more for each tax year. In these cases, you will be resident and ordinarily resident from 6 April of the tax year in which you first start making your visits.
- when you realise after starting to visit the UK regularly that your visits are going to be for an average of 91 days or more. In these cases you will be resident and ordinarily resident from 6 April of that tax year.
- when your circumstances change so that your purpose for being in the UK is no longer temporary.
It is possible that after you first come to the UK to visit, or after you have made a number of visits here, your circumstances change so that you are going to live here permanently or indefinitely, or are going to remain here for three years or more from the date of your first arrival. If this is the case, you will become resident and ordinarily resident in the UK and should read paragraph 7.7.
If your circumstances change and you become resident in the UK you should tell us as soon as possible so that you can make sure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.
7.6. How to calculate your average days in the UK
Calculating your annual average days in the UK is a useful indication of the extent of your connection to the UK. It may also indicate if – when you have visited the UK frequently – you have become resident here.
If you need to calculate your annual average days in the UK, you do so like this:
The annual average is calculated over the number of years you have been visiting the UK, up to four years after which only the last four years are included in the average. (But if the pattern of your visits varies substantially year by year, it might be appropriate to look at the periods with different patterns separately and to calculate average days in the UK for each distinct period).
You should count a day as one spent in the UK if you are here at midnight at the end of the day. Do not include days of transit, if you arrive from another country on one day and leave the UK the next day and do not engage in any activities unrelated to your journey while in the UK.
This is the general practice, but it will not necessarily be appropriate in all cases. If you spend very significant amounts of the year travelling internationally, you should keep a record both of the days you were present in the UK and of those days where you are here at midnight. Both will be factors when looking at the pattern and purpose of your visits.