Taxation of international executives
Tax returns and compliance
Termination of residence
Economic employer approach
Types of taxable compensation
Salary earned from working abroad
Taxation of investment income and capital gains
Additional capital gains tax (CGT) issues and exceptions
General deductions from income
Tax reimbursement methods
Calculation of estimates/prepayments/withholding
Relief for foreign taxes
General tax credits
Sample tax calculation
All information contained in this document is summarized by KPMG LLP, the UK member firm affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity, based on Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988; Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003; Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005; Income Tax Act 2007; Finance Act 2013; Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992; Taxes Management Act 1970; Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992; Social Security (Contributions) Regulations 2001; and Inheritance Tax Act 1984 (all as amended by subsequent legislation); Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) booklets as follows: “Guidance Note: Statutory Residence Test (SRT), RDR3” published December 2013; “Guidance Note: Overseas Workday Relief (OWR), RDR4” published May 2013; immigration rules on the UKVI website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules and https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
When are tax returns due? That is, what is the tax return due date?
If an individual meets the requirements to report their income to HMRC, they are required to notify HMRC of this by 5 October following the relevant tax year end. The deadlines for tax returns to be submitted to HMRC are as follows:
What is the tax year-end?
What are the compliance requirements for tax returns in the United Kingdom?
Married persons are treated separately for tax purposes, and spouses are individually responsible for completing their own tax return. Their tax liabilities are calculated separately.
Just after the end of the tax year, a tax return or notice to file should be received from HMRC (if neither are received and a tax return is required then the taxpayer must notify HMRC by the above deadline – 5 October following the end of the tax year). The return must be completed and filed with HMRC. The return requires, inter alia, a statement of income and capital gains for the tax year that has just ended.
Late filing penalties
A late filing penalty of GBP100 applies if a return is not delivered by the filing date.
If the filing failure continues for more than 3 months after the filing date, and HMRC decide that a penalty is due and give written notice of the date from which the penalty is due, a daily penalty of GBP10 may be charged.
This penalty may run for a maximum of 90 days from any date specified in the notice that is later than 3 months after the filing date (the date of the notification itself is irrelevant). The daily penalty ceases to accrue if the failure is remedied before the expiry of the 90 day period.
If the failure continues for more than 6 months after the filing date there is a further fixed penalty of either GBP300 or 5 percent of the tax liability that would have been shown on the return( whichever is the greater).
If the failure continues for 12 months after the filing date a further penalty is imposed. For a non-deliberate failure to file a return, the penalty is the greater of GBP300 or 5 percent of the tax liability. A deliberate and concealed withholding of the tax return can attract penalties of 100 percent of the tax liability (in some cases involving offshore matters (see below), the penalty can exceed 100 percent of the tax – 200 percent in some cases).
For example, HMRC issued a notice to file to individual “Smith” for the 2017/18 tax year on 6 April 2018. Smith was waiting for some of their financial information for the year to arrive and so put the notice to one side and subsequently forgot about it. They then failed to submit their tax return by the 31 January 2019 deadline. As they were very busy with work, they failed to notice the reminders from HMRC and notices of the penalties accruing and did not submit their tax return until 15 February 2020. Their tax return showed a liability for the year of GBP15,800.
Their penalties would be as follows (based on non-deliberate withholding of tax return):
|Penalty accrual date||Amount (GBP)|
|Late: 15 February 2020
|3 months late: 1 May 2019 – 29 July 2019 (90 days x GBP10 per day)||900
|6 months late: 1 August 2019 (the larger of GBP300 or 5% x GBP15,800)||790|
|12 months late: 1 February 2020 (the larger of GBP300 or 5% x GBP15,800)||790|
Penalties for Inaccuracy etc.
Tax-based penalties apply also to returns that are incorrect due to carelessness or deliberate and/or concealed behavior. The penalty regime for inaccuracies looks broadly as follows (this does not include the new Failure to Correct (FTC) penalty regime which is outside the scope of this article):
|Type of behavior||Unprompted disclosure||Prompted disclosure|
|Reasonable care||No Penalty||No Penalty|
|Careless||0% to 30%||15% to 30%|
|Deliberate||20% to 70%||35% to 70%|
|Deliberate and concealed||30% to 100%||50% to 100%|
Where in a given range the penalty will actually fall is determined by what HMRC call the quality of disclosure and includes:
Again there are increased penalties of up to 200 percent in cases involving offshore matters. An offshore matter is an inaccuracy, failure to notify or deliberate withholding of information that leads to a loss of revenue that is charged on or relates to:
Where the tax return shows additional tax is payable, it is due by 31 January following the end of the tax year (i.e. the online filing deadline). In such cases, the individual will generally also be required to make prepayments of tax for the following tax year. These are based broadly on the previous year’s underpayment and are due on 31 January in the tax year and on the following 31 July. Any final, balancing payment subsequently found to be due must be made by the following 31 January.
This payment cycle is best illustrated with an example:
Late Payment Interest and Penalties
If payments are not made on time, interest is charged.
Additionally, if the tax is paid more than 30 days late, a penalty of 5 percent of the tax unpaid is charged. Another 5 percent is charged if the delay exceeds 6 months, and again another 5 percent penalty is charged if the delay exceeds 12 months.
It should also be noted that strict liability criminal offences have recently been introduced into the UK tax code in relation to offshore income, assets and activities. The offences cover failure to notify chargeability, failure to deliver a tax return and inaccuracies in documents (e.g. tax returns). There are particular safe-harbors such as the GBP25,000 threshold and the focus is generally on income not reportable under the common reporting standard (CRS).
However, considerable care should be exercised as anyone found guilty is liable to a fine and/or imprisonment for up to 51 weeks in England and Wales (up to 6 months in Scotland and Northern Ireland)
The legislation came into force on 7 October 2017.
A new Failure to Correct (FTC) penalty regime has also been introduced. This is a backward looking penalty and any irregularities in respect of offshore matters in tax years up to 5 April 2017 not disclosed to HMRC before 30 September 2018 will be subject to FTC penalties (up to 200 percent of the tax). Specialist advice should be sought.
If a non-UK resident has UK taxable income (generally speaking this will be UK source income e.g. UK rental income) the remarks above concerning UK residents apply equally to them.
As a general rule, non-resident individuals are not normally subject to UK capital gains tax on disposals. However, disposals of UK residential property are one exception. From 6 April 2015, the U.K introduced a non-resident CGT (NRCGT) charge on gains made on the disposal of UK residential property, and this is expected to be extended to cover non-residential UK property whether held directly or indirectly (if certain conditions are met) with effect from 6 April 2019.
Unlike the reporting rules outlined above for tax returns, such disposals must be reported online to HMRC within 30 days of conveyance. In most cases the tax must also be paid within the same 30 day period (but the tax may be deferred to the normal 31 January payment date for those already filing UK tax returns).
If a property was jointly owned each owner must tell HMRC about their own gain or loss.
What are the current income tax rates for residents and non-residents in the United Kingdom?
Income tax is calculated by applying a progressive tax rate schedule to taxable income.
Income tax table for 2019/20 – Not including Scotland
The personal allowance (PA) for 2019/20 is GBP12,500. This is the amount of income upon which no income tax is paid. The PA can be restricted in certain circumstances (e.g. income over GBP100,000).
|Taxable income bracket||Total tax on income below bracket||Tax rate on income in bracket|
|From GBP||To GBP||GBP||%|
||0||20 (basic rate)|
||40 (higher rate)|
||45 (additional rate)|
Income tax table for 2019/20 – Scotland*
|Total tax on income below bracket||Tax rate on income in bracket|
|From GBP||To GBP||GBP||%|
From 6 April 2016, a Personal Savings Allowance will apply to exempt up to GBP1,000 from income tax. Higher rate taxpayers will have a reduced allowance of GBP500
There is also a separate Dividend Allowance of GBP2,000 which will exempt the first GBP2,000 of dividend income from tax.
|Tax Band||Tax rate on dividends over the allowance|
The interaction of these reliefs is highly complicated so advice should be sought.
The remittance basis of taxation
As mentioned in the introduction, the taxation of non-doms has been subject to recent change with the introduction of the concept of “deemed domicile” into both Income Tax and CGT. However, for the reasons set out in the preamble, the impact on short-term assignees is expected to be minimal as most assignees are unlikely, in any given tax year, to have been tax resident in the UK for 15 out of the preceding 20 tax years i.e. they will not be deemed domiciled.
For those who are not deemed domiciled, the remittance basis remains largely unchanged; the rules are set out in broad terms below. For those who are deemed domiciled but under the GBP2,000 de minimis the remittance basis remains available.
For those who were born in the UK with a UK domicile of origin and who currently assert a foreign domicile of choice, the new rules mean they will deemed domiciled for UK tax purposes while they are UK resident. This is notwithstanding their foreign domicile under general law. As such the remittance basis will not be available to these individuals (subject to the GBP2,000 de minimis). Advice should be sought immediately as there may be other adverse UK tax implications.
The new rules came into effect from 6 April 2017.
For those for whom the remittance basis is available, non-UK income and gains may be taxed, if the individual wishes, on the remittance basis of taxation rather than on the arising basis. That is to say, such amounts are not taxed as they arise but only if and when they are remitted to (taken into or used in or brought to) the United Kingdom. There are stringent and complex anti-avoidance rules around what constitutes a remittance.
The remittance basis of taxation does not apply to Foreign Life Insurance policy gains.
As a consequence of the changes which took effect on 6 April 2008, this is now a highly complex subject. It is beyond the scope of this publication to go into much detail on this topic, as to do so could prove misleading; specialist advice should be taken on any particular situation. However, the following should be noted:
Non-residents are taxed at the same rates as residents, however, they may not be entitled to any UK personal allowances. Their entitlement will depend on their nationality and/or country/territory of residence and the applicable double tax treaty in force.
Specific anti-avoidance legislation exists to prevent individuals avoiding UK tax by becoming non-UK resident for a short period and realizing gains or receiving income while non-resident.
Broadly the rules mean that income or gains accruing, realized or remitted during a period of temporary non-residence come back into charge in the year of return. What constitutes a period of temporary non-residence is discussed further below. If the taxpayer remains non-resident for longer than a temporary period (as defined) then the anti-avoidance rules do not apply.
Importantly, not all income and gains are within the scope of the rules. For example, only gains realized on assets held at the date of departure are within the scope of the rules. Likewise only certain types of income are within scope, such as distributions for closely-held companies etc.
While the rules are conceptually straight forward, they are very specific in terms of what is within scope and what is not; therefore we recommend that advice is taken before the date of departure from the UK It is not unusual for individuals to leave the UK expecting to remain non-resident long enough to fall outside the anti-avoidance rules only to return early due to a change in circumstance. Consequently, it is generally helpful to understand the implications in advance.
A period of temporary non-residence is a period which meets the following conditions:
For these special rules not to apply, the period of non-residence must exceed 5 years, that is, a minimum period of 5 calendar years plus 1 day. For example, 4 May 2015 to 4 May 2020.
Note that different rules apply for those that left before 2013/14 (when the rules were amended to those above).
For the purposes of taxation, how is an individual defined as a resident of the United Kingdom?
As discussed above, an individual’s tax liability can be affected not just by their residence status but also by their domicile status.
Prior to 6 April 2013, an individual’s UK residence status was determined according to case law and guidance issued by HMRC (latterly known as “HMRC6”). However, due to these existing “uncertain and complicated residence rules” the government introduced a statutory residence test (SRT) which applies from 6 April 2013.
Broadly, the SRT, which applies from 6 April 2013, is made up as follows:
Our flowchart can be found here. (PDF 152 KB)
An individual will be classed as non-UK resident if one of the three automatic overseas tests applies (there are a further two automatic overseas tests which are only applicable when the individual dies during the relevant tax year):
If any one of the automatic overseas tests is met, the individual is classed as non-UK resident for the tax year and does not need to consider the SRT any further. Otherwise, the automatic UK residence tests have to be considered.
An individual will be classed as UK resident for the relevant tax year if they have not met any of the automatic overseas tests and they meet any one of the following three automatic UK residence tests (there is a further test applicable only if the individual dies during the relevant tax year):
If the individual has met none of the automatic overseas tests and none of the automatic UK tests, they must then turn to the sufficient ties test to determine their UK residence status.
To determine whether an individual has sufficient ties to be regarded as a UK resident for the relevant tax year, a number of factors are considered in conjunction with the number of days an individual spends in the United Kingdom. Broadly speaking, the more ties an individual has the less days they can spend in the UK before becoming UK resident.
These factors or ‘ties’ relate to:
For the sufficient ties test a distinction is drawn between “arrivers” (i.e. individuals who have been not UK resident in any of the previous 3 tax years) and “leavers” (individuals who have been UK resident in 1 or more of the previous 3 tax years).
Where the individual has been regarded as not resident in the UK in all of the 3 previous UK tax years, the four ‘UK ties' to be considered are:
The combination of the number of ties the individual has with the UK during the relevant tax year and the number of days the individual is in the UK determines whether the individual is UK resident for that tax year. The criteria are as follows:
|Days spent in the UK||Number of UK Ties|
|Fewer than 46 days||Always non resident|
|46 – 90 days||Resident if has 4 UK ties|
|91 – 120 days||Resident if has 3 UK ties|
|121 – 182 days||Resident if has 2 UK ties|
|183 days or more||Always resident|
Where an individual has been regarded as resident in the UK in at least 1 of the 3 previous UK tax years, the five ‘UK ties' to be considered are:
The combination of the number of ties the individual has with the UK and the number of days the individual is in the UK during the relevant tax year determines whether the individual is UK resident for that tax year. The criteria are as follows:
|Days spent in the UK||Number of UK Ties|
|Fewer than 16 days||Always non resident|
|16 – 45 days||Resident if has 4 UK ties|
|46 – 90 days||Resident if has 3 UK ties|
|91 – 120 days||Resident if has 2 UK ties|
|121 – 182 days||Resident if has 1 UK tie|
|183 days or more||Always resident|
Please see the commentary above re the remittance basis and recent changes to the taxation of non-doms.
A person’s domicile is, broadly, their permanent homeland. The majority of foreign nationals employed by foreign employers who are working on secondment to the UK will not be regarded as domiciled in the United Kingdom (i.e. they will be non-doms) under general principles.
As explained above, it is not anticipated that many assignees will fall to be treated as deemed domiciled under the new rules.
If an employee works in the United Kingdom for a period of less than a year in total, and spends less than 183 days in the United Kingdom in any one UK tax year, the employee will be treated for tax purposes as a STBV. Such an employee is liable to UK tax on their remuneration attributable to duties performed in the United Kingdom, even if the employer is overseas. Such an employee is likely to be non-resident and consequently not taxable on remuneration relating to non-UK duties. If the employee is resident under the SRT, (see above) then OWR and the remittance basis should be considered.
If the STBV remains a resident of their home country/territory and there is a double taxation agreement between the United Kingdom and that country/territory, the agreement may exempt the employee from UK tax on all their remuneration provided the following conditions are met:
Certain UK treaties have other conditions that need to be met so the particular treaty needs to be considered.
For the purpose of counting days for the 183-day test in a treaty, any day on which an individual is present in the United Kingdom will count as a day.
It is the stated intention of HMRC to deny treaty relief in cases where a UK entity is viewed as the economic employer.
Is there a de minimis number of days rule when it comes to residency start and end date? For example, a taxpayer can’t come back to the host country/territory for more than 10 days after their assignment is over and they repatriate.
Under the automatic overseas tests in the SRT, an individual will always be non-UK resident if they do not spend 16 or more days in the UK during a UK tax year, whether or not they have previously been UK resident.
For the purpose of counting days for this test, a day is when the individual is in the UK at midnight, except in some limited circumstances, such as where the individual is in transit in the UK or due to exceptional circumstances (e.g. war, natural disaster, civil unrest) which prevent the individual from leaving the UK (it is not enough that they are prevented from entering another country/territory).
What if the assignee enters the country/territory before their assignment begins?
Depending on the circumstances, it is possible that residency could commence from the first day in the tax year, or the date the assignment begins, or from the date of an earlier entry to the United Kingdom.
Even if not resident in the United Kingdom until the commencement of the assignment, business trips before that date could give rise to a UK tax liability.
Are there any tax compliance requirements when leaving the United Kingdom?
HMRC should be notified of an individual’s departure, and provided with details to determine their residence status in advance of the annual tax return. This will then allow exemption from withholding taxes to be claimed if appropriate.
What if the assignee comes back for a trip after residency has terminated?
This depends on the precise circumstances. It could prolong the period of UK residence. Even if it does not, if the trip relates to business, the associated earnings could give rise to a UK tax liability.
Do the immigration authorities in the United Kingdom provide information to the local taxation authorities regarding when a person enters or leaves the United Kingdom?
No, not as a matter of routine.
Will an assignee have a filing requirement in the United Kingdom after they leave the country/territory and repatriates?
If there is a liability to UK tax, there is likely to be a filing requirement. Strictly speaking, if HMRC have issued a tax return to an individual to complete, even if the individual has left the UK and there is no further UK tax liability, the tax return is still required to be submitted unless HMRC withdraw the notification to file.
Therefore, when assignees leave the UK and are aware there is no further liability to UK tax, they should ensure that they contact HMRC to advise them of their departure and to request that no further tax returns after the year of departure are issued to them.
Do the taxation authorities in the UK adopt the economic employer approach to interpreting Article 15 of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) treaty? If no, are the taxation authorities in the UK considering the adoption of this interpretation of economic employer in the future?
Yes, the economic employer approach has already been adopted.
Is there a de minimis number of days before the local taxation authority will apply the economic employer approach? If yes, what is the de minimis number of days?
59 days (in the tax year provided that the presence in the UK is not part of a more substantial period in the UK).
What categories are subject to income tax in general situations?
The following categories of income are subject to income tax (not exhaustive):
Other types of income and capital receipts may also be subject to UK income taxes but are outside the scope of this document.
Employment income is taxable when received, or when the employee is entitled to receive it, if earlier. Employment income is subject to UK tax to the extent it was earned during a period of UK residence or, in the case of income earned while non-resident, to the extent it was earned in respect of duties performed in the UK (subject to treaty relief).
Generally speaking, all types of remuneration and benefits received by an employee for services rendered constitute taxable income, regardless of where paid (but if the amount relates to work performed outside the UK, in certain circumstances, the amount which is taxed might be based on the amount remitted to the UK).
Typical items of an expatriate compensation package set out below are, in most circumstances, fully taxable unless otherwise indicated:
Intra-group statutory directors
Will a non-resident of the UK who, as part of their employment within a group company, is also appointed as a statutory director (i.e. member of the Board of Directors in a group company situated in the UK trigger a personal tax liability in the UK, even though no separate director's fee/remuneration is paid for their duties as a board member?
Yes, generally a non-resident director of a UK company will be taxable in the UK on the duties of the directorship carried out in the UK.
Are there any areas of income that are exempt from taxation in the United Kingdom? If so, please provide a general definition of these areas.
The costs of transporting an employee and close family to the UK at the beginning and end of UK assignments are not taxable in most circumstances. Certain other moving expenses may also be non-taxable up to a maximum of GBP8,000.
The exercise of most foreign share incentives gives rise to UK taxable income from employment.
The categories of income that are exempt from income tax include the following.
Winnings from betting (including pool betting, or lotteries, or games with prizes) are not chargeable gains, and rights to winnings obtained by participating in any pool betting, or lottery, or game with prizes are not chargeable assets. Strictly, where the prize takes the form of an asset, it should be regarded as having been acquired by the winner at its market value at the time of acquisition.
Long service awards are fully tax-exempt if made in the following circumstances.
From 6 April 2017, the annual ISA investment allowance is GBP20,000. Different ISA-types exist to facilitate investment of the funds in different asset classes e.g. cash ISA, Stocks and Shares ISA etc.
Any income arising from funds invested in such accounts, such as interest or dividends, are exempt from UK tax.
Some pensions and allowances paid to war widows and dependents are exempt from tax, as well as similar pensions or allowances payable under the laws of a foreign country/territory.
Certain social security and state benefits
These include the following (non exhaustive):
Are there any concessions made for expatriates in the United Kingdom?
Assuming the foreign national is not a UK domiciliary and chooses to be taxed on the remittance basis (see earlier - The Remittance Basis of Taxation), non-UK source investment income and foreign capital gains are potentially exempt from tax as they are only subject to UK tax if and when remitted to the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, the introduction of a statutory Overseas Workday Relief from 6 April 2013 allows certain non UK domiciled employees to exempt from UK tax such of their unremitted employment income as is attributable to non-UK duties for the year of arrival and the next 2 years.
Certain expenses such as travelling, housing, and subsistence may be deductible when associated with a short-term assignment of up to 24 months in which the employee is required temporarily to work away from their normal or permanent workplace.
Is salary earned from working abroad taxed in the United Kingdom? If so, how?
Yes, unless the employee is taxed on the remittance basis (see earlier comments about who is eligible to be taxed on the remittance basis) - in which case the following comments apply.
Taxable compensation of individuals who, though resident, meet the conditions as laid out in the new Overseas Workday Relief (OWR) statutory rules can be split between UK earnings and foreign earnings by allocating (usually on a time-spent basis) income to foreign duties. The foreign earnings will then only be subject to tax if remitted to the UK
OWR is only available, generally, for the first 3 tax years of UK residence. Thereafter, once OWR is no longer available, all earnings from that employment are treated as UK earnings and are taxed on the arising basis (i.e. the remittance basis no longer applies to the overseas element).
Once OWR is no longer available, the only scenario where the remittance basis is available for employment income is where the employment is with a non-UK resident employer and all of the duties of employment are performed outside the United Kingdom. In such a scenario, the compensation arising is taxable only to the extent it is received in, or remitted to, the United Kingdom.
In the past this led to many adopting a “dual” contract approach; one for UK duties and another for overseas duties. However, anti-avoidance legislation was introduced from 6 April 2014 which limits the availability of the remittance basis to earnings from the offshore contract in such scenarios - where the offshore contract is with an associated company the earnings may be taxable on the arising basis unless certain strict conditions are met.
Are investment income and capital gains arising to a UK resident individual taxed in the United Kingdom? If so, how?
Yes, unless the employee is taxed on the remittance basis (see earlier comments about who is eligible to be taxed on the remittance basis) - in which case the following comments apply.
There is legislation aimed at preventing individuals avoiding capital gains tax and income tax on certain types of income by becoming temporarily non-UK resident.
CGT - General
From 6 April 2016 CGT is charged at 10 percent for basic rate taxpayers, to the extent that their total income plus gains less any allowances are within the basic rate tax band (i.e. less than GBP37,500). Any gains falling above this threshold are subjected to CGT at 20 percent.
Except for gains made on residential property and carried interest which instead are taxed at 18 percent for basic rate taxpayers and 28 percent for higher and additional rate taxpayers.
There is an annual exemption available – that is, an amount which is exempt from tax – unless the individual has claimed to be taxed on the remittance basis (see earlier). The annual exemption for 2018/19 is GBP12,000.
CGT is based on the gain made as calculated in accordance with statutory rules.
Gains of up to GBP10 million may qualify for Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER) and be subject to tax at 10 percent. Broadly ER is available on disposals by an individual or individuals of trading businesses or business assets used in a trade held for a specified period subject to various other prescribed conditions.
A new sister relief was introduced in 2016 called Investors’ Relief (IR). Like ER there is a GBP10 million limit and the applicable rate is 10 percent. IR is targeted at gains arising from disposals of shares in unlisted trading companies subject to various prescribed conditions.
These are regarded as investment income. See comments above.
The rules have changed with effect from 6 April 2015. It is no longer possible to claim under UK domestic law that there is no UK tax on exercise when an award granted while the employee is non-UK resident vests whilst the employee is resident in or performing duties in the UK.
The new rules apply to existing options and other share incentives. The gain on exercise will be apportioned based on the time spent performing duties in each country/territory and, consequently, for the period when UK duties are performed income tax will arise. This taxable pay may then be relievable under a double tax treaty.
UK tax advantaged share incentive plans may not be liable to U.K taxation but this is a complex area so specific advice should always be sought; the legislation is voluminous and, in some circumstances, its meaning is disputed. Most non-UK plans are not UK tax advantaged plans and do not qualify for preferential tax treatment.
From 6 April 2012 foreign currency gains arising on withdrawals from foreign currency bank accounts are exempt from Capital Gains Tax.
A disposal of foreign currency in more complicated scenarios involving, for example, foreign currency options may still give rise to a taxable gain or allowable loss.
In most circumstances, an individual’s only or main Principal Private Residence (PPR) is exempt from UK capital gains tax on sale. However, exemption may be only partial where the property has not been considered as the main residence for the entire period of ownership.
Fortunately, the legislation regards the following periods of non-occupation as periods of deemed occupation and so can be included in working out exemption (generally the property must be the individual’s PPR after the absence although this is not always the case for absences involving work):
The last 18 months of ownership are always treated as deemed occupation so long as the property was the individual’s main residence at some point prior to this. With effect from April 2020, this exemption is expected to be reduced to the final 9 months of ownership.
An individual may have only one PPR for tax purposes at any one time. Where the individual has more than one residence, they can nominate which property is to be considered as the main residence.
From 6 April 2015 non-residents who dispose of UK residential property have 30 days to report the disposal (see above re non-resident CGT or NRCGT). Penalties apply for failure to report the disposal whether or not there is tax to pay.
Normally, the tax must also be paid within the 30 day period. However, if the individual making the disposal has already received a notice to file a tax return for the year of disposal, or the prior year, the payment of the tax can be deferred until the normal payment date of 31 January.
The introduction of NRCGT also required the introduction of anti-avoidance rules in the PPR legislation. Without this addition, a non-UK resident with a UK residential property would have been able to nominate the UK property as their main residence, obtain PPR and thereby avoid NRCGT, rendering NRCGT otiose.
Therefore a new rule was introduced from 6 April 2015, for situations where the property is located in a different ‘territory’ to that in which the taxpayer is resident. The new rule restricts the availability of PPR for both:
Broadly speaking, the new test states that a residence (property) owned by a UK or non-UK resident will only be capable of qualifying for PPR if:
Care therefore needs to be exercised when disposing of property while on secondment (either inbound or outbound) and advice should always be sought in advance of any transaction. Further information on these changes can be found here. (PDF 118 KB)
Capital losses are usually claimed on the tax return for the tax year in which the loss arose. The time limit for claiming capital losses is 4 years from the end of the tax year in which the loss arose. There is no time limit for claiming losses for 1995-96 and earlier years. Losses can be carried forward indefinitely until there are gains against which they can be set.
Special rules apply for those taxed on the remittance basis. Generally, no relief is available for foreign losses. However, it is possible to make the foreign loss election facilitating some relief for foreign losses. However, once made, this election is irrevocable and fundamentally alters the way losses are relieved while claiming the remittance basis so advice should be sought before the election is made. There is a deadline by which the election should be made so it is recommended that this is discussed as part of the initial arrival briefing when coming to the UK
Chattels disposed of for less than GBP6,000 do not give rise to a chargeable gain. If the disposal proceeds exceed that amount, the chargeable gain is restricted to five-thirds of the excess proceeds.
A gift can constitute a disposal which may be subject to capital gains tax. Certain reliefs are available however e.g. holdover relief and gift relief. Advice should be sought before making the gift.
Are there additional capital gains tax (CGT) issues in the United Kingdom? If so, please discuss?
Unless taxed on the remittance basis, an individual is entitled to an exempt amount of capital gains each year. For 2019/20, the amount is GBP12,000.
Are there capital gains tax exceptions in the United Kingdom? If so, please discuss?
The following disposals, amongst others, not mentioned above, will usually not give rise to capital gains tax (not exhaustive):
Capital gains tax was first introduced on 6 April 1965. There are special rules for the computations of gains on assets acquired before that date.
A capital sum may arise as a result of a deemed, rather than actual, disposal. The main circumstances in which this would apply include the following:
What are the general deductions from income allowed in the United Kingdom?
Unlike certain other jurisdictions, deductions from income are limited. Below are some of the main deductions:
Generally, no deduction is allowed for alimony and child support payments, and neither is the recipient taxable on the amount received. Nor is a deduction available for interest on a loan to purchase a main residence or for investment expenses such as a safe deposit box, safekeeping fees, or investment management fees.
However, it is possible to obtain tax relief for amounts invested in:
They cannot create an additional tax refund (other than tax already paid at source). Therefore, it is important that an individual obtains advice before making their investment to ensure they can utilize the available reliefs effectively.
Remittances to invest in certain commercial businesses can also be made without incurring a tax charge via the Business Investment Relief (BIR). But care is required as the criteria are strict and there are anti-avoidance rules which can trip the unwary (albeit they have recently been relaxed slightly)
To curtail what the Government views as an excessive use of tax reliefs, it introduced a limit on all uncapped income tax reliefs on 6 April 2013. For anyone seeking to claim more than GBP50,000 of reliefs, a cap is set of 25 percent of income (or GBP50,000, whichever is greater). Again, any individual wanting to obtain tax reliefs in excess of GBP50,000 should seek advice first.
What are the tax reimbursement methods generally used by employers in the United Kingdom?
The most common form of tax reimbursement is current year gross-up. This enables the tax payable by the employer and the income to which it relates to be dealt with together in the same year’s tax calculation.
How are estimates/prepayments/withholding of tax handled in the United Kingdom? For example, Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG), and so on.
Employers in the United Kingdom are required to withhold tax from cash payments made to employees. The system by which the tax is withheld is known as Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE). Employers must inform HMRC of payments made to employees on or before the day on which the payments are made to the employee. Employers must also pay over to HMRC the amounts withheld on a monthly basis by the 19th of the following month (22nd if payment is made electronically).
The tax month runs from the 6th of one month to the 5th of the next month. Broadly, PAYE should be applied to all cash payments made to employees. In addition to cash payments, PAYE should be operated on a number of additional items such as readily convertible assets (that is, assets which can easily be converted into cash, such as shares in a listed company).
PAYE must also be accounted for in respect of individuals who are employees of non-UK resident employers but who are working for entities in the United Kingdom. If the PAYE is not paid by the overseas employer, the entity for which the employee is working is treated as the employer for the purpose of withholding.
As well as salary, an employee will often be provided with benefits-in-kind. These benefits can be “payrolled” (except accommodation and cheap loans) or reported annually on form P11D. Forms P11D must be provided to employees and HMRC by 6 July following the end of the tax year.
In recognition of the complexity of operating PAYE with regard to expatriates assigned to the United Kingdom and who are tax equalized, HMRC may allow, upon request, the employer to operate a Modified PAYE arrangement. Under the arrangement, the employer can prepare a best estimate of all earnings, (including cash allowances and non-cash benefits), for the year at the beginning of each year, grossed-up for tax purposes, and calculate the PAYE tax due and make the appropriate payments. The employer is required to undertake an in-year review during the period December to April to take account of any material changes such as calendar or tax year-end bonuses and taxable awards of securities and options.
In broad terms, if the tax paid through PAYE is less than 80 percent of the final total tax liability and the employee is not dealt with under Modified PAYE, the employee is required to make payments on account in respect of the next year’s liability (on 31 January in that year, and on 31 July following the year-end – see above under Tax Returns and Compliance).
Nearly all employers who withhold tax under PAYE are required to report details of earnings and deductions to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs electronically on or before the time of payment of the earnings to the employee.
When are estimates/prepayments/withholding of tax due in the United Kingdom? For example: monthly, annually, both, and so on.
See previous discussion.
Is there any Relief for Foreign Taxes in the United Kingdom? For example, a foreign tax credit (FTC) system, double taxation treaties, and so on?
The United Kingdom has a broad network of double taxation treaties. Usually, for dual resident individuals, an exemption from, or a reduced rate of, UK tax will apply where the individual is determined to be ‘treaty resident’ for treaty purposes in the other state.
If the individual is a resident of the United Kingdom for treaty purposes, relief in respect of income taxable in the other state is generally given by means of a foreign tax credit rather than by exemption.
The UK domestic tax legislation provides, in cases where there is no applicable tax treaty, for relief to be given unilaterally by the United Kingdom for foreign tax suffered on foreign income and gains arising in the other state, which are also subject to UK tax.
What are the general tax credits that may be claimed in the United Kingdom? Please list below.
The UK tax system is such that, in various circumstances, deductions are permitted when arriving at the amounts of chargeable income or gains but credits against the tax liability are rare. Apart from tax deducted at source, the most common example is foreign tax permitted to be credited against the UK tax liability arising on the same income or gains.
Another example is the credit available for 20 percent of finance costs allowable against rental income albeit, for higher rate taxpayers, this is less attractive than the old system of offsetting the finance costs against the income before calculating the tax.
This calculation assumes a married taxpayer with two children whose assignment to the United Kingdom begins 17 August 2017 and ends 18 October 2019. The taxpayer’s base salary is 100,000 US dollars (USD) and the calculation covers 3 UK tax years.
|Company car||See assumptions||See assumptions||See assumptions|
|Moving expense reimbursement||20,000||0||20,000|
|Interest income from non-local sources||6,000||6,000||6,000|
Exchange rate used for calculation: USD1.00 = GBP0.7653
Calculation of taxable income
|Days in the United Kingdom during year||232||365||196|
|Earned income subject to income tax|
|Moving expense reimbursement||
|Other income (overseas)||
|Personal savings allowance
|Total taxable income||
|UK tax thereon||23,155||41,187||14,109
Social security liability
In the above example, it is more beneficial for the individual to file on the arising basis in 2017/18 and 2019/20, and the remittance basis in 2018/19 . This is because their overseas income is below the level of the individual’s personal allowance and as their overall income is below GBP100,000 when filing on the arising basis the personal allowance is not fully phased out and can cover the overseas income for the tax years 2017/18 and 2019/20.
However, in the 2018/19 tax year, as their overall income is over GBP100,000; the personal allowance would be reduced to GBP1,740.75. As this is lower than the level of their overseas income for this year, it is more beneficial to be taxed on the remittance basis in this tax year.
1Certain tax authorities adopt an "economic employer" approach to interpreting Article 15 of the OECD model treaty which deals with the Dependent Services Article. In summary, this means that, if an employee is assigned to work for an entity in the host country/territory for a period of less than 183 days in the fiscal year (or a calendar year of a 12-month period) and the employee remains employed by the home country/territory employer but the employee’s salary and costs are recharged to the host entity, then the host country/territory tax authority will treat the host entity as being the "economic employer" and therefore the employer for the purposes of interpreting Article 15. In this case, Article 15 relief would be denied and the employee would be subject to tax in the host country/territory.
2For example, an employee can be physically present in the country/territory for less than 60 days before the tax authorities will apply the ‘economic employer’ approach.
3Sample calculation generated by KPMG LLP, the UK member firm of KPMG International, based for the most part on Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988; Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003; Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005; Income Tax Act 2007; Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992; Taxes Management Act 1970; Finance Act 2013; Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) booklet “Guidance Note: Statutory Residence Test (SRT), RDR3” published in December 2013. Liability to tax in the United Kingdom’; Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992; Social Security (Contributions) Regulations 2001; and Inheritance Tax Act 1984 (all as amended by subsequent legislation).
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