Covid-19: expats and non doms can claim ‘exceptional circumstances’

Expats and non doms who find themselves stuck in the UK as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will be able to claim ‘exceptional circumstances’ with regard to their current tax residency status, in cases where they have to stay here for more than the 183 days permitted

In an update to the rules regarding the statutory residence test (SRT), HMRC says the covid-19 pandemic may impact expats’ ability to move freely to and from the UK or, require them to remain unexpectedly in the UK.

In response, non-resident individuals will be able to apply under the exceptional circumstances rules in a number of instances.

These include where someone is quarantined or advised by a health professional or public health guidance to self-isolate in the UK as a result of the virus; anyone who is advised by official government advice not to travel from the UK as a result of the virus; those who are unable to leave the UK as a result of the closure of international borders; and those who are asked by their employer to return to the UK temporarily as a result of the virus.

The tax authority warns that ‘whether days spent in the UK can be disregarded due to exceptional circumstances will always depend on the facts and circumstances of each individual case.’

HMRC also notes that events resulting from the impact of the virus are changing rapidly and this guidance may change at short notice as situations change.

Under the Statutory Residence Test (SRT) rules, depending on personal ties to the UK, non-residents can spend 16 to 183 days in Britain before they have to start paying UK tax.

Above 183 days they are considered UK residents. HMRC grants each non-resident an additional 60 days for exceptional circumstances such as births, deaths, sudden and life-threatening illness or injury.

SRT guidance and Coronavirus

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