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Do I have to submit a UK tax return?

I am British but I no longer live in the UK and I'm not sure if I have to complete a UK tax return. HMRC haven't sent me a letter, but how can I tell if I should be submitting a UK tax return?

Do I have to submit a UK tax return?

Not all expats are required to submit a UK Self Assessment tax return, however HMRC will not necessarily send you a letter even if you are required to. If you are required to submit a tax return and you fail to do so, you will be charged a penalty and potentially interest on any unpaid tax.

While submitting a tax return does not necessarily mean that you owe tax in the UK, it is important that a return is filed if you are obliged to complete one to avoid any late filing penalties and fines.

Submitting a tax return will ensure you claim any appropriate reliefs you are entitled to i.e. tax treaty relief if there is a double tax agreement in place, which will help you avoid double taxation.

Six key criteria that will help you determine whether you need to submit a tax return

  • Are you considered a tax resident of the UK?
  • Do/did you receive any untaxed income from sources in the UK (eg. rental income from a UK property)?
  • Do you have income from abroad that you need to pay tax on?
  • Are you a director of a UK registered company?
  • Was your UK taxable income over £100,000?
  • Have you sold a UK property, shares or something else that you need to pay capital gains tax on?

If you answered yes to any of the above criteria, you will probably have to submit a tax return in the UK regardless of whether you are British or a foreign national.

If you are unsure about the answer to any of the above questions, it is possible that you will be required to submit a tax return and you should seek guidance on whether you need to submit a tax return.

For more information about each criteria, please read our article How to tell if you have to submit a UK tax return >

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Last updated: 1 April 2019