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How long do you have to stay out of the UK to avoid paying tax?

I’m a British expat and no longer live in the UK, however I have to occasionally return home. How long do I have to be outside of the UK to avoid paying tax in the UK?

How long do you have to stay out of the UK to avoid paying tax?

The amount of tax you are required to pay in the UK will depend on your UK tax residence status, as, in general, non-residents of the UK are generally only taxed on UK source income. 

Your UK tax residence status is established through the Statutory Residence Test which incorporates a number of tests and factors when establishing whether you are a UK tax resident or not.

The Statutory Residence Test sets out a series of rules which determine if you are automatically non-resident or automatically resident.

For example, if you spend 183 or more days in the UK in any given tax year you will automatically be considered as a UK tax resident.

However, it is not conversely true that if you spend fewer than 183 days in the UK, you will automatically be classed as a UK non-resident.

If you are neither automatically resident or non-resident, other factors, classed as “ties” will also need to be taken into consideration.

A combination of your ties and the time you spend in the UK will ultimately determine your UK tax residence status.

We have created a comprehensive guide to the Statutory Residence Test which will give you an overview of the various tests, ties and time requirements which will establish your UK tax residence status.

However, this should not be used in isolation to help you determine your tax residence status and UK tax exposure, you should always seek qualified advice to ensure you know your tax requirements.

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Last updated: 18 March 2020