UK To Define What Is Meant By Tax Residence, Non-Domicile Status

Tom Burroughes 16 June 2011

UK To Define What Is Meant By Tax Residence, Non-Domicile Status

The UK government is due to issue today its statutory definition of tax residence and reform of rules on non-domiciled residents in the UK, a measure which has been welcomed by the wealth management industry for ending uncertainty.

In finance minister George Osborne’s annual budget statement in March, he said he intended to consult on the case for such a test. He increased the existing £30,000 ($48,400) annual charge to £50,000 for non-doms who have been UK resident for twelve or more years and who want to retain access to the remittance basis of taxation. 

The £30,000 (around $48,360) charge will be retained for those who have been resident for at least seven years but less than twelve years.

Uncertainty about what is meant as residence for tax purposes is one of the reasons, some industry figures have warned, that the UK has become a less attractive place for wealthy individuals to live and work in.

Tax experts have identified wealthy Indians as one of the principal groups of high net worth immigrants that could shun the UK should the uncertainty continue. 

Some of the UK’s wealthiest residents are Indian entrepreneurs, including steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, with a fortune of £17.5 billion, and mining billionaire Anir Agarwal with a net worth of £3.8 billion. 

Additionally, Osborne said he will scrap the tax charge when non-domiciled individuals remit foreign income or capital gains to the UK for the “purpose of commercial investment in UK businesses”.

The moves were welcomed by the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners, which said that residency and nom-domicile “are widely considered too complex, leaving existing clients unsure of how the UK tax regime will operate”.

“A statutory residence test is capable of being a simple and objective test and is widely used by other countries. For non-doms we expect proposals to simplify the way they are taxed on commercial investment into the UK.  These changes will give clients much needed certainty and improve our international competitiveness,” said Wendy Walton, chairman of STEP’s technical committee.

The UK Treasury confirmed the department will issue a statement shortly but declined to elaborate on details when questioned by this publication.

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