Guidance

Work out if you'll pay Scottish Income Tax

Find out whether you'll be a Scottish taxpayer if you move to or from Scotland, have more than one home or have no home.

Introduction

If you live in one place during a tax year, and it’s in Scotland you’ll be a Scottish taxpayer and will pay Scottish Income Tax from 6 April 2017. It’s paid to the Scottish Government.

If you live anywhere else in the UK you will not be a Scottish taxpayer.

Your situation might be different if you:

  • move to or from Scotland during the year
  • have more than one home at the same time
  • have nowhere you can identify as your home

You can only be a Scottish taxpayer if you’re resident in the UK for tax purposes.

If you move to a new address you must tell HMRC so they can make sure you have the right tax code. Your employer cannot do this.

If you do not live in Scotland

If you live outside of Scotland, you’ll not be a Scottish taxpayer and none of the following will make you a Scottish taxpayer:

  • national identity - you regard yourself as being Scottish
  • location of work - you work in Scotland
  • you receive a salary or pension from a Scottish employer or pension provider
  • you travel in Scotland - for example, driving a lorry in, or frequent work visits to Scotland

All Scottish Parliamentarians will be Scottish taxpayers regardless of where they live.

If you move to or from Scotland

You’ll only be a Scottish taxpayer if you live in Scotland for longer than anywhere else in the UK during the tax year (6 April to 5 April the following year).

If you’re a Scottish taxpayer, you’ll pay Scottish Income Tax for the whole of the tax year.

Your tax code will start with an ‘S’ if you’re a Scottish taxpayer.

Example: you move to Scotland

You’ve rented and lived at a house in Birmingham for several years. On 30 June your rental on the Birmingham property ends and you immediately move to a flat in Aberdeen. The time you spent living in Scotland in the tax year (1 July to 5 April) was longer than the time you lived in England (6 April to 30 June). This means that you’re a Scottish taxpayer for the whole tax year.

Example: you move from Scotland

You’ve lived in Glasgow for many years. In the course of the tax year you sell your house in Glasgow and move into a flat in Manchester where you stay before moving to a new house in Bristol. During the tax year you spent:

125 days in Glasgow
120 days in Manchester
120 days in Bristol

You’re not a Scottish taxpayer for the whole of the tax year because you lived in Scotland for less time than you lived in England (Scotland 125 days, England 240 days).

If you have more than one home at the same time

If you have more than one place which you regard as home, one in Scotland and one elsewhere in the UK, you will be a Scottish taxpayer if your main home is in Scotland. You will need to tell HMRC which is your main home.

What counts as your main home

Your main home is usually where you live and spend most of your time. It does not matter whether you own it, rent it or live in it for free.

Your main home may be the home where you spend less time if that’s where:

  • most of your possessions are
  • your family lives, for example, if you’re married, in a civil partnership or a long-term relationship
  • you’re registered for things like your bank account, GP or car insurance
  • you’re a member of clubs or societies

Example

You have a family home in Kilmarnock with your husband and children but work in Cardiff. To avoid the commute, you rent a flat in Cardiff where you stay during the week and keep some of your possessions. You return to the family home in Kilmarnock each weekend. All the friends that you see socially live in or around Kilmarnock. You’re also a member of various local sports and social groups in Kilmarnock and your doctor and dentist are in Kilmarnock.

Despite spending more time in terms of days in Cardiff through the tax year, your main home is Kilmarnock because of the family, social and other links that you have there. You’re therefore a Scottish taxpayer for the whole tax year.

You cannot identify anywhere as your home

Your situation may be that either:

  • there is nowhere during a tax year that you’ve stayed for regular periods that you would regard as your home
  • you’ve more than one place that you live and it’s not possible to identify which is your main home

Whether you’re a Scottish taxpayer will be determined by counting the number of days you spend in Scotland and comparing it to the number of days you spend elsewhere in the UK during a tax year.

If you spend more days in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, you’re a Scottish taxpayer for the whole tax year.

What counts as a day

Where you spent a day depends on where you were at midnight at the end of the day. For example, if you lived in Scotland from 10am on Monday to 5pm on Friday the same week, you spent 4 days there.

If you work offshore, you have spent a day in Scotland if you’re up to 12 nautical miles from Scotland.

Example - you have no home

You are a UK citizen but have no fixed place of residence during a tax year, neither owning nor renting property. You travel around the UK for work, staying in hotels. In the course of the tax year you spend 120 days in Scotland, 100 days in England, 50 days in Scotland and 10 days in Northern Ireland.

Since you have no place of residence during the tax year, you compare the days you spend in Scotland to the days you spend in other parts of the UK. Since the 120 days you spent in Scotland is more than each of the days you spent in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you are a Scottish taxpayer.

Travel through the UK

You might be in ‘transit’ through the UK. This means on the way from one country outside the UK to another outside the UK. It does not count as a day, even if you’re in the UK at midnight, unless you:

  • do not leave the UK the next day
  • carry out activities not connected with travel, for example, you visit friends, or go to a work meeting

Further information

Find detailed technical guidance about who is a Scottish taxpayer.

The Scotland Act 2012 contains the full definition of a Scottish taxpayer.

If you need further help or guidance contact HMRC.

Published 27 October 2015
Last updated 6 April 2017 + show all updates
  1. Guide updated to mention Scottish Income Tax started on 6 April 2017.

  2. First published.