UK residents with foreign income or gains: certificates of residence: introduction and scope of guidance
Where the UK has a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with a foreign territory, a person who is a resident of the UK (within the meaning of the DTA) may be entitled to claim relief from certain taxes of that foreign territory (either by way of relief at source or refunds of tax already paid) if certain criteria are met.
In order to assess whether a person is entitled to such relief, the overseas fiscal authority receiving the claim will usually require HMRC to certify that the person is a resident of the UK within the meaning of the DTA. Some fiscal authorities may also require HMRC to confirm that the person fulfils other conditions.
The certification of residence may need to be made on a specific form produced by the overseas fiscal authority or in a general letter produced by HMRC. For the purpose of this guidance, a Certificate of Residence (CoR) refers to certification on a specific form or in a general letter.
HMRC is committed to providing UK residents with assistance in claiming all the benefits they are entitled to under a DTA. These DTAs have been carefully negotiated with other states and HMRC will therefore help UK residents claim the benefits they are entitled to. On request, HMRC will therefore provide customers with a CoR where, to the best of our knowledge, that customer is a resident of the UK.
However, as the purpose of a CoR is to support claims for benefits under a particular Article of a DTA (being the Article applicable to the relevant income source), HMRC may refuse to issue a CoR where it is clear that the customer would not be entitled to those benefits. As such, there may be cases where a resident of the UK will not be able to obtain a CoR because they do not fulfil the criteria of the particular Article under which they intend to claim benefits. It is vitally important that HMRC upholds the terms and purpose of our DTAs by not issuing CoRs to those who are clearly not entitled to relief from foreign taxes.
The decision as to whether relief from foreign taxes can be granted is, ultimately, one to be made by the overseas fiscal authority. It is therefore anticipated that HMRC will issue a CoR in the majority of cases and that a request will only be refused if there is no doubt that customer would not be entitled to benefits.
If HMRC has reason to believe that a customer will not be entitled to benefits, we may request further information from the customer before deciding whether a CoR can be issued. In cases where it is not clear whether a customer would be entitled to benefits, HMRC may decide to make a spontaneous exchange of information with the other state to help them come to an informed decision as to whether benefits can be granted.
Customers should also be aware that the provision of a CoR will not guarantee that they will be successful in their claim to benefits under the relevant DTA. As stated above, it will be up to the overseas fiscal authority to determine whether the customer fulfils all the relevant conditions and whether benefits can be granted. However, in any case where a customer believes an overseas fiscal authority has denied them benefits which they should be entitled to, HMRC will consider engaging with those authorities on the customers behalf under the Mutual Agreement Procedure for the relevant DTA.
To help HMRC decide whether a CoR can be issued, we will require any customer who would like a CoR to provide a certain amount of information when making their request.
The following guidance sets out the information HMRC will require, the checks we will make and the circumstances in which a request may be refused. It also sets out the processes for making and handling such requests. This guidance replaces the guidance issued on 4 January 2013 and which was previously located at INTM162010 to INTM162040.
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