UK residents with foreign income or gains: certificates of residence: UK and overseas branches or permanent establishments
UK branches or permanent establishments (PEs) of non-residents
It should also be noted that non-resident individuals and companies might be subject to UK tax because they carry on an enterprise in the UK through a branch or PE. HMRC would not be able to issue a certificate of residence (CoR) in the name of the branch or PE in such cases because they are not separate legal persons liable to UK tax by virtue of their residence and they are only liable to UK tax on income arising in the UK. If a non-resident individual or company requires confirmation that it is subject to tax, a letter can be issued using the following form of words:
THIS IS NOT A CERTIFICATE OF RESIDENCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF CLAIMING BENEFITS UNDER ANY DOUBLE TAXATION AGREEMENT WITH THE UNITED KINGDOM
[name of non-resident] is not itself a resident of the UK for the purpose of any Double Taxation Agreement with the United Kingdom.
However, I can confirm that to the best of HM Revenue & Customs’ knowledge, the UK branch or permanent establishment of [name of non-resident] is subject to UK Income/Corporation Tax in respect of its income arising in the UK.
Office Stamp, Name and signature of Officer
Overseas branches or PEs of UK residents
There may also be occasions when a UK resident requires a CoR to support a claim to benefits in respect of income paid to an overseas branch or PE.
For example, a UK resident company may have a PE in France which is in receipt of interest from Germany. In such a scenario, the UK company would be entitled to claim relief from German tax under the Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) between the UK and Germany in respect of the interest paid to the PE in France and it would therefore be acceptable to issue a CoR in the name of the UK company (using the form of words set out at INTM162100).
The provision of such a CoR should be sufficient to support a claim for treaty benefits in respect of income received by an overseas branch or PE (providing the UK resident fulfils all the normal conditions for relief).
A customer may also ask HMRC to confirm that we are aware that they have an overseas branch or PE in a particular state and that the income in question was paid to that branch or PE. HMRC does not consider such confirmation should be required in order for benefits to be granted under a DTA. Where exceptionally it is clear that it is the overseas tax authority that requires that confirmation, you should draft a side letter to the CoR in line with the guidance at INTM162150 and refer it to CTIS Business International, Foreign Profits Team.
Note that HMRC will not, however, be able to issue a CoR if the DTA under which relief is to be claimed provides that the income has to be subject to tax in the UK and the UK resident is not in fact subject to UK tax on that income.
A UK company for example might not be subject to UK tax on the income if it claims exemption under CTA09/S18A (INTM281010). An Officer would therefore need to check whether the DTA in question provides that the income has to be subject to tax and if so whether the income was indeed subject to tax (or if the income has yet to be paid, seek written confirmation from the company that the income will be subject to tax and that no election will be made under CTA09/S18A).