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HMRC internal manual

Residence, Domicile and Remittance Basis Manual

Residence: Leaving the United Kingdom: What this chapter is about

This chapter tells you how to deal with individuals who are leaving the UK.

An individual may leave the UK to emigrate abroad. This would mean that they leave, set up home elsewhere, and substantially cut their ties to the UK. Some individuals may leave for shorter periods, for occasional residence abroad, or with no settled purpose.

The act of leaving the UK does not necessarily make an individual not resident and not ordinarily resident. Whether an individual has been living here permanently or only for a short time when they leave it may be that they could remain resident in the UK - even if they become resident in another country under that country’s rules.

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Leaving the UK permanently or indefinitely

Leaving the UK ‘permanently’ means that the individual is leaving the country to live or work abroad and will not return here to live. Leaving ‘indefinitely’ means that they are leaving to live or work abroad for a long time (at least three years) but they might eventually return to live here, although they may not currently have plans to do so.

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Leaving the UK for full-time employment abroad

UK tax law does not give a definition of full-time employment and so the decision on whether an individual is employed full-time abroad will depend on the particular circumstances of each case.

If an individual says that they are working abroad full-time we would expect that they would be able to show their employment

  • has a standard pattern of hours which can be compared to a typical UK working week, or
  • if their employment does not have a formal structure or a fixed number of working days, it can, by looking at the local conditions and practices of the particular occupation, be compared to similar full-time employment in the country where they are working.

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Leaving the UK for shorter periods of time

An individual will still be treated as resident in the UK if they leave the UK for occasional residence abroad only. Occasional residence means they have no settled purpose for a continuing absence from the UK.

‘Occasional’ does not mean that the absence is a one off or for a short period only. Business trips abroad or regular extended holidays are examples of occasional residence abroad. This type of absence would not stop an individual from being resident and ordinarily resident in the UK, as they have not made a definite break from the UK.