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HMRC internal manual

Residence, Domicile and Remittance Basis Manual

Domicile: Introduction and Background: Introduction

This guidance expands upon the information in RDR1 and is written for HMRC officers who have to consider the domicile of individuals. It is divided into chapters dealing with the subjects listed at RDRM20010.

It is vital to remember that domicile is primarily a matter of common law. The decisions of the courts in the UK and other jurisdictions provide a set of guiding principles, but each case will depend on its own facts. For that reason this guidance can do no more than set out general principles.

What is domicile?

Domicile links an individual to a territory subject to a single system of law. It does so for purposes that affect various personal aspects of an individual’s life and legal relationship with the society of that territory. These purposes include the validity of marriages, rights of succession to property and, in some countries, taxation.

Enquiries into domicile status

Enquiries aimed at establishing an individual’s domicile are, by their very nature, detailed examinations of an individual’s background, lifestyle, habits and intentions over the course of a lifetime. Consequently, any such enquiries conducted by HMRC will extend to areas of individuals’ and their families’ affairs that would not generally be regarded as relevant to their UK tax position.

As domicile depends on the facts of an individual’s life, each case is unique. Each enquiry will differ in detail from all other enquiries. The facts have to be considered as a whole and the importance of a particular matter will vary from case to case. An event that could properly be regarded as trivial in one individual’s life might assume great importance in determining another person’s domicile.

HMRC has published this guidance in accordance with Open Government policy. Individuals and their advisers can expect that HMRC’s understanding of the law, as it is summarised in this guidance, will normally be applied in relevant cases. However, each case will turn on its own facts, or context, and so there will be circumstances in which HMRC and individuals will disagree about the interpretation to be placed upon the facts or the way that the legal principles should be applied to the facts.