Domicile: Introduction and Background: Terminology of domicile
Common law concept of domicile
This guidance is largely concerned with what can be termed the ‘common law’ concept of domicile. However, there are situations in which the word ‘domicile’ could be used in a different sense.
Civil Jurisdiction and Judgment Acts 1982 and 1991
The UK the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgment Acts 1982 and 1991, and the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Order 2001 (S.I. 2001 No. 3929), use domicile in a narrow and specialised sense that is defined by the legislation.
Use of the term outside the UK
The word ‘domicile’ is used in a number of countries in a different sense from its meaning in the legal systems of territories that adopt domicile as a connecting factor in matters of personal law.
Although this does not affect HMRC’s use or definition of the term in determining a person’s UK tax liability, you should be aware that individuals and their advisers may have another understanding of the term. This may occur particularly when considering the impact of a double taxation convention or agreement.
Statutory modifications to the application of the common law concept
The legislation mentioned below has affected the determination of an individual’s domicile under the laws of the UK, and in the second and third cases continues to do so.
Domicile Act 1861
Under the Domicile Act 1861, now repealed, it became possible for the British government to enter into a treaty that prevented British subjects from acquiring a domicile in respect of wills in the other country unless an individual had resided there for a year or more and had made a written declaration of intention. Any such treaty was reciprocal.
Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973
Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006
This statute came into effect in Scotland on 4 May 2006. It affects the way in which the domicile of persons under the age of sixteen years is ascertained.
Inheritance Tax Act 1984
It is possible for an individual to be ‘deemed’ to be domiciled in the UK for the purposes of Inheritance Tax only, while being domiciled at common law in a territory outside the UK.
Adoption and Children Act 2002
An adopted child is regarded as having acquired a new domicile of origin from the relevant adoptive parent; this will be the domicile of his adoptive father or, if there is no adoptive father his adoptive mother, at the time of his adoption.
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008
The domicile of a minor child may be changed as a result of adoption or the issue of a parental order under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, or legitimation, or of a change in his parents’ domicile. Please refer any such cases to SPT, PTI Advisory.
Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010
If a person is for any part of a tax year a member of the House of Commons, or a member of the House of Lords, then the person is to be treated for Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax as resident and domiciled in the United Kingdom for the whole of that tax year.