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HMRC internal manual

Residence, Domicile and Remittance Basis Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Domicile: Categories of domicile: Age of legal capacity

The paragraphs below show the dates on which the legal capacity to acquire an independent domicile of choice would generally have been attained.

Age

Generally in determining an individual’s age, the anniversary date is used. An individual born on, for example, 17 May 1998, will attain the age of sixteen at the beginning of 17 May 2014.

The law in Scotland formerly calculated an individual’s legal age moment to moment from the exact time of birth. This position was altered by the Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991 to the anniversary method detailed above, So an individual born on, for example, 5 October 1997, will attain the age of sixteen at the beginning of 5 October 2013.

Where an individual is born on 29 February the relevant anniversary of his or her birth is taken to be 1 March in years other than leap years.

England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

An individual born before 1 January 1949 attained legal capacity on his or her twenty-first birthday.

An individual born on a date from 1 January 1949 to 31 December 1951 inclusive attained legal capacity on 1 January 1970 because of the reduction in the age of majority.

England and Wales and Northern Ireland

An individual born on a date from 1 January 1952 to 31 December 1955 inclusive attained legal capacity on his or her eighteenth birthday.

An individual born on a date from 1 January 1956 to 31 December 1957 inclusive acquired legal capacity on 1 January 1974, when the Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973 [DMPA 1973] came into force.

An individual born on or after 1 January 1958 acquires legal capacity on his or her sixteenth birthday.

Scotland

In general the position in Scotland was the same as that in the rest of the UK for individuals born before 1 January 1952. However, Scots law allowed the emancipation of minors, which meant that males aged fourteen or over and females aged twelve or over could, in certain circumstances, acquire a domicile of choice.

Section 3 of the DPMA 1973 does not apply in Scotland. An individual born on a date from 1 January 1952 to 24 September 1973 inclusive attained legal capacity on his or her eighteenth birthday.

An individual born on a date from 25 September 1973 to 24 September 1975 inclusive acquired legal capacity on 25 September 1991 when the Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991 came into force.

An individual born on or after 25 September 1975 attains legal capacity on his or her sixteenth birthday.