Place of residence: principles and characteristics for Scottish taxpayer status
It is possible to have more than one place of residence
The vast majority of people will have only one place where they live and this will be their place of residence. If an individual has more than one place to live then each of those places may be a place of residence. In this situation, whether or not either location constitutes a place of residence will be determined by the facts.
Jenny lives in Birmingham and works from home. She also owns a small house on Skye which she lives in throughout every summer, from April to September. Her use of both properties is sufficiently regular and permanent to mean that both are places of residence (see also para 40).
A place of residence can be a building (or part of a building), a vehicle, vessel or structure of any kind as long as it is used by an individual with a sufficient degree of regularity and permanence
Harry lives on a narrow boat with his wife. While they occasionally travel on the boat, they have a single permanent mooring in London where they spend the vast majority of their time. They keep their personal belongings in the boat, eat their meals there, and with the exception of their annual holiday abroad, sleep in it every night. It is their place of residence. Similar considerations would apply if Harry and his wife lived in a static caravan.
Ownership or a legal form of tenancy makes no difference
A building, vehicle, vessel or structure, or the like, can be an individual’s place of residence even if it is not owned by them. Ownership or a legal form of tenancy makes no difference e.g. a property that an individual rents or in which an individual lives with their parents, another member of their family or others will be a place of residence if they habitually live there.
A place of residence will remain an individual’s place of residence until such a time as it stops being used as such by them
Paul has business interests in both England and the Scotland. He flies to England each Monday returning to Scotland every Thursday. In England he lives in a flat. When in Scotland he lives with his family at the family home which he has occupied for many years. In this situation both properties are places of residence. Paul subsequently decides he does not need to spend so much time in England and starts to travel there less frequently. He sub-lets his flat in England retaining no rights to use it, choosing instead to stay in whatever hotel can accommodate him. He now has only one place of residence, which is in Scotland.
A place can still be a place of residence even if an individual does not stay there continuously
For example, they move out temporarily but their spouse and children continue to live there, then it is still likely to be their place of residence.
Joanne is seconded to Scotland for 3 months by her English employer. She stays in a hotel when she is there. Prior to her secondment she lived with her husband in their home in London. Her husband continues to live and work in the London. When Joanne returns after her secondment she returns to live with her husband in their London home. The London house was Joanne’s place of residence throughout the period of her secondment.
It should be noted that an individual having one place of residence (in any part of the UK) does not mean, when taken in isolation, that if their family do not visit, as they live in another of the individual’s places of residence, the former cannot be a place of residence.
If an individual moves out of their home temporarily it may still remain their home
David has lived and worked in Dumfries for many years. David’s father lives in Carlisle and falls seriously ill. For a period of several months David moves back to his parents’ house in Carlisle to help his mother while his father is in hospital and then after his return home with his recuperation. Although David has temporarily moved out of his Dumfries home this does not stop being his place of residence.
A place of residence will remain as such even if it is temporarily unavailable
For example, because of damage or renovation.
The roof of Richard and Mary’s home in Dunblane blows off in a storm. The estimated clean-up and repair operation will take 10 weeks, so they stay with Mary’s parents in Gateshead while the work is being done. The Dunblane property will remain their place of residence even though Richard and Mary are unable to stay there for the time being.
A property will start to be an individual’s place of residence as soon as:
- it is capable of being used as a home, for example, the individual has taken ownership of it, even if it is temporarily unavailable because of renovation
- the individual actually lives there
If the first point above is satisfied, but in fact the individual never actually lives there, then it will not constitute a place of residence.
Melanie moved from Scotland to England and completed the purchase of her new house on 1 May. Whilst it was empty she stayed with friends, until her belongings arrived. These were moved in by the removal firm on 23 May. Melanie stayed in her new home overnight that night. However, as she had arranged to have some extensive refurbishment done to her bathrooms and kitchen, she stayed in a local hotel and with colleagues whilst the main works were carried out. She moved into her home on a permanent basis on 10 June. For Scottish taxpayer ’close connection purposes HMRC would consider that the house became Melanie’s place of residence from 23 May.
The key points are that:
- a place must be capable of being used as a home, even if it is temporarily unavailable, and
- an individual must actually use it as a home.