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HMRC internal manual

Scottish Taxpayer Technical Guidance

Tests for Scottish taxpayer status: Test C: no 'close connection'– 'days spent' in Scotland or another 'part of the UK'

Where an individual is UK resident for tax purposes but does not have a ‘close connection’ with Scotland or another part of the UK (either through it not being possible to identify any place of residence or a main residence), they may still be a Scottish taxpayer if they satisfy the requirements of section 80F which operates by way of a test of the number of days spent in Scotland against those spent in ‘any other part of the UK’.

Part of the UK’ should be interpreted as meaning Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not Isle of Man/Channel Islands.  

Where an individual spends at least as many days in Scotland as elsewhere in the UK they are a Scottish taxpayer.

In other words - days spent in Scotland compared to days spent in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales **in aggregate **rather than to days spent in each of those parts of the UK individually.

For these purposes Scotland includes the adjacent UK territorial waters (ie up to 12 nautical miles from the shore), but does **not **include the adjacent UK continental shelf. Days spent in the UK continental shelf (for example on an oil rig or similar installation) are **not **days spent in any part of the UK for these purposes.

Note: this is a different test to that used to establish ‘close connection’ where an individual has had, in any given tax year, ‘places of residence’ or a ‘main place of residence’ in more than one of the constituent regions of the UK (England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland). In such cases days where the residence is in Scotland are considered separately against days where the residence is in each region individually.

What is meant by a ‘day spent’?

Where an individual has spent a day is decided by where they are at the end of the day (midnight). 

However, where an individual is in a part of the UK at midnight merely because they are in transit, that day does not count as a ‘day spent’ in that location.

An individual is to be considered as in transit when travelling from one country outside the UK to another country outside the UK, and whilst en route:

  • they arrive in the UK as a passenger,
  • leave the UK the next day,
  • do not, between their arrival and departure, engage in any activities that are to a substantial extent unrelated to their passage through the UK.


For example, merely taking dinner or breakfast at a hotel, in the normal course of events, would be related to their passage. In contrast enjoying a film at the local cinema, taking part in a work meeting or catching up with friends or work colleagues should be considered substantially unrelated to the individual’s passage through the UK.

‘Day counting’ examples

More than one place of residence but not possible to identify ‘main place of residence’

Meera and her husband own and run a successful multi-national business. They have no children or close family. Both travel extensively on business, occasionally staying in hotels but usually basing themselves at houses they own in a variety of UK and overseas locations. Despite this travel both are resident in the UK for tax purposes. They are registered to vote at their London residence but seldom stay long at any of their residences and have numerous bank accounts and cars registered at different addresses.

Meera and her husband have numerous ‘places of residence’ but it is not possible to identify one of these as their ‘main place of residence’ – Scottish taxpayer status should be decided for each by a day count for days spent in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK

No place of residence

Ruth is employed by an oil company working four weeks on/four weeks off, on a rig in the North Sea. Ruth is single and has no children. When not on the rig she stays in work-related accommodation near Aberdeen but spend most of her non-working time visiting friends or on holiday. She keeps some of her possessions in storage near Aberdeen but the majority are at her mother’s home in Belfast which she also uses as her address for bank and other correspondence, although she seldom visits.

Ruth has no place of residence. Her Mother’s house is not a ‘place of residence’ as Ruth does not reside there. Neither the rig (even if it is in UK territorial waters) nor the on-shore work accommodation are places of residence as there is little permanence or continuity in their occupation – none of her possessions are kept in them – there is no close connection. Ruth’s Scottish taxpayer status will be decided by day counting.

Days spent in Scotland and other parts of the UK

Stuart is a UK citizen but has no fixed place of residence during the course of a tax year – neither owning nor renting property. He works for consultancy firm advising on IT implementation projects and as such travels round the UK on short term assignments, staying in hotels. In the course of the tax year he spends 120 days in Scotland, 100 days in England, 50 days in Wales and 10 days in Northern Ireland.

Since Stuart has no place of residence during the course of the tax year so the ‘days’ he spends in Scotland are compared against the days he spends in aggregate in other parts of the UK. Since the 120 ‘days’ Stuart spent in Scotland is less than the 160 ‘days’ he spent in another part of the UK he is not a Scottish taxpayer.

Had the number of days Stuart spent in another part of the UK stayed the same but the number of days he spent in Scotland increased to 160 days or more – Stuart would have been a Scottish taxpayer.