5. If you're taxed twice

You may be taxed on your foreign income by the UK and by the country where your income is from.

You can usually claim tax relief to get some or all of this tax back. How you claim depends on whether your foreign income has already been taxed.

There’s a different way to claim relief if you’re a non-resident with UK income.

If you’ve already paid tax on your foreign income

You can usually claim Foreign Tax Credit Relief when you report your overseas income in your tax return.

How much relief you get depends on the UK’s ‘double-taxation agreement’ with the country your income’s from.

You usually still get relief even if there isn’t an agreement, unless the foreign tax doesn’t correspond to UK Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax.

Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or a get professional tax help if you’re not sure, or need help with double-taxation relief.

What you’ll get back

You may not get back the full amount of foreign tax you paid. You get back less if either:

  • a smaller amount is set by the country’s double-taxation agreement
  • the income would have been taxed at a lower rate in the UK

HMRC has guidance on how Foreign Tax Credit Relief is calculated, including the special rules for interest and dividends in ‘Foreign notes (2014)’.

You can’t claim this relief if the UK’s double-taxation agreement requires you to claim tax back from the country your income was from.

If you haven’t paid tax on the foreign income

You have to apply for tax relief in the country your income’s from if:

  • the income is exempt from foreign tax but is taxed in the UK, eg most pensions
  • required by that country’s double-taxation agreement

Ask the foreign tax authority for a form, or apply by letter if they don’t have one.

You’ll then need to prove you’re eligible for tax relief by either:

Capital Gains Tax

You’ll usually pay tax in the country where you’re resident and be exempt from tax in the country where you make the capital gain. You won’t usually need to make a claim.

You have to pay Capital Gains Tax on UK residential property even if you’re not UK resident.

When to claim relief

There are different rules if your gain comes from an asset that either:

  • can’t be taken out of the country, eg land or a house
  • you’re using for business in that country

You’ll need to pay tax in both countries and get relief from the UK.

Dual residents

You can be resident in both the UK and another country. You’ll need to check the other country’s residence rules and when the tax year starts and ends.

HMRC has guidance for claiming double taxation relief if you’re dual resident.