Tax if you leave the UK to live abroad

You must tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if any of the following apply, you’re:

  • leaving the UK to live abroad permanently
  • going to work abroad full-time (including for a UK-based employer) for at least one full tax year
  • a foreign national leaving the UK

The tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April the next year.

You do not need to tell HMRC if you’re leaving the UK for holidays or business trips.

Telling HMRC you’re moving means that they can: 

  • work out if you’re due a tax refund
  • advise if you need to pay tax in more than one country
  • make sure you pay the right amount of tax on the pension you receive, if you retire abroad

How to tell HMRC

How to tell HMRC depends on whether you fill in a tax return or not. It also depends on your employment status.

If you do not usually complete a Self Assessment tax return

You need to fill in form P85.

Include Parts 2 and 3 of your P45 form, if you have one. Get these from your employer (or Jobcentre Plus if you’ve been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance). If you do not have a P45 because you’re continuing working for a UK company abroad, you should still fill in form P85.

If you usually complete a Self Assessment tax return

You can tell HMRC you’re leaving through your Self Assessment tax return. Complete the ‘residence’ section (form SA109) and send it by post. You cannot use HMRC’s online services to tell them you’re leaving the UK.

You can also complete your Self Assessment tax return with:

You’ll be charged a penalty if you do not meet the deadline - it’s 31 October if you send your return by post.

Fill in form P85 if you’re going to be working full-time for a UK-based employer for at least one full tax year. You’ll still also need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return and form SA109.

What happens next

You need to let other people know if you’re moving or retiring abroad, for example your local council, so you stop paying Council Tax.

If you’re owed a refund

HMRC will work out if you’re owed a refund for the tax year you’re leaving the UK.

If you are due a refund, HMRC can either pay it to you or someone else on your behalf - they are known as your ‘nominee’.

HMRC will only send a cheque within the UK - either directly to your address or to your nominee at their address. Most cheques can only be paid into a UK bank account held in your name or your nominee’s.

Tax if you’re non-resident

If you’re non-resident, you do not pay UK tax on income or gains you get outside the UK. You may be non-resident the day after you leave the UK - this depends on your situation and how ‘split year treatment’ applies to you.

You may need to pay UK tax if you’re non-resident and have UK income. For example, you could be taxed if you have income from renting out a property in the UK.

The UK has ‘double taxation agreements’ with many countries to make sure you do not pay tax twice.

What happens if you cannot pay your tax bill 

 Contact HMRC as soon as possible if you:

  • have missed a tax deadline
  • know you will not be able to pay a tax bill on time

HMRC will always try to contact you if you miss a tax payment.

If you do not contact HMRC and do not pay, HMRC will ask the tax authority in the country you’re living in to collect the tax from you on their behalf.

National Insurance

You might be able to pay National Insurance while you’re abroad if you’re planning to:

  • come back to the UK
  • claim the State Pension later

You cannot claim back any National Insurance you’ve paid in the UK if you leave the UK permanently. However, anything you’ve paid might count towards benefits in the country you’re moving to - if it’s one of the countries that have a social security agreement with the UK.

You might be able to claim UK benefits like Jobseeker’s Allowance while you’re living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Whether you can depends on the agreement between the UK and the country you’re moving to.

If your circumstances change

Contact HMRC if your circumstances change when you’re abroad - you move house or your marital status changes, for example. You’ll need your National Insurance number.

You also need to tell HMRC if you come back to live in the UK.

Visiting the UK

You can visit the UK without becoming resident again - depending on why you visit and how long you visit for.

If you work full-time abroad, you can usually visit the UK for up to 90 days - as long as you work no more than 30 of these days.

You might become a UK resident again if you start new activities in the UK after you’ve left, for example you get involved in a business or buy a new property.

Check your residence status if you’re not sure how your activities in the UK affect your status. If you’re non-resident you only pay tax on your UK income.