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We find ourselves generally in unchartered territory with the current outbreak of COVID-19 and the ramifications of course affecting the world-wide population.
It is therefore not surprising, that a number of new practical issues will present themselves which will have an impact on the amount of and scope of UK tax. One particular issue surrounds the Statutory Residence Test (SRT).
Ultimately, for UK tax purposes, an individual’s UK tax residence position is an important consideration as individual’s are taxed differently, depending on whether they are UK resident or Non UK resident. As part of the SRT, an individual must keep a watchful eye as to how much time they have been spending within the UK and consider this in conjunction with what part of the SRT they may fall into. See further details here (https://www.sgllp.co.uk/going-non-resident/).
Whilst the SRT is far more than just a day counting exercise ,where in any event considerable care is required, many individual’s are finding themselves confined to the UK and (very literally) unable to travel due to the on-going Covid-19 position.
HMRC guidelines provide that in many circumstances, time spent in the UK due to exceptional circumstances beyond an individual’s control may be discounted for the purposes of establishing the time spent in the UK, and provide guidance as to what they may consider as exceptional, but only up to a maximum of 60 days within a tax year. The 60 day limit has not changed and there are also some circumstances within the SRT where exceptional circumstances cannot be considered, so care is required.
However, for those that are concerned as to whether being grounded within the UK as a result of the current pandemic can be considered as exceptional circumstances, the government have released some updated guidance on their position with regard to ‘exceptional circumstances’. This guidance can be found on HMRC website at RDRM11005.
This states that HMRC will regard the time as exceptional if you:
* Are quarantined or advised by a health professional or public health guidance to self-isolate in the UK as a result of the virus;
* Find yourself advised by official Government advice not to travel from the UK as a result of the virus;
* Are unable to leave the UK as a result of the closure of international borders, or
* Are asked by your employer to return to the UK temporarily as a result of the virus
At present, such exceptional circumstances should be considered within the context of the 60 day maximum limit set out above, which may be subject to change.
We are here to help and if you have any questions or concerns in this area, please do not hesitate to contact Debbie Dolega (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Darren Hersey (email@example.com) on 020 74479000.