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Tax If You Leave the UK Permanently

Some important changes will happen to your tax if you leave the UK to live abroad. Check what steps you must take if you go to work or retire overseas of the United Kingdom.

LEAVING THE UK TO LIVE ABROAD: You must inform HM Revenue and Customs any time you are:

  • Departing the United Kingdom to live abroad on a permanent basis.
  • Leaving the UK to work full-time overseas for at least one full tax year (6th April to 5th April in the following year).

Note: It is not necessary to inform HM Revenue and Customs if your reason for leaving the United Kingdom is for a holiday or a business trip.

Inform HMRC before Leaving

You need to complete ‘Form P85 leaving the UK tax form‘ and send it to HM Revenue and Customs. Remember to add Parts 2 and 3 from your P45 form.

Your employer will supply you with these forms. You may need to contact Jobcentre Plus if you were claiming the Jobseeker’s Allowance.

If you usually send a Self Assessment tax return you will need to fill one in instead. These types of tax returns get use most by workers who are self-employed.

Send HMRC P85 tax form and a tax return if you will be working full-time for a UK-based employer for one full tax year (or longer).

Sending the Tax Return

You cannot use the online service to inform HMRC that you are leaving the United Kingdom ‘permanently’. That means you must either:

Fill in the ‘residence’ section of the tax return (form SA109 if you mail by post). Failing to meet Self Assessment deadlines can result in a penalty. The deadline is earlier for returns sent by post (i.e. the 31st of October).

A non-resident would not pay UK tax on income or gains received outside the United Kingdom. Thus, you could become a non-resident the day after you have left the UK. As a rule, it depends on each situation and how ‘split year treatment‘ might apply.

Note: There will be other organisations that need informing that you are moving or retiring abroad. It will include your local council to ensure you stop paying Council Tax.

Owed a Tax Refund when Leaving UK

HM Revenue and Customs will calculate whether there is a tax refund owing for the tax year that you are leave the UK.

Having UK Income

In some cases, you will still need to pay UK tax as a non-resident. An example would be for someone who gets income from renting out a property in the United Kingdom.

Note: The United Kingdom operates ‘double taxation agreements’ with many countries. This system ensures people do not pay tax twice.

National Insurance if You Leave the UK

There are some benefits of paying National Insurance while abroad for many people. But, this is especially so if you are:

  • Planning to return as a resident of Great Britain in the future.
  • Going to claim the State Pension in older life.

Some NIC may count towards benefits in the country you move to if it has a social security agreement with the UK. But, you cannot claim back any National Insurance after leaving the UK.

Note: Check the guide about claiming benefits if you live abroad or travel overseas. You can claim some welfare payments such as the Jobseeker’s Allowance if you are searching for work in a European Economic Area country.

If Your Circumstances Change

What if your circumstances change when you are abroad? You might change your home address or your marital status. You must contact HMRC and you will need to know your National Insurance number when you do.

Note: There are further implications with tax if you return to the UK. Thus, you must also inform HMRC if you come back to live in the United Kingdom.

Future Visits to the United Kingdom

As a rule, you do not need to become a resident to make visits to the United Kingdom. But, it will depend on the purpose of your visit and for how long you intend to stay.

Those who work full-time abroad can usually visit the UK for up to 90 days. That is providing they work for no more than 30 of these days.

Starting new activities again (once you have left) may mean you become a UK resident again. Typical examples include getting involved in a business or buying a new property.

Note: You should check your residence status if you are unsure how certain activities in the UK can affect it.

Income Tax Leaving the United Kingdom to Live Abroad