Statutory Residence Test: involuntary presence in the UK

/ 26 March 2020

Chris Smith

Tax residence in the UK is determined by the number of days of presence in the UK (often in conjunction with other factors including the number of “ties” with the UK). Individuals who are carefully managing their residence status will therefore be assiduous in their day-counting.

It has always been the case that the “day-counting” rules allow you for some purposes of the Statutory Residence Test (but not all of them) to disregard days which you spend in the UK only because of “exceptional circumstances” and which you would not otherwise have spent in the UK.

HMRC have confirmed that they will treat your presence in the UK as attributable to an “exceptional circumstance” if and to the extent that you:

  • are quarantined or advised by a health professional or public health guidance to self-isolate in the UK as a result of coronavirus
  • find yourself advised by official Government advice not to travel from the UK as a result of coronavirus
  • 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 coronavirus

As HMRC say in their Residence, Domicile and Remittance Basis Manual: “Events resulting from the impact of the virus are changing rapidly and this guidance may change at short notice as situations change.” But, as things stand at present:

  • the aggregate maximum number of days that may be disregarded in any one year under the “exceptional circumstances” rule is 60; and
  • for some parts of the Statutory Residence Test, the “exceptional circumstances” rule has no application.

For further information, please get in touch with your usual BKL contact or use our enquiry form.

We also have a range of guidance and resources available via our website’s coronavirus page.

Above all, stay in and stay well.

Chris Smith

Director of Personal Tax Compliance

T +44 (0)20 8922 9160
E chris.smith@bkl.co.uk

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