From 6 April 2013 a three-part statutory test applies to determine whether or not an individual is UK resident in a tax year (which in the UK runs from 6 April to the following 5 April).

Automatic Overseas Tests

You will not be UK resident in a tax year if you:

  • are present in the UK for less than 46 days and were not resident in the UK in any of the three previous tax years, or
  • are present in the UK for less than 16 days and were resident in the UK in one or more of the previous three tax years, or
  • work sufficient hours overseas (broadly 35 or more per week) and are present in the UK for less than 91 days and fewer than 31 of these days are spent working (for more than three hours a day) in the UK.

Automatic UK Tests

You will be UK resident in a tax year if you are not automatically non-UK resident under the above test and you:

  • are present in the UK for 183 days or more, or
  • work sufficient hours in the UK (broadly 35 or more per week) assessed over a period of 365 days, or
  • have a home in the UK for all or part of the tax year at which you are present on at least 30 days in that tax year and, for at least one period of 91 consecutive days (at least 30 of which fall within that tax year), while you have that UK home, you either:
    • have no home overseas, or
    • are present at your home overseas (or if more than one, at each of them) on fewer than 30 days in the tax year.

Sufficient Ties Test

If your residence cannot be determined by either of the above tests, the ‘ties’ (i.e. connections) you have with the UK will need to be considered. There are five different ties:

  • Family tie – your spouse/civil partner or common law equivalent or minor child/children are UK resident
  • Work tie – you work in the UK for at least 40 days (for more than three hours a day)
  • Accommodation tie – you have a place to live in the UK (i.e. a home, a holiday home or accommodation otherwise available to you) which is available for a continuous period of at least 91 days in the tax year and you spend at least one night there in that year
  • 90 day tie - you spent more than 90 days in the UK in either of the previous two tax years
  • Country tie – you spent more days in the UK in that tax year than in any other single country (this tie only applies to “leavers” - see further below).

The more ties you have with the UK, the less time you can spend here without being UK resident. The precise number of days depends on when you were last UK resident.

“Arrivers”

If you were not resident in any of the three tax years preceding the year under consideration, you will need to count the number of days you spend in the UK and, if necessary, determine which, if any, of the family, work, accommodation or 90 day ties you have with the UK and determine your residence status as follows:

Click here to view table.

“Leavers”

If you were resident in one or more of the three tax years immediately preceding the tax year under consideration you will need to count your days of UK presence and, if necessary, determine which, if any, of the family, work, accommodation, 90 day or country ties you have with the UK and determine your residence status as follows:

Click here to view table.

Comment

The automatic tests are slightly altered for certain individuals whose job it is to travel in and out of the UK (e.g. pilots, ships crew etc) and there are special provisions to determine residence status on death.

The definition of “days” spent in the UK is the same as under the old regime i.e. a day in which you are present at midnight, unless in transit. There are provisions to discount days spent in the UK due to exceptional circumstances. In contrast there are also anti-avoidance provisions to include certain days where you are not present at midnight, targeting previous UK residents with a significant number of UK ties who frequently visit the UK but arrive and leave on the same day.

Some of the tests depend upon your residence status in the previous three tax years. If any of them fall before 2013/14, this is normally assessed under the old rules. However, there are limited transitional provisions whereby you may instead make an election to HMRC to determine your residence status for any of those previous years by applying the Statutory Residence Test, for the purposes of these tests only.

When you arrive in or leave the UK midway through the tax year, specific statutory split year rules may apply to allow you to be taxed as a non-UK resident for part of that year. Where the split-year rules do not apply, you will be taxed as a UK resident, for the whole of the tax year.

Conclusion

The Statutory Residence Test should make it easier for most people to work out whether or not they are UK resident. However some areas of uncertainty remain. For instance many of the definitions used, such as of “work”, “home”, “family” and “available accommodation” are complex, unclear and specific to the legislation. Consequently, your residence status may not always be what you expect. It is therefore important that you seek advice before making any assumptions about your residence status. You may need to keep very precise records of the number of hours and days you spend in a particular place and be mindful of the relevant limits when planning your movements.