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COVID-19: Exceptional circumstances for UK tax residence test

20 March: The number of days a person spends in the UK is critical in determining tax residence, but HMRC may be sympathetic during the COVID-19 pandemic. ICAEW's Tax Faculty gives an overview of the situation.

HMRC has extended its guidance on determining UK tax residence to cover the COVID-19 pandemic and exceptional circumstances.

An individual’s residence in the UK for tax purposes is determined by a statutory residence test and the number of days spent in the UK is a key factor. The rules for counting days take account of situations where an individual’s presence in the UK is due to exceptional circumstances beyond their control.

HMRC has indicated that it will look sympathetically at any individual case where the pandemic has caused difficulties. At this stage HMRC does not plan to issue any further guidance on this issue and the wider rules such as the 60 day annual limit are still in place and relevant.