Important tax changes for non-doms
Significant changes affecting the UK tax status of non-domiciled individuals (non-doms) take effect on 6 April 2017 – and have far-reaching consequences for the majority of those who have previously enjoyed the tax breaks associated with non-dom status, regardless of whether they were initially born overseas or in the UK.
The remittance basis and the new 15/20-year rule
Under the new changes, non-domiciled individuals who have been a resident in the UK for 15 of the past 20 financial years will now be considered domiciled in the UK for all associated tax purposes, regardless of when they arrived.
This legislative change, known as ‘the 15/20-year rule’ effectively means that such individuals will no longer be entitled to claim the remittance basis for Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax (CGT) purposes. This means that those affected will be subject to UK tax on their worldwide income and gains.
Furthermore, for those who previously had a domicile of origin in the UK and later moved abroad, thus acquiring a domicile elsewhere, their UK domiciled status will be immediately reinstated if they return to the UK.
Non-doms’ residential property subject to UK Inheritance Tax
As of 6 April 2017, non-doms who hold UK residential property indirectly through an overseas intermediary, such as an offshore trust, will see such properties subject to UK Inheritance Tax (IHT).
Previously, residential property held in such structures would be overlooked as ‘excluded’, but under the new rules, such property – however held – will be within the scope of IHT. This means that UK IHT will be payable upon any significant IHT event, including a death, gift or ten year anniversary of a trust.
Grace period for ‘mixed funds’
Non-doms with offshore funds made up of untaxed foreign income and gains will be granted a grace period of two years from April 2017’ to rearrange these mixed funds, sell any assets and separate any funds into their constituent parts of foreign income, foreign gains and clean capital. The latter can then be remitted from their segregated clean capital account in line with previous rules.
This gives an opportunity for people to reorganise their affairs to benefit more from the remittance basis where this is still available, or where it has been used previously, as those old unremitted monies remain liable to UK tax under the remittance basis, even if they are now subject to tax on an arising basis.
Under these rules, excluded property trusts can be used as an important planning tool as they will remain an effective way of sheltering assets from UK Inheritance Tax before an individual becomes domicile.
This will also apply to those who are newly ‘deemed domiciled’ under the 15/20-year rule.
If you are concerned that these important changes to the taxation of non-doms are likely to affect you, please contact us. If you are able to get in touch sooner rather than later, our experts can determine the wider implications of these tax changes, how you will be personally affected and how we might be able to help you to mitigate any potentially heavy tax charges.
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Figures released by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) show that the UK’s tax gap – the difference between tax owed and actual receipts – is continuing to fall.
The Revenue has revealed that the tax gap for the 2016-17 tax year was 5.7 per cent, down from six per cent in the previous year and 7.3 per cent in 2005-06. It says that, had the tax gap not fallen, a total of £71 billion less tax would have been collected last year.
The figures show that of the total tax that was unpaid, the largest proportion was from small businesses, with £13.7 billion not paid.
According to HMRC, taxpayer error was nearly twice as likely as criminality to be the culprit for missing tax, with errors costing the Revenue £9.2 billion in lost income, while criminality cost £5.4 billion.
Meanwhile, Income Tax, National Insurance and Capital Gains Tax had the biggest tax gap at £7.9 billion. The VAT gap, on the other hand, has fallen from 12.5 per cent in 2015-06 to 8.9 per cent in 2016-17.
Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “These really positive figures show that the tax gap is the lowest in the last five years, which reflects the hard work that HMRC and I have been doing to ensure we support businesses to pay the right tax at the right time and clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance.
“Collecting taxes is essential for funding our vital public services such as the NHS – indeed, had the tax gap remained at its 2005/06 level the UK would have lost £71 billion in revenue destined for public services, enough to build 200 hospitals.”
Jon Thompson, Chief Executive of HMRC, added: “The UK is the only country in the world to regularly publish their tax gap in detail and at 5.7 per cent, it remains at its lowest for five years. I am pleased that the downward trend shows HMRC and HM Treasury’s continued hard work to tackle evasion and avoidance is working.
“HMRC is also working hard to help taxpayers get their tax right by offering support and investing in digital services to improve businesses’ record keeping and reduce errors.”
The Revenue is now touting the forthcoming launch of its flagship Making Tax Digital programme as the latest weapon in its arsenal as it looks to reduce the tax gap further.