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Markel Tax

27 Mar 2020

Statutory Residence Test and COVID-19

In some situations, days of presence in the UK do not count towards the totals of some of the day-counting parts of the statutory residence test.  These arise when ‘exceptional circumstances’ prevent a person from leaving the UK.  The legislation indicates that such circumstances are the result of life-threatening illness or injury to the individual, their spouse, partner or minor children, or because of conflict or natural disasters, or, as several years ago, when a volcano in Iceland erupted, meaning that many planes were grounded.

As of 20 March, HMRC have announced that time spent in the UK as a result of the Coronavirus may be treated as ‘exceptional days’ for the purpose of the statutory residence test. 

A day will be treated as an ‘exceptional day’ where:
  • an individual is put under quarantine as a result of the virus
  • an individual is advised by a health professional or public health guidance to self-isolate in the UK because of Coronavirus
  • official Government advice is not to travel from the UK as a result of Coronavirus
  • an individual is not able to leave the UK because international borders are closed
  • an individual is requested to return to the UK by their employer because of Coronavirus
The position may change in the coming weeks, and anyone hoping to use the ‘exceptional days’ rule should check frequently to make sure that the rule still applies to their circumstances. 

It is worth noting that not all of the day-counting tests are affected by this announcement, and whether an individual can claim these days will depend upon the terms of the statutory test under which she or he is claiming to be non-UK resident.

Finally, all taxpayers who are hoping to claim exceptional days because they have been affected by Coronavirus should be aware that the legislation itself limits the number of ‘exceptional days’ that can be claimed in a tax year to a maximum of sixty.

If you would like to discuss how these rules may apply to you or your clients, please contact Nicola Goldsmith or call 0333 920 5708.

Our COVID-19 Hub contains a range of information and resources to best support our clients during this difficult time. To receive the latest news and insights by email sign-up here.

Tagged International Tax COVID-19
Next article in series

27 Mar 2020

COVID-19 and IR35: Should your clients relax now the legislation is postponed?