So, You Think You Are Not UK Domiciled?
Updated: Mar 15
Don’t die before you read this!
There are four classes of UK domicile:
Domicile of origin
Every person receives at birth a domicile of origin. A legitimate child born in the lifetime of his or her father has the father's domicile at the time of their birth. In other circumstances the domicile of origin may be that of the mother at the time of the child's birth.
Domicile of dependency
Domicile of dependency occurs where the relevant parent changes their domicile before the child has attained the age of 16. Consequently the child's domicile changes with that of the parent.
Domicile of choice
Domicile of choice can arise where a person takes up residence in a new jurisdiction with the intention of fixing his sole or chief residence there permanently or indefinitely. Strong evidence is required for a change of a person's domicile of origin to that of choice. Convincing steps must be taken to show a different country has become their homeland and ties with the UK have been severed. Just acquiring residency in another country does not necessarily result in a change of domicile.
HMRC states in its manual that "an individual might genuinely believe he or she is domiciled in a particular territory, but objective analysis of the facts could prove that belief to be wrong. Domicile is a personal matter. During the course of any enquiry in this area personal information will have to be obtained and reviewed.
The nature of such information can be extremely wide ranging, deeply personal, time consuming to provide and involve not only the individual but also family and close friends."
HMRC has published a four-page list of information and documents they might request under HMRC RDRM23080. This gives an idea of the scope and depth of evidence that might have to be provided during an enquiry into where an individual is domiciled. It states that it is important to ensure a complete picture of an individual's background, lifestyle and intentions is obtained.
Establishing your intention is a matter of fact. HMRC or UK Courts would be likely to look back at your life and attempt to infer your overall intentions. Whilst an individual would need to act as though they wanted to live overseas forever rather than simply saying it was the intention to do so, making a written statement to this effect can be persuasive.
Methods of establishing your intention
Two of the preferred methods of doing this is firstly to include a statement, appropriately worded, within your Will. Secondly by making a Statutory Declaration. This is more formal than a simple deed and would require to be notarised. When taken together with other evidence both statements can be highly advantageous in persuading HMRC that an individual had established a non-UK domicile of choice.
Even if an individual is accepted to be non-UK domiciled, assets held in the UK at the time of passing away can be assessed to inheritance tax. Consideration should be given to moving these to such jurisdictions as the Isle of Man or Channel Islands.
For further information and assistance in these matters please contact us by calling 26 600780 / 99 147650. Alternatively, please complete a contact form below.