Ordinary Residence

The concept of Ordinary Residence gives me a lot more trouble than the one of simple Residence. The Inland Revenue say that Ordinary Residence depends on where you live from year to year. They further state that you can be Ordinarily Resident even if you are not Resident and that you can be considered to be Ordinarily Resident in more than one country.

Well, can we clarify any of this any more?

Two things at least seem to be clear. If you fail the 91 day rule over a four year period, you will certainly be considered to be Ordinarily Resident. Secondly, if you pass the 91 day rule and have left the UK in order to work full time overseas under a contract of employment for a period that includes at least a whole tax year then you would normally be considered to be not Ordinarily Resident.

Clearly this leaves a grey area of those people who pass the 91 day rule but who are not working full time on a contract of employment.

Well, let us consider this case. In our context, this would seem to be a contractor who has left the UK to take up a contract in (say) Germany and is working as a freelancer and not as an employee. If the UK tax authorities deem that this person is Ordinarily Resident then they can try to tax him on his earnings in Germany so what will they look at to help in their decision?

They will look at those traces in your life that indicate to them that you used to live inthe UK and that you will one day return there. For example, they might look to see if you have:

A UK driving licence.
A car registered in the UK.
A directorship of a UK company.
A UK bank account.
Your name on the electoral role.
A wife and kids in the UK.
A house in the UK.
Membership of UK clubs and societies.
Recent appointments with doctors and dentists in the UK.
An email address or web site ending in .co.uk.

Do some of these seem far fetched? Remember, if the tax man is even thinking about these things, he is considering that he may need to make a case in court to show that you are Ordinarily Resident. So, he will be looking for as much evidence as he can find.

Having said all that, if you do meet the 91 day rule over a four year period, the tax man would be unlikely to ask these questions unless you actually gave him a good reason to do so.


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