Taxation in United Kingdom
The sections below provide the basic information on taxation in United Kingdom.
|Taxable Income Band £||National Income Tax Rates|
|1 - 37,500||20%|
|37,501 - 150,000||40%|
|Scottish Taxable Income Band £||Scottish Income Tax Rates|
|1 - 2,049||19%|
|2,050 - 12,444||20%|
|12,445 - 30,930||21%|
|30,931 - 150,000||41%|
At the time of writing, 31 January 2020 marked the final step of this stage in the Brexit process and the UK left the EU at 11pm on 31 January 2020. From this date, the UK has entered a transition or implementation period lasting until 31 December 2020, during which it will need to comply with EU rules and laws.
The EU will now send a diplomatic note to more than 160 countries with whom the EU has international agreements, notifying them that the EU will treat the UK "as a Member State of the Union and of Euratom for the purposes of [their] international agreements" until the end of the transition period and effectively asking them in return to treat the UK as a Member State until the end of the transition period.
Although, under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK must comply with all obligations under EU agreements (including agreements on aviation and security as well as trade deals), the Withdrawal Agreement is only binding between the EU and the UK. Non-EU countries could decide not to treat the UK as part of the EU.
A tax free personal allowance of £12,500 is available to certain taxpayers. The personal allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of "adjusted net income" over £100,000.
The 2018-2019 tax year was the first year that the Scottish Parliament used its powers to impose different rates and thresholds from the rest of the U.K.
From 6 April 2019, the Welsh Assembly can set part of the income tax rate. The current rates for Welsh taxpayers are the same as the U.K. excluding Scotland rates shown above.
The rates for dividends are 7.5%, 32.5% and 38.1%.
The rates for capital gains realised on disposals other than those realised on residential property disposals are 10% and 20%. For gains realised on disposal of residential property the rates are 18% and 28%. In addition, there is a rate of 10% for capital gains that qualify for entrepreneurs' relief.
The taxation of individuals in the U.K. is determined by residence and domicile status.
Tax residents are liable to U.K. tax on their worldwide income. However, individuals who are regarded as not domiciled in the U.K. may elect to not be liable to U.K. tax on offshore income and capital gains if the funds are not remitted to the U.K. (this is known as the "remittance basis").
Non-residents are subject to tax on U.K.-source income, such as compensation attributable to U.K. workdays and certain U.K.-source investment income.
Employment income - An employee is prima facie taxed on all remuneration and benefits from employment received during a tax year ending on 5 April. An employee is taxable not only on basic salary but also on most perquisites or benefits in kind.
All salaries, fees and benefits in kind earned by directors are taxable as employment income.
Individuals who are resident are taxed on their worldwide employment income.
From 6 April 2013, a new form of overseas workdays' relief is potentially available.
This is available for U.K. tax residents who are non-domiciled, if they have not been U.K. tax resident throughout the preceding three U.K. tax years and if the remittance basis is claimed and the remuneration related to those overseas workdays is both paid and retained offshore.
Overseas workdays' relief is likely to apply to the U.K. tax year in which the individual first becomes U.K. tax resident and to the two subsequent U.K. tax years.
Remuneration from certain specific employment contracts for non-domiciled individuals with non-U.K. employers under which no duties of the employment are performed in the U.K. may also be taxable on the remittance basis, but following the reform of the related law, effective from April 2014, additional conditions must be met, which means the income from such contracts is much more likely to be taxable as it arises.
Tax is normally deducted from employment income at source under the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) system.
Self-employment income - Self-employment income includes income from a trade, profession or vocation. Whether a person is considered to be employed or self-employed is determined by the individual's particular circumstances and as a matter of fact.
Tax is charged on the profits or gains of trades, professions and vocations carried out wholly or partly in the U.K. by U.K. residents. A business carried out wholly overseas by a U.K. resident individual is regarded as foreign income and, consequently, may be taxed on a remittance basis if the individual is eligible and claims the remittance basis.
A non-resident individual is charged on any business exercised within the U.K., or on the part of the trade carried on in the U.K. if the trade is carried on partly in the U.K. and partly overseas.
From 6 April 2017, a £1,000 trading allowance is available. If the allowance covers all the trading income before expenses, the income is not taxable and not reportable. If this is not the case, the individual has the option of deducting his or her expenses or using the allowance. The allowance cannot be claimed by partnerships and cannot be claimed if rent-a-room relief is claimed.
Trading losses may be offset against a taxpayer's total taxable income in both the year the loss is incurred and in the preceding year. If the current-year loss cannot be fully offset against the current or preceding-year trading income, the balance can be used to offset capital gains for that year (after the current-year capital loss has been used). Special rules provide for the carry back of losses incurred in early trading years. In addition, a taxpayer may carry forward unused trading losses to offset future income from the same trade. Special rules apply at the cessation of an individual's trade or business.
Investment income - For tax years up to and including the 2015/16 tax year (ended 5 April 2016), income from most investments in the U.K. was received after tax was withheld or paid at source wholly or in part. Effective from 6 April 2016, a new regime applies.
For UK dividends, the tax credit regime that previously applied has also been abolished, effective from 6 April 2016. Instead, tax-payers are potentially entitled to a dividend allowance of up to £2,000 (£5,000 before 1 April 2017), so that the first £2,000 of dividend income received in the tax year is effectively taxed at 0%. For dividends in excess of the allowance, the following rates apply:
Although the first £2,000 of dividend income is tax-free, it is still taken into account in determining the taxpayer's marginal tax rate and any entitlement to the personal savings allowance as explained below.
Effective from 6 April 2016, a new personal savings allowance applies for other investment income such as bank interest.
UK banks and building societies are no longer required to deduct basic rate tax at source from any interest income paid by them. The personal savings allowance is set at £1,000 for basic rate taxpayers and £500 for higher rate taxpayers. Additional rate taxpayers are not entitled to a savings allowance. It is not a deduction from taxable income, but it is effectively and amount of savings that may be taxed at 0%
Investment income in excess of the savings allowance is subject to income tax at the taxpayer's marginal tax rate.
Any income from U.K. leased property is taxed at the rates applicable to earned income (20%, 40% and 45%). Leasing agents for non-resident landlords should withhold the basic tax rate of 20%, unless HMRC issues a direction to them authorising gross payment to the landlord. Income tax on property income is charged on the net profit from rentals after deduction of qualifying expenses, such as repairs and maintenance but not depreciation, which is not a qualifying expense for U.K. tax purposes. Mortgage interest paid in prior years was a fully deductible expense, but this deduction is being phased out over three UK tax years, starting from 6 April 2017, so that from 6 April 2020, it will no longer apply. An alternative deduction that will be limited to a maximum of basic rate tax relief on the disallowed mortgage interest will apply instead.
The net profit is calculated in accordance with UK rules even if the rental income arises from foreign leased property and is taxed on the remittance basis. A 10% wear-and-tear allowance that was allowed as a standard deduction on property that was leased furnished is abolished, effective from 6 April 2016. Going forward, a deduction may be claimed for actual expenditure on replacement of furniture and fittings used in property income business.
From 6 April 2017 a £1,000 property allowance is available. If the allowance covers all the property income before expenses, the income is not taxable and not reportable. If this is not the case, the individual has the choice of deducting his or her expenses or the allowance.
U.K.-domiciled and resident individuals are usually liable to U.K. tax on their worldwide investment income.
Individuals who are not domiciled but are resident in the U.K. are also usually liable to U.K. tax on investment income from U.K. sources. However, they may claim to have their investment income from any non-U.K. source income taxed on the remittance basis.
Non-resident individuals are liable to U.K. tax on investment income from a U.K. sources only regardless of their domicile status.
Stock options and share-based incentive schemes - Detailed, complicated legislation applies to the taxation of share incentives provided to employees by their employers. The legislation applies to "securities," which includes, but is not limited to, shares in the employer company. The application depends on the specific plan rules. As a result, professional advice should be taken on the implications of this law in any particular case.
Different rules apply for approved and unapproved schemes.
The UK levies various real estate transfer taxes on transactions involving the acquisition of any estate, interest, right or power in or over land in the UK and certain partnerships that hold UK real estate. The real estate transfer taxes cover the following:
Although these taxes are similar, differences exist, most notably to the rates and bands.
Since 1 April 2013, an annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED) applies to non-natural persons holding U.K. residential property (if an individual does not own the residential property directly, but owns it, for example, through a company, this tax may apply).
There was an initial valuation date of 1 April 2012, which applied to properties valued at more than £2 million owned on or before this date. The regime was extended several times and its current form is that effective from 1 April 2016, properties valued at more than £500,000 as of 1 April 2012 (or on purchase if later) are in scope of the ATED.
There are fixed revaluation dates whereby property (including property acquired after 1 April 2012) must be revalued every five years from 1 April 2012. A subsequent revaluation occurred on 1 April 2017 and is used effective from the ATED year beginning on 1 April 2018. Accordingly, for the ATED period beginning in April 2019, properties valued at more than £500,000 as of 1 April 2017 (or on purchase if later) are in scope of the ATED.
The following are the chargeable amounts of ATED for 1 April 2019 through 31 March 2020.
|Property value||Annual charge(£)|
|More than £500,000 but not more than £1 million||3,650|
|More than £1 million but not more than £2 million||7,400|
|More than £2 million but not more than £5 million||24,800|
|More than £5 million but not more than £10 million||57,900|
|More than £10 million but not more than £20 million||116,100|
|More than £20 million||232,350|
In general, National Insurance contributions are payable on the earnings of individuals who work in the U.K. Special arrangements apply to individuals working temporarily in or outside of the U.K. Under certain conditions, an employee is exempt from contributions for the first 52 weeks of employment in the U.K.
The contribution for an employed individual is made in two parts —a primary contribution from the employee and a secondary contribution from the employer. For 2019–20, the employee contribution is payable at a rate of 12% on weekly earnings between £166 and £962 and at a rate of 2% on weekly earnings in excess of £962. The employer contributes at a rate of 13.8% on an employee's earnings above £166, with no ceiling.
Employers must also pay National Insurance contributions on the provision of taxable benefits in kind (for example, employer-provided car or housing).
Different rules apply to self-employed individuals. For 2019–20, a weekly contribution of £3.00 is due if annual profits are expected to exceed £6,365. In addition, a self-employed individual must make a profit-related contribution on business profits or gains, which is collected together with income tax. The 2019–20 profit-related contribution rates are 9% on annual profits ranging from £8,632 to £50,000 and 2% on annual profits in excess of £50,000. Non-resident self-employed individuals are not subject to profit-related contributions.
If income is doubly taxed in two or more countries, relief for double taxation is typically available through a foreign tax credit or exemption. The relief usually takes the form of a foreign tax credit if an individual is resident in the U.K. for the purpose of a double tax treaty. In this case, any foreign taxes paid on doubly taxed income can be taken as credit against the U.K. tax liability on the same source of income. The credit that can be claimed is limited to the lesser of the foreign taxes paid or the amount of equivalent U.K. tax on the doubly taxed income. In the absence of a treaty with the country imposing the foreign tax, unilateral relief may be claimed under U.K. domestic law.
If an individual is resident in the U.K. and treaty-resident in a country with which the U.K. has entered into a double tax treaty, a claim may be made in the U.K. to exempt from U.K. tax the income that would otherwise be taxed in both countries if the treaty contains the relevant articles.
The U.K. has entered into double tax treaties with 131 countries covering taxes on income and capital gains.
Effective from 6 April 2013, the U.K. applies a comprehensive statutory residence test (SRT) to determine whether an individual is resident in the U.K. Professional advice should be obtained for any queries regarding the different rules that applied before 6 April 2013.
Under the SRT, any individual who has not been U.K. resident in any of the preceding three U.K. tax years is generally regarded as conclusively non-resident if they spend no more than 45 days in the U.K. in any U.K. tax year. Other tests may also apply under which a taxpayer is regarded as conclusively non-resident, the most common of which is the test applying to an individual who meets the conditions for full-time work abroad (FTWA) during the tax year. This term has a statutory definition under the SRT and is very different from the previous practice.
An individual coming to the U.K. is likely to be regarded as conclusively U.K. tax resident if they do not meet any conditions to be regarded as conclusively U.K. non-resident and satisfies any of the following conditions:
Particular rules apply to individuals who have relevant jobs in international transport, such as air crew. These rules exclude them from the FTWA and FTWUK tests.
For an individual who is neither conclusively resident nor conclusively non-resident, a sufficient ties test applies under the SRT. The sufficient ties test looks at the number of connection factors that the individual has with the U.K. and the number of days spent in the U.K. Five possible connection factors can apply to determine the extent of the individual's connection to the U.K., and the more connection factors that an individual has, the fewer days they may spend in the U.K. in a tax year without becoming U.K. tax resident. The following are the five connection factors that an individual may have:
An individual who has not been tax resident in the U.K. in any one of the preceding 3 tax years does not become a U.K. resident in the following circumstances:
Complex statutory definitions apply in all cases. A day is usually counted as a day of presence if the individual is in the U.K. at midnight but an additional rule can also apply if the individual has three U.K. connection factors, has been U.K. tax resident during any of the preceding three U.K. tax years and has more than 30 days in the U.K. when they are in the U.K. during the day but absent at midnight.
In principle, residence is determined for a tax year as a whole, but under the SRT a taxpayer who is U.K. tax resident may be eligible for split-year treatment in certain circumstances. If the conditions are met, non-U.K. income and gains of the overseas part of the U.K. tax year concerned are generally not subject to U.K. tax.
Under English law, an individual's domicile is the country considered to be their permanent home, even though they may be currently resident in another country. It may be a domicile of origin, choice or dependency.
Effective from 6 April 2017, individuals who are non-U.K. domiciled are deemed to have a U.K. domicile for income tax purposes if they have been resident in the U.K. for more than 15 out of the 20 tax years immediately preceding the current tax year. In addition, if an individual with a U.K. domicile of origin has acquired a non-U.K. domicile of choice, it was possible for them to maintain that non-U.K. domicile of choice in the event that they returned to the U.K. for a limited period. Effective from 6 April 2017, such individuals are deemed to be domiciled in the U.K. from the date on which they return. If such individuals returned to the U.K. before 6 April 2017, they are deemed domiciled from that date.
Domicile status affects how an individual's offshore income and/or capital gains are taxed. A non-U.K.-domiciled individual can have their offshore income and/or offshore capital gains taxed on either the remittance basis or the arising basis. An individual who is taxable on the arising basis is subject to U.K. tax on their worldwide income and capital gains, regardless of where they arise.
An individual who is taxed on the remittance basis can potentially keep certain of their foreign income and gains outside the scope of U.K. tax by having them paid offshore and not subsequently remitting them to or enjoying them in the U.K. "Remittance" is widely defined to include direct and indirect remittance, and professional advice should be taken as necessary to determine when the remittance basis may be claimed.
Individuals who claim the remittance basis lose the tax-free personal tax allowance for income tax and also lose the annual exemption for capital gains tax for that tax year. In addition, individuals who have been resident in at least seven of the preceding nine UK tax years must pay an additional remittance basis charge (RBC) for each year for which the claim to be taxed on the remittance basis is made.
As a result of the complexities of the remittance basis rules, and the potential interaction with double tax treaties, professional advice should be sought from the outset.
An individual who is resident and domiciled in the U.K. is taxed on gains arising on disposals of assets located anywhere in the world. However, an individual who is resident but not domiciled in the U.K. who elects to be taxed on the remittance basis for that year is taxed on disposals of overseas assets only if the proceeds are remitted to the U.K. In this case, the gain element of the sale proceeds is regarded as being remitted ahead of the capital. All individuals who are subject to U.K. capital gains tax (CGT) are entitled to an annual CGT exemption, but this is lost if the remittance basis is claimed.
Effective from 6 April 2013, individuals who leave the U.K. during the year and who are considered resident before departure and who qualify for split-year treatment under the SRT are not normally chargeable to CGT on gains realised in the non-resident part of the tax year. However, individuals who, on departure, had been resident in the U.K. for four out of seven of the preceding U.K. tax years remain subject to "temporary non-residence" rules if their period of absence from the U.K. does not last for at least five years.
If the temporary non-residence rules apply, gains arising on the disposal of assets owned before the period of temporary non-residence that are sold during the period of temporary non-residence are subject to CGT in the U.K. tax year in which the taxpayer returns to the U.K. and resumes tax residence (year of arrival). Gains on the disposal of assets acquired in a period of non-residence and sold while the individual is still non-resident are not subject to U.K. CGT. Likewise, individuals who arrive in the U.K. during the year, who are considered resident, who are eligible for split-year treatment and who are not subject to temporary non-residence rules are normally taxed only on gains realised after the date on which they are treated as becoming U.K. tax resident under the split-year provisions.
From April 2019, the UK government has widened the scope of non-resident Capital Gains Tax (NRCGT) to bring non-residents into the charge of UK CGT on gains made on the direct or indirect disposal of UK immovable property. For non-residential property, the property is rebased to market value at 6 April 2019, meaning that only the change in value from that date onward will be subject to UK tax. Non-residents also have the option to use original cost rather than the April 2019 value if this results in a more favourable outcome. Sales of residential property do not benefit from a rebasing in April 2019; however, a further election is available to calculate the taxable gain on a proportionate basis.
In addition, indirect disposals of UK land are subject to UK CGT if the disposal is of an entity that is considered "property rich" and if the non-resident owner holds or has held at least a 25% interest in that entity at some point within the two years prior to the sale of the entity. For all indirect disposals of "property rich" entities, the value of shares is rebased to the April 2019 market value. Disposals with an appropriate connection to a collective investment vehicle (potentially including limited partnerships, unit trusts and UK real estate investment trusts) do not benefit from the 25% ownership test such that even a disposal of a small percentage holding would fall within the rules.
Individuals will need to file an NRCGT return and settle any tax due within 30 days after the disposal. Penalties for late filing and late payment apply. Professional advice should be taken as necessary.
Various reliefs are available for CGT. The most common relief is main residence relief, which exempts all or part of a gain that arises on a property that an individual has used as their only or main home, if certain conditions are met.
Entrepreneurs' relief is a relief available to taxpayers who sell or give away their businesses. This relief aims to reduce the rate of capital gains tax on qualifying disposals to 10%. Gains are eligible for entrepreneurs' relief up to a maximum lifetime limit, which is currently £10 million.
Many other reliefs are available, including rollover relief for disposals of certain business assets.
The annual exemption for the 2019-20 tax year is £12,000. This exemption is forfeited if a claim for the remittance basis is made for the tax year.
For gains realised on disposals other than those realised on residential property disposals made during the 2019/20 tax year, a 10% rate applies to chargeable gains that fall within the individual's basic rate band limit, after taking into account income as calculated for income tax purposes. Chargeable gains in excess of the basic rate band are charged at a rate of 20%. For gains on residential property and earned interest, the applicable rates are 18% for basic rate taxpayers and 28% for higher and additional rate taxpayers.
Capital losses can be automatically deducted from capital gains in the same year. Any allowable unused capital losses may be carried forward indefinitely to relieve future gains. Losses realised by non-domiciled taxpayers who have claimed the remittance basis are not normally regarded as capital losses except in certain circumstances.
Inheritance tax (IHT) may be levied on the estate of a deceased person who was domiciled in the U.K. or who was not domiciled in the U.K, but owned assets situated there. An individual who does not have a U.K. domicile for IHT purposes is taxed only on U.K.-situated assets and from 6 April 2017, "UK residential property interests" held via certain non-UK trusts, companies and partnerships. For these purposes, a "UK residential property interest" is widely defined and includes certain loans and collateral provided with respect to UK residential property. For IHT purposes, U.K. domicile is extended to apply to individuals who were resident in the UK for 15 of the past 20 tax years with effect from 6 April 2017 (previously, 17 out of the last 20 years for the period up to 6 April 2017).
Other recent changes include that an individual born in the UK with a UK domicile of origin at birth, who later acquires a non-UK domicile of choice, is treated as being UK domiciled for IHT purposes when the individual resumes UK residence (if the individual has been UK resident for at least one of the two preceding tax years).
In addition, there is a "run-off period" during which deemed domicile status for UK IHT purposes endures for a non-UK resident. This applies if deemed domicile status has been acquired under the 15-out-of-20-years rule. Once deemed domiciled, the individual will need to spend at least four UK tax years outside the UK before losing his or her deemed tax domicile status for UK IHT.
The inheritance tax rate is 40% for the estate on death. A nil rate band of £325,000 applies for 2019–20. Any unused allowance of a spouse or civil partner may be transferred to the second deceased's estate proportionally, provided the second death occurs after 9 October 2007.
Effective from 6 April 2017, a new main residence transferable nil rate band applies if a "main residence" is passed onto a direct descendant. Broadly, this means a child or grandchild and includes adopted children, foster children and stepchildren. It does not include nieces and nephews. The definition of main residence is very similar to the definition currently applicable to principal private residence relief for CGT. A property that was never a residence of the deceased such as a buy-to-lease property will not qualify. The allowance was initially set as £100,000 in 2017-18, increasing to £125,000 in 2018-19, £150,000 in 2019-20 and to £175,000 in 2020-21. A tapered withdrawal of the additional nil-rate band is provided for estates with a net value of more than £2 million. The withdrawal rate is £1 for every £2 over this threshold.
IHT is also levied on gifts made by the deceased within seven years before death and on certain other lifetime gifts. Various exemptions and reliefs are available.
To prevent double taxation, the U.K. has entered into inheritance tax treaties with ten countries.
Income tax and social security contributions on cash earnings are normally collected under the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) system. All employers must use the PAYE system to deduct tax and social security contributions from wages or salaries.
Although expense reimbursements and many noncash benefits are not directly subject to PAYE withholding, they must be reported to HMRC by employers after the end of the tax year and by employees on their tax returns.
The U.K. has a self-assessment tax system. Under the self-assessment system, individuals who receive a notice to file a tax return from HMRC may choose to have HMRC calculate and assess their tax liability or to calculate and assess the tax due themselves.
If tax is due as calculated on the return, it must be paid by 31 January following the end of the tax year. Provisional on account payments of tax on income not subject to withholding are usually payable in 2 instalments, on 31 January in the tax year and on the following 31 July.
Each instalment must equal 50% of the previous year's income tax liability not withheld at source.
Interest is automatically charged on tax not paid by the due dates. Further penalties apply for late payment of tax and late submission of tax returns.
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The Tax section is provided by EY in accordance with their Terms and Conditions This link opens in a new window . EY accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of this information. By using this information you are accepting the terms under which EY is making the content available to you based on the legislation and practices of the country concerned as of 1 July 2019 by EY and published in its Worldwide personal tax guide, 2019-20. Tax legislation and administrative practices may change, and this document is a summary of potential issues to consider. This document should not be used as a substitute for professional tax advice which should be sought for the country of arrival and departure in advance of moving in order to discuss your circumstances. It is your responsibility to ensure you make all relevant disclosures to the tax authorities and that you are compliant with local tax legislation.
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