UK updates Statutory Residence Test guidance for coronavirus

The UK government has issued new guidance to non-UK resident individuals in cases where the coronavirus pandemic has impacted their ability to move freely to and from the UK or has required them to remain unexpectedly in the UK for longer than intended in respect of UK residency.

The Statutory Residence Test (SRT) was introduced in the Finance Act 2013 with the aim of clarifying UK residence for tax purposes. Where an individual is in the UK for 183 days or more in a tax year they will always be resident, irrespective of the reasons for being here.

However, it is possible to disregard up to 60 days spent in the UK due to ‘exceptional circumstances’ that are beyond the individual’s control. Whether days spent in the UK can be disregarded due to ‘exceptional circumstances’ will always depend on the facts and circumstances of each individual case.

The updated guidance in respect of the coronavirus measures states that the circumstances will be considered as ‘exceptional’ if the individual was:

  • Quarantined or advised by a health professional or public health guidance to self-isolate in the UK as a result of the virus;
  • Advised by official government advice not to travel from the UK as a result of the virus;
  • Unable to leave the UK as a result of the closure of international borders; or
  • Asked by his/her employer to return to the UK temporarily as a result of the virus.
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