The Statutory Residence Test (SRT) was introduced from the 2013/14 tax year and is used to establish whether an individual is a UK resident for tax purposes in a tax year.
Before 6 April 2013, if an individual’s residency position was challenged, the Courts would look at case law (some of the relevant cases being quite outdated and not taking into account how much smaller the world has got due to international travel being easier).
What is the purpose of the Statutory Residence Test?
What HMRC have tried to achieve with the Statutory Residence Test is the means to determine an individual’s residency by virtue of a number of objective tests, which are quite complex. This means that with the right advice an individual can with certainty plan their UK tax residency position.
How does the Statutory Residence Test work?
The Statutory Residence Test applies on a tax year by tax year basis, each tax year being from 6 April in one year until the following 5 April.
There are three sections to the SRT:
- Automatic Overseas Tests
- Automatic UK Tests
- Sufficient Ties Test
An individual is required to first consider the conditions in the Automatic Overseas Tests and, if any one of these applies, the individual will for UK tax purposes be treated as a non-resident.
If none of these conditions apply, then they are required to consider the Automatic UK Tests. If an individual meets any of these tests, then they will be considered a UK resident for the tax year.
If none of the above tests give a result, then an individual needs to determine their residence status by reviewing the criteria in the Sufficient Ties Test.
Automatic Overseas Tests
The first tests to consider are:
- The individual is not-resident in the UK for the three previous tax years, and is present in the UK for fewer than 46 days in the current year.
- They are resident in the UK for one or more of the three previous tax years, and present in the UK for fewer than 16 days in the current year.
- They work ‘full-time’ overseas in the tax year (employment or self-employment) without a significant break and limited visits to the UK, including for work.
If any of these tests apply then the individual will be non-resident in the UK for tax purposes.
Automatic UK Tests
As mentioned, if an individual does not meet any of the Automatic Overseas Tests, then the following Automatic UK Tests need to be considered:
- The individual spends at least 183 days in the UK in the tax year.
- They have a home in the UK for more than 90 consecutive days and they use the home for at least 30 days in the tax year. If they have an overseas home, they spend less than 30 days in the tax year in that property.
- The individual works ‘full-time’ in the UK without a significant break (apart from annual leave), assessed over a 365-day period part of which falls within the tax year.
If any of these tests apply, then the individual will be resident in the UK for tax purposes.
Sufficient Ties Test
If the above tests do not provide a conclusive answer, then the Sufficient Ties Test is the final test used to determine an individual’s residence position in the UK.
The number of ties an individual has to the UK determines the number of days they may spend in the UK without being treated as resident.
A different number of ties apply when the individual is considered either an 'arriver' (someone who has not been resident in the UK in any of the previous three tax years) or a 'leaver' (those who have been resident in the UK in one or more of the previous three tax years). The ties are as follows:
This exists if an individual’s spouse, civil partner, cohabiting partner or minor child is resident in the UK in the relevant tax year. Where a minor child is UK resident only because they are in full-time education, they will not be treated as UK resident if the time they spend in the UK outside of term time is limited.
If there is UK accommodation available to the individual for a continuous period of at least 91 days in the year and they spend at least one night in that accommodation. If the home is owned by a close relative, then this is not considered a tie if the individual spends fewer than 16 nights there per UK tax year.
If the individual works in employment or self-employment in the UK for 40 days or more. A workday for this tie is a day where an individual works for more than three hours a day. HMRC’s definition of working in the UK is quite wide.
The individual spent more than 90 days in the UK in at least one of the previous two tax years.
This only applies to individuals who are considered leavers and is where the individual spends more days in the UK than any other single country in the tax year.
When counting a day in the UK, it is where an individual is present in the UK at midnight, although this is subject to certain conditions where an individual is transiting through the UK.
There is also the deeming rule to consider for a leaver, who has three or more ties, and who spends a substantial number of days in the UK without being present at midnight. If they are present in the UK for more than 30 days without being present at midnight, then any more such days are considered qualifying days and are added to their day count for the purposes of the sufficient ties test.
What is a split year?
An individual is, generally speaking, either UK resident or not for a whole tax year. In the year that you move in or out of the UK, split year treatment may apply. This is where the tax year is split into two parts – a non-resident part and a resident part. Detailed conditions apply to determine whether split year treatment applies and if it does the length of each period.
How Shorts can help
Although the Statutory Residence Test can provide an individual with a clear answer on their UK tax residence, the SRT rules are complex and there are a number of factors and terms to be considered. Therefore, we recommend that an individual seeks appropriate professional advice before reviewing their tax residence under the SRT.
If you have questions relating to your situation, we encourage you to get in touch and find out how we can help you.
Tags: International Taxes