In this section:
  • Tax when leaving the UK

Tax when leaving the UK

When you leave the UK you need to work out whether there is any change to your tax affairs and notify HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). You may need to complete a Self Assessment tax return and you might be able to claim some tax back.

On this page:

What to do when you are leaving the UK

You must tell HMRC if you're:

  • leaving the UK to live or work abroad
  • returning home or moving to another country after a period of living and working in the UK

If you're not required to fill in a tax return, you'll have to complete form P85 'Leaving the UK - getting your tax right' by following the link below. Please read the 'About this form' section on the form carefully before deciding whether or not you should complete it.

HMRC will use the information on the form to send you any tax refund you're owed and work out if you'll become non-resident. It's important you enclose parts 2 and 3 of form P45 if you have one as HMRC will not be able to make any tax refund you are owed without them. You'll need to send the original versions - photocopies won't be accepted.

If you're leaving the UK to work full-time abroad for a UK based employer for at least a complete tax year, you'll need to fill in a tax return as well as a form P85.

Please note that you cannot reclaim any National Insurance contributions you paid as part of your job in the UK.

Go to form P85

Work out whether you need to complete a tax return

You may need to complete a tax return if you:

  • have been self-employed in the UK - you will need to declare your earnings for the period you worked in the tax year up until the date you left
  • keep any UK income or assets (such as property or investments) after you have left the country

The guide below gives more information about who might need to complete a UK tax return when they have left the UK. If you're still not sure whether you need to complete a tax return when you leave the UK, you should contact HMRC.

Filing a tax return if you live or work outside the UK

Contact HMRC

Decide whether you wish to continue paying National Insurance contributions

If you're planning eventually to claim a UK State Pension or to return to live in the UK, you should consider whether you wish to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions while you are away and, if so, how you want to make these payments.

You can find out more about National Insurance for non residents in the guides below.

Voluntary National Insurance contributions when you live abroad

National Insurance contributions when you work outside the UK

Check whether your National Insurance contributions will count towards your State Pension in your home country

If you are leaving to return to your home country, or moving on to another country, you won't be able to claim any of your National Insurance contributions back. But the contributions you made in the UK may count towards your State Pension in the other country, if it has a social security agreement with the UK. Check which countries have social security agreements with the UK by following the link below.

Find out about Social Security Agreement countries on the DWP website (Opens new window)

Work out if you are still eligible for tax credits or Child Benefit while you are away

If you are entitled to tax credits or Child Benefit in the UK, you may still be able to receive them after you have left. This will depend on how long you are leaving for and what country you are going to. For more information, follow the links below.

Going abroad temporarily and claiming tax credits

Child Benefit if you're living or working abroad

Top

If you become not resident for UK tax

If you leave the UK and become 'not resident' you will pay UK tax only on your income and, in some circumstances, your capital gains from the UK.

But just because you leave the UK, it does not mean that you are automatically not resident. Your residence status will depend on:

  • the purpose of your time abroad
  • how often you visit the UK after you have left
  • the purpose of your visits to the UK
  • what connections you keep in the UK, such as family, property, business and social connections

From 6 April 2013 the rules that determine if someone is resident in the UK for tax purposes have been put on a statutory basis. These rules are known as the Statutory Residence Test (SRT). For the majority of people whether or not they are resident for tax purposes is quite straightforward under the test and their position will not change. For those with complex circumstances the SRT will provide more certainty about their residence status.

The section ‘Meaning of residence and how it affects tax’ provides further detail.

Meaning of residence and how it affects your tax

Tax on UK income or capital gains for non UK residents

RDR1 Residence, Domicile and the Remittance Basis (PDF 442K)

If you leave the UK to work full time abroad

If you leave the UK to work full time abroad there are a number of things that you must consider and HMRC recommends that you read part 8.5 of booklet HMRC6 'Residence, Domicile and the Remittance Basis'.

HMRC6 'Residence, Domicile and the Remittance Basis'

If you leave the UK part way through a tax year

In this case you may be able to claim extra-statutory concession (ESC) A11. This allows you to pay UK tax on your income only for that part of the year that you were in the UK.

There is also an extra-statutory concession (ESC) D2 that ensures that you do not normally pay Capital Gains Tax for the portion of a tax year that you are not resident or not ordinarily resident in the UK.

Read more about ESC A11 and ESC D2 in part 2.4 of the booklet HMRC6 'Residence, Domicile and the Remittance Basis'.

HMRC6 'Residence, Domicile and the Remittance Basis'

Special treatment for your husband, wife or civil partner

This can apply when one spouse goes abroad for full time employment (or to work full time in a trade, profession or vocation) and becomes not resident and not ordinarily resident from the day following their departure. If you leave the UK and become non-resident, your husband, wife or civil partner may also become non-resident if they accompany you or later join you abroad. In that case you may be able to claim extra-statutory concession (ESC) A78.

Read more about ESC A78 in part 8.9 of the booklet HMRC6 'Residence, Domicile and the Remittance Basis'.

HMRC6 'Residence, Domicile and the Remittance Basis'

Top

More useful links

Income Tax when leaving the UK

Capital Gains Tax: the basics

Top