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

If you are not resident in the UK you will still have to declare income you receive from UK sources or gains you make from assets in the UK, and you may have to pay tax on them. If HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) sends you a Self Assessment tax return, you must complete it. If you don't receive a tax return and you think you should complete one, you must contact HMRC.

On this page:

Understanding your residence status

To help you understand whether you are resident, 'ordinarily resident' or not resident in the UK, please follow the link below.

Meaning of residence and how it affects your tax

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When you need to complete a tax return when you are abroad

If HMRC sends you a tax return, you must complete it.

It is likely you will receive a tax return if any of the situations below apply to you.

You have income in the UK

If you are not resident, you have to declare income from the following sources:

  • fees you receive as director of a company
  • profits you receive as partner of a UK partnership
  • self employment income in the UK

You do not have to declare tax on investment income in the UK (such as dividends or interest) if this is the only source of UK income you have. For more about how investment income is taxed if you are not resident, please read the following help sheet.

Download Help Sheet 300: 'Non-residents and investment income' (PDF 77K)

If you need to declare your UK income, you should send the following completed forms to HMRC:

  • form SA100 Tax Return
  • the relevant supplementary form for the type of income you have
  • supplementary form SA109 Residence, remittance basis etc

You are not resident but do some or all of your work in the UK

You have to pay UK tax on your income from any work you do in the UK. You'll need to fill in a UK tax return for income from any work you did in the UK during the tax year, unless tax has already been deducted in full by your employer or you are entitled to relief under a double taxation agreement.

You should send the following completed forms to HMRC:

  • form SA100 Tax Return
  • supplementary form SA102 Employment (a separate page is required for each different employment during the year)
  • supplementary form SA109 Residence, remittance basis etc

Different countries have their own tax rules and laws. When you have income and capital gains from one country and are resident in another, you may have to pay tax in both countries under their different tax laws. To help avoid being taxed twice - 'double taxation' - the UK has negotiated double taxation agreements with many countries.

Find out more about double taxation agreements

You are a non-resident landlord

If your usual home is outside the UK but you receive rental income from property in the UK, your letting agents or tenants in the UK will have to operate the Non-resident Landlords Scheme. This means they may deduct tax at the basic rate from your rental income during the year and declare it to HMRC.

You will need to complete a tax return if:

  • the annual rent you have received is higher than your 'Personal Allowance' (this is the amount of UK income you can receive tax free)
  • you are a higher rate taxpayer and the tax already paid by your letting agents and tenants does not cover what you owe

If you do need to complete a tax return, you should fill in:

  • form SA100 Tax Return
  • supplementary form SA105 UK Property
  • supplementary form SA109 Residence, remittance basis etc

You may need to complete a form R43 Tax Repayment Claim to make a claim for a tax refund if both of the following apply:

  • the annual rent you have received is lower than your Personal Allowance
  • your letting agents or tenants have already paid basic rate tax on it

Go to form R43

Non-resident Landlord Scheme - find out more

For more on rates of Income Tax and the Personal Allowance, follow the link below.

Income Tax - the basics

You have made a capital gain in the UK

If you are not UK resident and sell, give away, transfer or exchange an asset in the UK (such as property, shares or other investments), you need to report a capital gain only if one or more of the following applies:

  • it is in connection with a trade in the UK
  • you are ordinarily resident in the UK (only for tax years up to and including 2012 to 13)
  • if you have previously lived in the UK, and if so, when you left the UK, the period of time you were resident in the UK before your departure and the length of time you live abroad

You don't have to report any other gains you make in the UK unless you return to the UK within five full tax years of going abroad. If you return within five years, and you were resident in the UK for at least four of the seven years before you became not resident, you'll have to pay tax on all your gains made while you were abroad. This does not apply to gains on assets acquired and disposed of during the period of non-residence.

If you have to declare a capital gain, you should send the following completed forms to HMRC:

  • form SA100 Tax Return
  • supplementary form SA108 Capital Gains
  • supplementary form SA109 Residence, remittance basis etc

Tax on UK income or capital gains for non-UK residents

For more information on when you need to pay Capital Gains Tax, follow the link below.

Capital Gains Tax - find out more

Other non-residents who may have to complete a tax return

  • If you are self-employed and leave the UK, you must remember to fill in your UK tax return at the end of the tax year.
  • If you were employed and leave the UK but subsequently receive a bonus for that work, you will need to complete a tax return.
  • If you are the director of a UK company or partner in a UK partnership, you must always complete a tax return.
  • If you are an underwriter for Lloyds of London, you will need to complete a tax return for your earnings from that work.
  • If you are a non-resident trustee you may have to file an annual Trust and Estate Tax Return.

For more general information on who needs to complete a tax return and when, please read the following guide.

Do you need to complete a tax return?

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Obtaining your tax return and supplementary pages

HMRC will send you a tax return if they think you need to complete one. If you receive a return, you must complete it. Please note that there are many benefits to filing online rather than using paper and you can still choose to do this if you're sent a paper return - see the next section 'Filing your tax return'.

If you do not receive a return and think you need to complete one, you should contact HMRC to register for Self Assessment.

Register for Self Assessment

Download the relevant form, supplementary pages and guidance notes by following the link below.

Go to form SA100, supplementary pages and guidance notes

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Filing your tax return

You can find key steps for completing your tax return in the Self Assessment section of the HMRC website and read about the many benefits of filing your tax return online.

For example, if you file online the:

  • calculations are done for you automatically
  • filing deadline is 31 January following the end of the tax year as opposed to 31 October for paper tax returns

You can file the main tax return form SA100 online using HMRC free software or commercial software, but please note that you need to use commercial software to file supplementary form SA109 'Residence, remittance basis, etc' online.

Find out more by following the link below.

File your tax return online

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More useful links

Self Assessment

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