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UK non-residents could face hard Brexit personal allowance cliff edge

3rd Jul 2019
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An expatriate tax specialist has claimed that thousands of UK nationals living in EU countries could lose their personal tax allowance and have their net incomes reduced in the event of a ‘hard Brexit’.

If the UK leaves the European Union without a deal on 31 October, UK nationals currently living overseas and classified as non-resident in the UK for the whole of a UK tax year could lose their entitlement to the UK personal allowance.

This is due to their loss of EU/EEA national status, according to Robert Salter, a specialist in expatriate and employment taxes at Blick Rothenberg.

Currently, UK nationals who are non-resident in the UK are entitled to the personal allowance, but Salter believes this could change in the event of a hard Brexit.

“The entitlement to personal allowances for non-resident UK citizens arises specifically from their status as EU/EEA nationals,” said Salter. “This position is laid down in UK tax legislation, which was introduced in 2007” [section s56(3) ITA 2007].

UN figures from 2017 put the number of UK-born individuals living in other EU countries at 1.3 million, and the government has previously commented that there are one million Britons living in the EU, not everyone in either figure would be impacted by the changes as many won’t have UK source income.

Automatically subject to UK tax

For the current tax year (2019/20), the personal allowance of £12,500 is available for non-resident individuals to offset against UK-sourced income which would otherwise be UK taxable, for example, UK letting income or UK government service-related pension income. 

However, if the personal allowance were to be removed for such individuals, it would result in income automatically being subject to UK tax at a rate of at least 20%. 

Following a hard Brexit, such a change may well reduce the net income of many UK nationals living overseas (for example in retirement) and requiring more UK nationals overseas to file an annual UK tax return each year, according to Salter.

Government incomes ‘particularly affected’

Those with government incomes like former civil servants, teachers and NHS employees may be particularly affected.

This is because government-service-related pensions are usually only taxable in the UK in accordance with international agreements, and the removal of the personal allowance would, therefore, be “an absolute additional tax charge on such individuals,” said Salter.

Potential remedy

In order to maintain the status quo in the event of a no-deal exit from the EU, the government will have to change the law to allow British nationals who are non-resident in the UK in a tax year to retain their entitlement to the personal allowance.  

However, Salter noted that at this present moment no moves to this effect appear to have been made by the government, and prospective PMs Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have so far been silent on the issue. 

“The government could as a ‘tax saving’ measure, choose to remove the entitlement to UK personal allowances for all non-resident individuals, regardless of their nationality,” added Salter.

HMRC was contacted for comment

Replies (30)

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By coops456
03rd Jul 2019 10:17

Just one of the ways in which the 1.3 million have been left in limbo.

They are one of the groups most directly affected by Brexit, yet - like EU citizens living here - many didn't even get a vote.

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Replying to coops456:
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By johnjenkins
03rd Jul 2019 10:31

Where does all this nonsense come from? Oh yes the remainers who have put all these people in "limbo".
It is not the actually leaving of the EU that is causing problems it is the indecision of our Parliament. The quicker we get Boris in, leave the EU and have a general election, the better, because most of this lot couldn't boil an egg.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
03rd Jul 2019 16:39

@John, I dont think its the "remainers" who have put the country in limbo.

its the bare faced lies told by the brexiteers which have proven impossible to deliver in practice which is the main sticking point.

Parliament have been tasked in getting a free trade with the EU, with no freedom of movement and not abiding by EU rules, oh and in some really bonkers quarters with no divorce bill too.

Even a rudimentary understanding of the EU would highlight that this cant happen, and also proven by 3 years of the EU patiently explaining the rules of the club we are signed up with, and the least worst option being Mrs May's fudged deal.

Whilst the current stagnation period is causing very real damage to the UK economy ( I had another client go pop this week due to no order book), and the current leadership election changed nothing, ultimately the blame for the whole mess - which was entirely predictable - lies with the promoters of the impossible and the fools they misled to tick the brexit box.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By SXGuy
04th Jul 2019 07:23

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

@John, I dont think its the "remainers" who have put the country in limbo.

its the bare faced lies told by the brexiteers which have proven impossible to deliver in practice which is the main sticking point.

Parliament have been tasked in getting a free trade with the EU, with no freedom of movement and not abiding by EU rules, oh and in some really bonkers quarters with no divorce bill too.

Even a rudimentary understanding of the EU would highlight that this cant happen, and also proven by 3 years of the EU patiently explaining the rules of the club we are signed up with, and the least worst option being Mrs May's fudged deal.

Whilst the current stagnation period is causing very real damage to the UK economy ( I had another client go pop this week due to no order book), and the current leadership election changed nothing, ultimately the blame for the whole mess - which was entirely predictable - lies with the promoters of the impossible and the fools they misled to tick the brexit box.


Delusional. Exactly the answer the EU and led you to believe is true.
Let me explain one simple point to you. We're a sovereign country, no law can superseed our own. Meaning if we want to leave and stick two fingers up, we can. It doesn't matter what their rules are.

The Queen is litterally the only person who can dictate the terms of our sovereignty.

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Replying to SXGuy:
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By Duhamel
05th Jul 2019 13:35

SXGuy wrote:

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

@John, I dont think its the "remainers" who have put the country in limbo.

its the bare faced lies told by the brexiteers which have proven impossible to deliver in practice which is the main sticking point.

Parliament have been tasked in getting a free trade with the EU, with no freedom of movement and not abiding by EU rules, oh and in some really bonkers quarters with no divorce bill too.

Even a rudimentary understanding of the EU would highlight that this cant happen, and also proven by 3 years of the EU patiently explaining the rules of the club we are signed up with, and the least worst option being Mrs May's fudged deal.

Whilst the current stagnation period is causing very real damage to the UK economy ( I had another client go pop this week due to no order book), and the current leadership election changed nothing, ultimately the blame for the whole mess - which was entirely predictable - lies with the promoters of the impossible and the fools they misled to tick the brexit box.

Delusional. Exactly the answer the EU and led you to believe is true.
Let me explain one simple point to you. We're a sovereign country, no law can superseed our own. Meaning if we want to leave and stick two fingers up, we can. It doesn't matter what their rules are.

The Queen is litterally the only person who can dictate the terms of our sovereignty.

I don't think any is disputing this. So long as you are happy to accept the potentially severe economic reaction to crashing out without a deal. If you think we can leave with no deal and no downside, then I have a bridge to sell you.

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Replying to Duhamel:
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By SXGuy
09th Jul 2019 11:05

Of course there will be downsides to crashing out without a deal. But I don't believe for one moment it's anything we can't fix. The whole point of leaving is to govern ourselves, if that means fixing any issues as a result, so be it.

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Replying to SXGuy:
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By Seanog
06th Jul 2019 22:40

Ah,

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By johnjenkins
04th Jul 2019 08:58

Well it's certainly not the "Brexiteers" that are fools. We knew exactly what we were voting for, unlike a lot of "Remainers" who just thought "stay as we are". Let's hold up there a minute. Parliament haven't been tasked with anything. TM said quite clearly umpteen times we were leaving on 29th March, now there's a bare faced lie from a remainer. I won't even touch on Carney and his so called "experts". We don't want "no freedom of movement" just a bit of control would help. Unfortunately the EU are a misguided, rigid outfit that has no idea of flexibility just a blinkered outlook that big is beautiful. Oh by the way if you haven't already noticed we are in a GLOBAL recession so don't blame everything on the people of the UK voting for common sense and flexibility.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
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By rockallj
08th Jul 2019 12:16

Eh, could we stick to the facts rather electioneering?

And the facts of this piece are correct.

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Replying to coops456:
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By 0705736
03rd Jul 2019 11:45

If people go to live abroad they (may) pay income tax, and get a personal allowance to reduce that tax, in the new country of residence. Can someone explain why they should get an extra allowance in the UK?

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Replying to 0705736:
Caroline
By accountantccole
03rd Jul 2019 12:24

The point of the article is that there is a direct cost to non resident Brits as a result of Brexit.
Whether the right to allowances in two places is appropriate is a whole other issue. It is a right that currently exists and this is going to seriously affect people's income levels and potentially their right to stay in their homes if they can no longer satisfy income requirements.

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7om
By Tom 7000
03rd Jul 2019 10:46

Well if they don't get the personal allowance, the extra money will increase the £350m a week that we will get extra for the NHS. So that's good ….. isn't it ?

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
03rd Jul 2019 11:02

Bozo Johnson has been sacked from 2 separate jobs for telling bare-faced lies. The sackers were Max Hastings and Michael Howard. In my view that should be enough to form a judgement on his integrity.

In 2017 Theresa May won power by promising different things to different wings of her party. Those things were mutually exclusive, she kicked the can down the road but after 2 years ran out of road.

Bozo Johnson is winning power using exactly the same strategy, except that his piece of road will run out in October.

His honeymoon period will be nasty, brutish and short.

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Replying to mr. mischief:
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By johnjenkins
03rd Jul 2019 12:45

Let's see now. Maggie got the sack, Tony got the sack, DC resigned cos he bottled it, TM got the sack. This is only the tip of the iceberg. His honeymoon period maybe short but at least we will be out of the EU. Boris is like all the great politicians. You either like them or hate them. There is no inbetween.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
Chris M
By mr. mischief
03rd Jul 2019 18:54

Realistically, his only route to get us out of the EU is to go for a General Election. This is why politics right now is important to us all.

I am advising clients that all bets are off until the Brexit situation is cleared up, and this is not a good time to go for that very stretching property development etc. all geared up to the hilt.

A No Deal Brexit is very unlikely on 31 October due to the Parliamentary arithmetic. If it happens, the timing could hardly be worse for retailers and similar sectors where all the sales action is in November and December.

Since Labour have messed up a Corbyn election win looks less likely, thank Goodness. But with a likely very solid 50 seats in Scotland the SNP could well be the Kingmakers if Bozo J has enough balls - which I doubt - for a General Election.

Radically different tax and spend policies will be put in front of voters. Politics has never been more relevant to our jobs.

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Replying to mr. mischief:
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By carnmores
07th Jul 2019 10:36

no to a general election yes to a referendum in northern Ireland . they will vote for the backstop, job done....

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By jvenegas16
03rd Jul 2019 11:11

That would be the position in other countries, like Spain for example. A non-resident outside the EU or not being resident in another EU-State, will not receive any reduction or benefit or lower rate on their income generated in the State (in Spain, for example). CGT, IHT, some other income being taxed at the general rate of 24%.

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By carnmores
07th Jul 2019 10:39

some EU countries are still trying to charge higher rates of CGT to citizens from other EU countries and the continued use of withholding tax by essentially the same countries is reprehensible.

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By Rgab1947
03rd Jul 2019 11:22

Political arguments for or against Brexit is just off putting.

Just accept the other side will not accept any argument which runs counter to their own beliefs and focus on the potential impact on clients and how we can help them get through it all.

Remember its an accountants forum not Parliament.

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By campdenuk
03rd Jul 2019 11:46

Mr Salter should be thanked for raising this important point about the need to amend the law to ensure ALL UK (and presumably Irish) nationals automatically retain the UK personal allowance regardless of residence position in the year.

This would be a relatively straightforward amendment of S56(3)(za), ITA07 in due course.

I'm surprised by the specific reference to the effects on non-resident government pensioners given persons who have been employed in the service of the crown are specifically identified in S56(3)(c) as meeting the requirement for UK personal allowances, as are (under S56(3)(f)) their widows and widowers.

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Replying to campdenuk:
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By carnmores
07th Jul 2019 10:41

The Ireland Act 1949

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By Bill H
03rd Jul 2019 12:48

Does this mean that UK non residents living outside the EU will be at an advantage and retain the PA ?

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By JacquiMBurns
03rd Jul 2019 13:40

Since it is allowable against UK sourced income which is otherwise taxable IN THE UK, I cannot see what difference it will make. It would only make any difference if the income was taxed elsewhere.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
03rd Jul 2019 16:31

I represent a number of overseas landlords, and never understand why they get PA's, given the figures are so substantial now.

None of them would really care about paying BR tax in the UK given they usually all pay a lot more in their home country, and anything paid in the UK is largely irrelevant given they get the tax credit anyhow.

So whilst this is yet another "things no-one has much thought about" despite being atthis game for 3 years now, it probably ought to be addressed in any case.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By carnmores
07th Jul 2019 10:44

I suspect that this will be the next attack on NRLS

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By Casterbridge Hardy LLP
04th Jul 2019 17:11

I have been labouring under the gross misapprehension that this was a tax and accountancy forum - I seem to be on the wrong side of the page and that his is actually political hot air online soap box for the venting of strongly held opinions!

Pax vobiscum

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Replying to Casterbridge Hardy LLP:
Caroline
By accountantccole
05th Jul 2019 07:54

Political climate has no affect on accounting and tax decisions? Fairly relevant topic for discussion if we are trying to advise clients in uncertain times

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Replying to accountantccole:
Chris M
By mr. mischief
05th Jul 2019 09:23

To take just one example of many. In the lead up to 31 March, 2 of my clients were refused supplies - by Danish and German suppliers - which resumed after it became clear we would stay in the EU.

My retail clients buy a decent % of their stock from other EU members, October and November are key buying months to stock up for Christmas.

I will be monitoring the politics closely, and probably advising them to stock up in September as best they can, as protection from supplier boycotts if we look like doing a No Deal.

And that is just one sector. Don't get me started on the rest.

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By carnmores
05th Jul 2019 13:18

in a microcosm ' its all your fault , no it isnt it yours' , I voted to remain we lost, get on with it and get us out. if and its a small if it all goes horribly wrong we can apply to rejoin. incidentally i am an irish citizen and i got a vote . 70 years of history here......

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By carnmores
07th Jul 2019 10:33

duplicate … deleted.... post are taking longer to arrive than Brexit ;-)

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