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Tax When Leaving The UK

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 29 Jun 2021 | comments*Discuss
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For most people who are emigrating, finalising official business such as tax and National Insurance contributions can be an extra unwelcome headache. The good news is that the majority of individuals will have a fairly painless process that involves simply filling out a few forms. For those out there who don't leave everything to their accountant to deal with, figuring out the stages involved in sorting out your tax when leaving the UK can save plenty of time and hassle when you do eventually land in your new country of residence.

Informing the Correct Authorities

A very common question many people have when moving abroad is whether they should inform the correct Government authorities. Many simply leave the country, never letting their local tax office know they've gone. The reasons behind this vary for each individual, but generally in order to tie up any loose ends and keep things official, it's better to inform the relevant people you've become a non-resident of the UK. The benefits of declaring your move abroad range from simply eradicating future personal mail being sent to your previous address, to perhaps obtaining a sizeable tax rebate.

Form P85 for Those Leaving the UK

For the majority of people, the main form that you must fill in is form P85. This form will allow you to obtain any tax refund you're owed and to work out if you'll become non-resident, thus becoming free from further tax returns. You can obtain this form from your local tax office, or it's available to download online from the HRMC website. It isn't difficult to fill the form in, so you shouldn't require the services of an accountant to do so. You will also need to provide your P45 along with the form and a date of departure from the UK.

Sending Your Information

Once you have completed the P85 form that explains you're leaving the UK, send the form back to your original tax office that usually deals with your enquiries. If you aren't sure who previously dealt with this, have a look at your P45 or P60 under the PAYE reference field. This will provide you with 3 digits that correlate with your tax office number. You can then simply enter the number online at the HRMC website and it will provide you with the full address. It's best to start this process around 3 months before you emigrate. This allows for any possible complications to be sorted out whilst you're still in the UK.

Becoming a Non-Resident for UK Tax Purposes

When you leave the UK to move abroad, you'll be considered a non-resident from the day after you leave. In order to prove this, you must be able to show that you left the UK to stay abroad permanently, or that your working year and absence lasts at least an entire tax year abroad. You also can be considered non-resident if your UK visits are less than 183 days in a tax year and average less than 91 days a tax year over four consecutive years. If you're in doubt about this, a tax advisor will be able to help further.

Self-Employment and Emigration

If you're self-employed in the UK, tax matters can be slightly more complicated when you're leaving for good. You will still need to fill in form P85, but you may be required to continue to fill in self-assessment tax returns for a period of time whilst in your new home abroad. This will depend on when you ceased business in the UK, or whether you're still trading. You must also let your local tax office know that you've left the country so they can remove you from their system. If you don't, you may find yourself incurring the £100 fine for not returning your self-assessment form in due time.

Obtaining Your Tax Rebate

Many people who emigrate and fill in form P85 are pleasantly surprised to find that they receive a tax rebate. As monthly PAYE tax is based on an estimate of the tax due on your salary for a full 12 months, if you leave before then, you may have overpaid. You will then receive a tax rebate that can be paid directly into your account or sent to you via cheque. The amount due will differ dependent on your salary, the number of months left in the tax year and other aspects.

UK Tax and Other Countries

Each individual country will inform you of the new tax rules you will follow whilst there. Many have a Double Taxation (DT) treaty with the UK that means you won't have to pay tax in both countries if you have income from one and reside in another. If in any doubt, check with your local tax office as getting it organised can alleviate unnecessary stress. As mentioned previously, form P85 is the most important piece of paper you'll need to obtain before leaving the UK for good and enjoying your new life abroad.

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[Add a Comment]
Dear all, I left the uk in August, meaning around the middle of the tax year of 2018. My doubts are if I will receive a refund only for the months from April to August of 2018 considering that the tax year starts in April or I can ask for a tax refund for 2017 since in this year I have worked in the uk for the whole year? Thank you for your help.
Boliveira - 29-Jun-21 @ 3:32 PM
Hi everyone! If some person have unpaid council tax and fines, what problems he might have? And what problems he might have if he don't live in UK?
DBL - 29-Nov-18 @ 8:19 PM
I am trying to tidy-up my tax affairs having moved permanently to USA in Feb 2016. If I now submit a P85 can I enter Feb 2016 as my dateof departures so I meet the third automatic overseas test from that date? Can I claim back all PAYE tax paid in the UK during period from Feb 2016 and declare my income in the same period to the IRS so that I am taxed on it there?
Bob - 20-Feb-18 @ 4:24 AM
Hey im leaving uk really soon and i apply for tax refund. I just want to know if im going to get pay for the years ive been here (9 years) always working part time. Its been like 4 week that i made the application and sent by post. Help please
Nid - 29-Sep-17 @ 7:13 PM
Hi. I claimed the tax refund after leaving the uk and its been about 2 months and half but i still havent got any reply from the gov.uk even though i have a reference code. i thought it comes to my bank account directly after claiming a tax refund. people around me usally took about 2 weeks or 4 weeks to have their tax. i wonder how i can have my tax refund...since i paid too much tax, i am quite desperate to have mine back..please help me. Thank you in advance..
JIJI - 11-Sep-17 @ 4:04 AM
I left the UK for good on 1 of September . I send my p85 with part 2 and 3 of p45 How long to get the tax return after I left UK I move back to Brazil
Edinho - 6-Sep-17 @ 1:15 AM
Hi I have a question can anybody tell if I Am leaving U.K for good do I get my taxes back for all years or just for last year with this for p85.Thanks
Jojo - 20-Jun-17 @ 8:46 AM
Hi, I have left the UK in December 2016 (EU citizen) and claimed taxes (P85) and due unforeseen circumstances I would like to go back to UK in May. Do you think that it is possible to go back? Do i have to request a new NI number? What i have to do? Thanks.
Maximax - 18-Apr-17 @ 11:07 PM
Leaving the UK in a week ,called 2 weeks ago to have a P85 form and nowhere or no one ever mentioned the process takes 3 months.The form is also asking about the job I'll do : ain't got none for themoment as I'll live at my mum's and then start looking for work. I'm French citizen moving back to France to stay. What will happen to my taxes if I can't answer the questions regarding the job I'll have in France? And if it takes 3 months? I'll be long gone!
Fredoche - 30-Mar-17 @ 5:12 PM
I have been living and working in the UK for the past 19 years. I have applied 3 times for Leave to remain and was turned down. How can Iget back the taxestate that I have paid to this country?
Redeemed - 18-Mar-17 @ 4:14 AM
Dear Friends, It has come to the stage whereas my wife and I will soon make a decision on a future relocation to Portugal. However before we make such a decision we desperately need advice on a Portuguese tax issue, regarding taxation (or possibly not) on our source of income. Then depending on the answer, we would be in a better position to make our minds up. We have tried to get an answer to our tax questions from several different online sources, unfortunately without a satisfactory, or straightforward answer. Questions: Would a United Nations disability benefit be liable to Portuguese taxation under Portuguese tax laws, which had not been first/originally taxed at source? Are there any provisions for tax exemptions applicable to disability benefits, or international civil service pensions, within Portuguese tax laws?
Muppet - 11-Mar-17 @ 6:34 PM
Hi I left the uk in 2012 when my husband was posted to dubai. We have lived there ever since. I spend time back in uk visiting my parents and have been doing less than 90 days a year but this year will be more like 105 days. I stopped work many years ago to start our family so have not real tax affairs to deal with HMRC myself. I never submitted a P85 when we left. I want to be recognised as non resident so my question is; can I retrospectively submit at P85 form showing I left in 2012? I have good records of my travel to and from uk to demonstrate my whereabouts. Thanks
M - 12-Feb-17 @ 9:53 AM
I was in the UK for 2 tax periods, from June 2015-Dec 2016, and would like to claim tax back for both years. When submitting my P85 online, do I provide them the total pay to date, and total tax to date for BOTH years? (i.e. sum up both totals from both P45s). Thanks!
D - 8-Jan-17 @ 9:52 PM
Hi , i had left UK this May 2016 and i have submitted tax through the private agency and got the refund as well..in this case is it mandatory should i submit the P85 (repat clearance for UK). Thanks
ezhil - 8-Dec-16 @ 7:15 AM
Hi I'm Portuguese and been living in U.K. For 13 year I want to go back home can I claim my tax back and nacional insurance?? How long will it take? And do I need to stop working? Thank you.
Rei - 7-Oct-16 @ 4:29 PM
We leave the UK on the 8th Oct, I will claim back over paid tax for the tax yr 2016-17 but Spain only do full year tax ie Jan to Dec so what happens to my tax for the period of Oct to Dec 16.
mario - 2-Sep-16 @ 8:07 PM
I started was let up by employer in 2007 and moved to Ireland where I met my wife and now have kids and full time employment. As I wasn't aware I was to inform HMRC of leaving or entitled to tax back can I now apply for any rebate that may have been available as I was also on reduced pay before I left due to illness. Jimmy Mac
Jimmymac - 22-Aug-16 @ 11:41 AM
I am a uk citizen travelling in Australia on a years working holiday visa. I will be working occasional short term jobs to help fund my journey. Should I send a P85 to uk tax office. Not known if I will stay in aus for the whole year or apply for 2nd year visa yet
Em - 12-Aug-16 @ 4:49 PM
I am in UK for a project my duration of stay in the UK will be for 8 months and will leave UK for good after my project is completed. how can i claim my IT contributions because i do not have access to public funds or any. This is my first time in UK.
Ismail - 10-Aug-16 @ 1:55 PM
Hi, my husband currently has a Ltd company set up and he is able to work from anywhere in the world as his work can all be done over the Internet. He does work for UK companies.We are planning on moving to Greece in the next year and he wants to be able to continue as he is by invoicing the companies as a UK company and receive the payments into his UK company account, rather than register as a Greek company. He doesn't charge VAT as he doesn't earn enough. Is it possible to continue as a UK Ltd company and live in another country and still submit the usual HMRC tax returns and pay UK tax etc?
Ali - 2-Jul-16 @ 2:11 PM
DO - Your Question:
Hello! I want to leave UK! After 7 years working full time job! Will I'll be able to claim some tax or NI back? Can I claim pension for the 7 years of work? and how much I will get back?

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here for further information. We cannot estimate the amount you would get back if you are eligible to apply.
EmigrationExpert - 29-Jun-16 @ 2:21 PM
hello! I want to leave UK! After 7 years working full time job! Will I'll be able to claim some tax or NI back? Can I claim pension for the 7 years of work? and how much I will get back?
DO - 28-Jun-16 @ 9:13 PM
Sa - Your Question:
Hi, I've been living and working in the UK for 16 years. In June 2016 I moved to the Netherlands for good. Will I'll be able to claim some tax or NI back? Can I claim pension for the 16 years of work? Please advise.Sa

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here. If you come from another EU country and return home, the national insurance contributions you have paid in the UK can count toward benefits in your home country. If you have worked in the country you are now living in, you should make your claim for your UK state pension through the pension institution in that country.
EmigrationExpert - 28-Jun-16 @ 10:27 AM
Hi, I've been living and working in the UK for 16 years. In June 2016 I moved to the Netherlands for good. Will I'll be able to claim some tax or NI back? Can I claim pension for the 16 years of work? Please advise. Sa
Sa - 27-Jun-16 @ 11:35 AM
I am romanian Citizen , I ve been working in Uk for 11 years, I want to know if want to leave uk for good can I claim tax back for all those years? Thanks
Mari - 24-Jun-16 @ 9:13 PM
Brendan- Your Question:
Hi. I am a south African citizen. I worked in the UK about 8 years ago. I was not informed by my employer that I can claim my tax and I never did. My question is can I still claim?

Our Response:
The cut-off point where you can make a tax claim from the HMRC is unfortunately four years.
EmigrationExpert - 24-Jun-16 @ 11:19 AM
Hi. I am a south African citizen. I worked in the UK about 8 years ago. I was not informed by my employer that I can claim my tax and I never did. My question is can I still claim?
Brendan - 23-Jun-16 @ 11:46 AM
I left UK 4 years ago I didn't know I needed to fill in p85. I paid tax locally and continued to fill in UK tax return. Very confused.
Jmac - 15-Jun-16 @ 8:57 PM
Hi, I left was there in UK between Jul-14 till Dec-14. I am not sure if P85 was submitted. Now, I am not able to locate tax year 2014-2015 for tax returns in HMRC self assessment website. Please suggest
ammy - 28-Apr-16 @ 1:11 PM
Hi Iam Mai and I have left uk 4 years ago and I had my company LTD company but due to some circumstances I was not able to pay my VAT or tax for the six months so it typically started in October and only ran until January the following year so nothing much has been done in terms of money so I had only ran it for four months but then after I didn't have anything going in the company.My question is now I want to pay the full tax back so what are the consequences which I need to face how much will be the fine and how can I go furthermore your suggestions are highly appreciable and please do let me know as you can understand my situation and when I tried to close the company they said somebody has put an obligation on it so how can I deal with this please please your suggestions ar e welcome Thanks
Mai - 23-Mar-16 @ 5:44 PM
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