Reforms to taxation of non-domiciles proceed as statutory residence test is delayed
Draft legislation has now been published (6th December 2011) on the core reforms to the taxation of non-domiciled individuals, announced at Budget 2011.
The draft legislation covers:
- the introduction of a higher £50,000 annual charge for non-domiciles who have been resident in the UK for 12 or more of the preceding 14 years;
- a new relief to encourage business investment by enabling non-domiciles to remit funds to the UK tax-free for commercial investments in business;
- simplifications to the remittance basis rules relating to nominated income, foreign currency bank accounts and the taxation of assets sold in the UK.
These changes will take effect from 6 April 2012, as previously announced.
On the other hand, the Government has decided to delay the introduction of a statutory residence test on the grounds that it wishes to consider carefully the issues raised during the consultation process to ensure that “the test achieves its aim of providing certainty and transparency for individuals and businesses”.
The statutory residence test, therefore, will be introduced in Finance Bill 2013, to take effect from April 2013 rather than April 2012. Any reforms to ordinary residence will also be included in Finance Bill 2013 and take effect from the same date.
While the announcement seems to have taken practitioners by surprise, the delay is sensible in our view and to be welcomed. In a previous article, “Complexity replaces uncertainty”, we expressed our concern about the complexity of proposed tests which somewhat undermined the Government’s claims that individuals with a more complicated fact pattern should be able to determine their residence status with ease and without the need for specialist advice.
The Government states that this delay will give it time to consult further on the detail of these changes well in advance of implementation. However it also states that it is committed to introducing a statutory residence test in the form set out in the consultation document and rather than expect any significant changes in the proposals, it may simply be the case that the Government needs more time to establish if the proposals are in fact fully workable.