How to claim a UK tax rebate as an expat Brit


Date: 1 March 2024

A senior man is claiming a UK tax rebate on his laptop on the beach

So, you've finally done it. You've left the UK to live overseas, perhaps for a less stressful life in a sunnier place where you can experience the local culture, find new friends and enjoy your new home. How could life get any better?

Well, discovering or remembering that you can claim a rebate for UK tax you have paid on UK income, will certainly put an even broader smile on your sun-tanned face. But, how do expat Brits go about reclaiming UK tax that they've overpaid?

Can I get a UK tax rebate as a British expat?

  • If you leave the UK to live permanently overseas part way through a UK tax year, you may indeed be owed an expat tax refund.
  • The size of the expat tax rebate that you receive will depend on how much tax you've paid on taxable UK income.
  • The more tax you've paid, the more you stand to get back in your expat tax refund.

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Telling HMRC that you're leaving the UK

When you leave the UK to live permanently abroad, if you don't normally fill in an annual Self Assessment tax return, you can apply for a tax rebate online via Government Gateway or fill in a P85 form to let HMRC know about your move.

If you need to or prefer to print and post your claim for a tax rebate, you can start your claim online, before printing out your P85, signing the declaration, including your P45 (you'll need to explain why if you don't need one, for example, because you've retired) and then post it to: Pay As You Earn, HM Revenue and Customs BX9 1AS.

What if you usually complete a Self Assessment tax return?

If you normally file a Self Assessment tax return, for example, to report a taxable rental income or income from self employment, you do not need to complete a P85 because the Self Assessment tax return offers you another way to inform HMRC about your decision to live overseas permanently.

You do this by completing the resident section of your Self Assessment tax return (ie supplementary pages SA109) and sending them along with the rest of your tax return by post to HMRC.

You cannot use HMRC's online services to tell them that you're leaving the UK by completing the SA109 supplementary pages. So, you have two other options: use commercial Self Assessment tax return filing software or get a UK-based accountant to do it for you.

The first option is relatively straightforward, especially if you normally do your own Self Assessment tax return. The second option may be easier, but it will probably be much more expensive.

Need to know! To avoid paying a late-filing penalty, you must file your Self Assessment tax return before the filing deadline, which is midnight on 31 January after the end (5 April) of the relevant tax year for online filing (31 October if you file a paper tax return).

What if you're owed a tax refund?

  • Prompted by your P85 or Self Assessment tax return, HMRC will work out if you're owed a tax refund.
  • If so, HMRC will: pay you or someone else on your behalf; post a payable order to your address or your nominee's address to be paid into a bank account held in your or your nominee's name.

Need to know! HMRC will not pay fees to convert your tax refund into another currency or to transfer it abroad. To avoid paying any fees, HMRC advises that you keep your UK bank account open until you receive your tax rebate.

Copyright 2024. Sponsored post by Mike Parkes of GoSimpleTax - tax return software that can help you manage your self assessment.

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