Not from the UK but stuck here? You could be affected more than most by the coronavirus

Published on
2 min read

If you don’t ordinarily live in the UK but you have been stranded here, or if you know someone who has been stranded here, then you need to take note of the following.The statutory residence test (SRT) allows for limited “exceptional circumstances” and HMRC circulated guidance on 17 March on what that means in light of the pandemic.

HMRC confirmed that it is still a question of “facts and circumstances” in each individual case.  However, if you are either:

  • quarantined or advised by a health practitioner to self-isolate due to COVID-19;
  • unable to travel due to Government advice;
  • unable to leave the UK due to border closures; or
  • asked to stay in the UK by your employer during the pandemic

then these would currently qualify as “exceptional circumstances”.

You do need to be careful though. The number of “exceptional days” which can be disregarded is ordinarily limited to 60 so if lockdown continues beyond 5 June 2020 you may need to take advice as to how this affects you over the next couple of tax years.  If you are caught it might be possible to claim the remittance basis without charge, if your facts and circumstances permit you to.

The Chancellor has announced further restricted and temporary changes for skilled persons moving to the UK where their work relates to coronavirus-related activities. If they are in the UK between 1 March and 1 June 2020 that period will not count towards the residence tests, offering protection from UK taxation. The qualifying criteria will be set out in the Finance Bill 2019-21.

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