Tax implications for unplanned travel back to the UK during the Coronavirus outbreak


If companies bring home assignees/business visitors who are in China and other majorly affected countries, how will this affect their residency day count in the UK which in turn could affect their tax position here?

  • Within the current UK tax legislation (which became effective from 6 April 2013) there are provisions in relation to taxpayers spending time in the UK due to exceptional circumstances (these days can therefore be ignored as days spent in the UK and not counted towards certain tax residency tests).
  • The guidance to the legislation states that ‘exceptional circumstances will normally apply where an individual has no choice concerning the time they spend in the UK or in coming back to the UK’. In order to be ignored as days spent in the UK, the event or situation in question must be one over which the individual has no control or influence and which cannot reasonably have been foreseen.
  • HMRC confirmed at the 5th March 2020 HMRC Expat Forum it would be looked at as a case by case basis with the specific facts and circumstances. Is it beyond the individual’s control?
  • Current travel advice is ‘avoid all but essential travel to Mainland China’ and this does not necessarily meet the exception circumstances conditions. But HMRC pointed out it is a case by case basis e.g. to Hubei Province, the travel guidance is ‘avoid all travel’.
  • This legislation is unlikely to count for the Coronavirus if there is still a choice involved as to whether these individuals need to return to the UK specifically, and the company and individual does have control and influence over the decision.

Expat Academy Tax implications for unplanned travel back to the UK during the Coronavirus outbreak

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