UK tax guide by Payne Hicks Beach
Introduction to the British tax system
The UK has one of the most advantageous tax systems worldwide for immigrants, whilst at the same time not appearing on blacklists, including for example that published by the OECD, as an offshore financial centre. The taxation status of individuals is determined, as in many other jurisdictions, by reference to their residence here (now under a simple statutory test). In addition, however, the more nebulous concept of “domicile” (distinct in meaning from “residence”, and meaning, rather, the jurisdiction of ones origin and primary allegiance) is an important factor. A person may be resident in the UK, but not domiciled here, and thus have a more limited exposure to certain taxes.
Advice to the newcomer
You should seek tax advice before your arrival in London, because it may be possible to re-arrange your tax affairs to significant advantage. Making changes after your arrival is not impossible, but certain actions may become more onerous from a tax perspective once you have taken up residence in the UK for tax purposes. In particular, you will need to think carefully whether and how to maintain your domicile of origin since, as noted above, this may have significant advantage in relation to your UK tax status. You will also need to consider the location of your assets, and whether you wish to import assets into the UK in the process of moving here, paying particular attention to the funding and structure for your UK home. For offshore assets, you may wish to consider pre-arrival planning with trusts or otherwise, so as to keep them excluded from the UK tax net.