expat network

Where Am I Resident For Tax Purposes?

What is my tax status?

I have been an expat since 1982 in the Falklands then the Philippines, apart from one year back in the UK in 1989. I believe I am not resident of the Philippines but a ‘tourist’. The Falklands is paying me a pension and the RAF is about to. 

Jason Porter, director of expat financial advisers Blevins Franks, addressed this question, though he pointed out he is not able fully to advise on the Falklands or the Philippines, but can give general guidance.

“We first need to establish your residency position and would need the number of days you are in the main three countries (UK, Philippines, Falklands), and where you consider your main home to be.

“Your domicile position would be difficult as well, without a full picture of your movements, assets and locations, and your long-term intentions – particularly as you had a domicile of origin of the UK, probably assumed a domicile of choice in the Falklands, but this may have fallen away as you have moved to the Philippines. Depending on your intentions for where you are now, the UK automatically could reaffirm itself. Without any other definitive view, though, you could have acquired a new domicile of choice of the Philippines.

“The most important aspect of where you are taxed is if you are regarded as a resident individual under the domestic legislation of the country concerned.

“The Philippines uses terms like non-resident aliens, which seems to describe people who may be present in the country working and originate from other states. Depending on your position you will either be a resident or non-resident alien. With regard to what taxes you would pay, the following short sentence from the Philippines tax code appears to answer most questions: ‘An alien individual, whether a resident or not of the Philippines, is taxable only on income derived from sources within the Philippines’.”

“See Republic of The Philippines Tax Code – Tax on Income

“Therefore, if you are tax resident in the Philippines or not seems to mean you are only taxable there on Philippines-sourced income. So your UK and Falklands pensions should not be taxable in the Philippines. If you have a UK military pension this should be treated the same. If you take on Philippines permanent residence, things might change.”