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UK Expats: Do I Need To File A UK Self Assessment Tax Return?

self assessment

If you no longer live in the UK, you may still be required to file a Self Assessment tax return with HMRC even if you’re a non-resident.

This article was written exclusively for Expat Network by Go Simple Tax


Tax rules for UK residents and non-residents can be different – one of the first requirements will be to determine your tax residency status in the UK. An important factor is to remember that although you live in a different country, you could still be a tax resident in the UK and have to file a self assessment tax return and pay taxes on some of your income.


Stating your UK tax residence status

HMRC have their own residency test which will determine whether you are classed as a tax resident. One very common mistake most expats make is not completing the residency test and deciding for themselves – this could then end up with a huge fine from HMRC for not filing your tax return.

When it comes to finding out your tax residence status it can be very complicated so seeking help from a professional can come in handy, especially when it comes to owing HMRC money. There’s no room for getting it wrong as this could lead to penalties.

Here’s a breakdown of HMRC’s check list for non-residency:

If you satisfy the 2 conditions below then you are regarded as non-resident

  • You have spent fewer than 16 days in the UK per year. If you’ve been a foreign national for three or more years this will rise to 46.
  • Your main source of income comes from overseas

There are other conditions that can also determine your residency status and more information can be found on the HMRC website.

However, even if you have been classed as a non-residence for tax purposes, you may still have some tax to pay if you receive income in the UK, this includes:

  • Rental income from UK property
  • Investment income which could include, dividends, bank interest and bonds.
  • Inheritance processed through a British-based executor.
  • Selling a UK property
  • Any earnings you make in the UK via employment of self-employment



If you file or pay your self assessment tax return after 31st January you will incur a penalty:

Late tax return:

  • £100 for one day after the deadline
  • 3 months late incurs £10 a day penalty capped at £900 for 90 days late
  • 6 months late adds a further £300 fine or 5% of the tax outstanding, whichever is higher.
  • 12 months late adds a further £300 fine or 5% of the tax outstanding, whichever is higher.

Tax Payment

  • 30 date adds a 5% surcharge on any tax outstanding
  • 6 Months add a further 5% surcharge on any tax outstanding
  • 12 months and a further 5% charge is made

These surcharges are in addition to a 3% interest charge added by HMRC.


How to submit your Self Assessment tax return

This is where GoSimpletax can help, our software provides all correct documentation, this means as an expat you can submit your tax return after the 31st October, without the need for pricey accountancy fees.

GoSimpleTax can swiftly and easily prep your submission, cutting out long, hours under pressure. You’ll save big on accountancy hire and gain a resource you can trust.