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How to pay UK taxes when living abroad

  • 3 min read
  • Last updated 2 Apr 2024

Eager to leave the UK? Find out when and how to pay UK taxes if you’re on a one-way ticket to another country!

Step number one is to let HMRC know that you are leaving the UK permanently, of course. You can do this by filling out a P85 postal form or by using the online form service – whatever is easiest for you!

Do I pay taxes in the UK if I live abroad?

The basic rule is: when you live abroad, you still have to pay tax on any income that you earn from the UK – this includes:

You won’t be able to claim back National Insurance from previous tax years, unfortunately. But if the country you’re moving to has a social security agreement with the UK, anything you have paid will contribute towards the benefits system over there.

You can check which countries have a social security agreement with the UK here.

How do I avoid double taxation?

Before booking that one-way ticket, you may want to check whether the country you are living in will also tax you on your UK income as this is not unheard of.

Double Taxation Agreement - Taxscouts

If your country of residence has a double-taxation agreement with the UK you can avoid this by claiming tax relief in the UK, so you pay taxes only once – sounds fair to us! 

Check which countries have this agreement with the UK here, it’s never too late to switch the destination on that ticket!

What if a UK company employs me but I am resident elsewhere?

If a UK company employs you, but you live abroad (for example, as a secondment), your employer can set you up as a non-resident employee for tax purposes:

  • You will only have to pay income tax on the fraction of the year you spent working in the UK
  • The remainder of your income is taxed in your home country

Be sure to double-check with your employer!

How do I report and file my income from abroad?

If you live abroad, you cannot directly use HMRC’s online services to file your self-assessment tax return.

Your taxes have to be filed either by:

  • Using HMRC-certified online software
  • Filling out paper forms and submitting them by post
  • Using a qualified tax accountant or an online tax service such as TaxScouts – not to be biased but we highly recommend this option!

What if I live in the UK and have foreign income?

In this case, you might want to read our guide to paying tax on foreign income instead – this will break it all down for you!

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