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Moving to France from the UK: Figuring Out Where You’re a Tax Resident

By Michael Doyle
This article is published on: 18th March 2021

Is the dream of waking up every day to a breakfast of freshly-baked bagels as you look at the Eiffel Tower from your Paris balcony beckoning you? Okay, this might not be exactly what life for the average French resident is like, but living in France often holds appeal for those on the other side of the channel.

Just make sure that the new rules and regulations brought in after the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union don’t catch you out when you move and pay tax somewhere new.

In this series of articles, we’ll be covering a range of tax issues, starting with how to know where you’re a tax resident.

Being a tax resident in France

To be considered a tax resident in France, it must be your “main home.” If this doesn’t apply to you, there are four other conditions that determine whether you can be classed as a tax resident:

  • If you spend more than 183 days of the tax year there (which is the same as the calendar year)
  • If you spend more time in France than elsewhere in the world
  • If a substantial portion of your assets are in France
  • If your principal business activities are based in France
tax UK & France

Being a tax resident in the United Kingdom
The same basic principles apply for determining whether you’re classed as a tax resident in the United Kingdom. Your eligibility depends on where you fall in the Statutory Residence Test, which involves three parts: the automatic overseas test, automatic residence test, and sufficient ties test.

These first two tests are pretty simple and involve a few components assessing how many days you spend in and out of the country. However, the sufficient ties test is a little more complex, with various conditions that can be classed as your ties:

  • How much you’ve worked in the UK
  • Having family in the UK
  • Available accommodation in the UK
  • Spending more than 90 days in the UK over the last two years
  • Spending more time in the UK than anywhere else

These aspects all have their own complicated definitions, so it’s best to consult a specialist for more specific advice.

Where are you a resident?
Thanks to the Double Tax Treaty between the UK and France, it’s only possible to be a tax resident of one country at any given point. Plus, in addition to both countries’ criteria, the Tax Treaty has its own “tie-breaker” rules.

Relying on your own interpretation of the criteria or your predictions for where you’ll spend the most time in the future is riskier than you might think. Unexpected circumstances like illness can alter your plans, and you may misinterpret the rules or definitions set by authorities.

As you can see, although figuring out where you’re a tax resident sounds simple, it can be complicated if you’re frequently moving between and conducting business in both countries. To protect your finances and your peace of mind, it’s best to arrange an appointment with a professional.

Article by Michael Doyle

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