Revenue shuts expat loophole

The Inland Revenue has closed a tax loophole that has enabled thousands of wealthy Britons to duck their commitment to capital gains tax.

Under an extended clampdown on tax avoidance, the move from the Chancellor of the Exchequer targets any professional who has achieved ‘temporary non-resident’ status by living in specific European countries.

It will revamp the current system, where a Briton living in Belgium, Portugal or Austria has been able to claim ‘non-resident’ status just one year after leaving the UK, so they can avoid paying capital gains back to the Exchequer.

Treasury officials seek to close the loophole under the Finance Bill, as part of a move expected to net about £100 million for the Inland Revenue.

They say the action will also be fairer for other expatriates who have to work for five years to avoid payment in a similar way.

John Whiting, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: “It’s a very clear signal that if you make a capital gain in this country, you’re going to have pay tax on it.”


6th June 2005

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