Origin of non dom tax status.
From today's Times.
Non-domiciled tax status is a bizarre relic of British colonial-era tax law, having been introduced in 1799 by William Pitt the Younger during the rule of George III.
The aim of the perk was to keep the new class of colonial rich, who were financing and propping up the burgeoning Empire, happy by exempting all of their foreign earnings from British tax.
At a time when some of the richest and most powerful of these British colonialists had acquired much of their wealth from abroad by farming sugar cane in Jamaica or tobacco plantations in Virginia, they would otherwise have faced eye-popping tax bills in Britain on their overseas earnings.
Today, these peculiar rules allow those who live in Britain 365 days per year but who grew rich abroad to declare another country as their real domicile or jurisdiction of origin, preventing them from paying British tax on overseas earnings, such as on dividends from foreign investments, rental payments on property overseas or bank interest, as long as they do not bring the money into the UK.
Three types of domicile are recognised in the UK. The first, and simplest (used by Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty), is to declare your domicile of origin as overseas on a tax return. Domicile of origin is acquired at birth because it is that of a child’s father or, if there is no father listed, their mother.
Nimesh Shah, chief executive of the accountancy firm Blick Rothenberg, said that this was “one of many absurd parts of the law”.
Shah said: “Above everything else, it’s pretty sexist to base your own nationality on that of your father.”
The second type of domicile is domicile of choice, which is where you can elect a country other than Britain to live in, and pay taxes.
To do this, it needs to be demonstrated that you want to remain in your new country for ever by severing your financial, business and property ties to the UK.
Finally there is domicile of dependency, where a minor acquires the domicile of his father. If he changes his domicile, his child does as well.
As Murty’s father’s nationality is Indian, she is right to claim her domiciled status as Indian.
Shah stresses that to be a non-dom is not an inevitability for Murty, but a choice. “You can give up your domicile of origin, which you inherited from your father,” Shah said. “If you state in a tax return that your intention is to live in the UK and you’re not going to go back to your country of origin, you will be considered British for tax purposes and you’ll lose your domicile of origin.”
If Murty wanted to lose her domicile of origin, she would have to declare that she was no longer a non-dom by not ticking the relevant box on her tax return — and she should then write an additional note explaining she wants to be UK-domiciled.
She would then need to sever all her ties to the country of her previous domicile, including giving up rights to vote, selling assets and property.
Under pressure from tax campaigners, successive governments — both Labour and Conservative — have repeatedly tightened the rules in recent years for people who live in the UK but declare themselves domiciled overseas.
Under changes introduced by the former chancellor Alistair Darling, a non-dom who has lived here between eight and 13 years now has to pay a special charge of £30,000 per year. This charge increases to £60,000 per annum from the 13th year.
Finally, in changes introduced by George Osborne in 2015, non-dom status is taken away altogether for those who have lived here for more than 15 of the past 20 years.
Started: 8th Apr 2022 at 16:06