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Statutory residence test: draft guidance

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HMRC has published draft guidance on the statutory residence test for individuals, set to take effect in April 2013.

More than 50 pages of draft clauses for Finance Bill 2013, including several anti-avoidance clauses, make the draft legislation published last week ‘overly complex’, according to the ICAEW Tax Faculty.

Simon and Sharon McKie, partners in McKie & Co, said the tax profession’s hope that the test ‘would be a simple, objective test based on days of presence in the UK probably following the US model’ had been disappointed.

‘The draft legislation is complex and in parts highly uncertain in its scope. The reason for that is that the government has chosen to use concepts which are incapable of precise definition instead of finding arithmetical tests which can stand as reasonable proxies for them,’ they wrote in last week’s issue of Tax Journal. The government had ‘wasted an opportunity for significant and cost free simplification of a key element of the tax code’.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation, however, declared last week that the UK was ‘on track for a modernised system of deciding tax residence’.

Some ‘useful changes’ had been made to the draft legislation published earlier in the year, reflecting ‘continuing dialogue between business, the tax profession, HM Treasury and HMRC’. The CIOT had been closely involved in the consultative process and welcomed ‘the progress made in resolving remaining areas of uncertainty’.

HMRC has invited comments by 6 February 2013 on draft guidance on the test and overseas workday relief.