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TonyTax, Tax Consultant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 15979
Experience:  Inc Tax, CGT, Corp Tax, IHT, VAT.
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Am I legally bound to inform HMRC when I travel abroad. I

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Am I legally bound to inform HMRC when I travel abroad. I am a small business holder in England and I have a place in Cyprus I visit from time to time. I am not referring to telling HMRC but my Legal Requirment

Unless a court has ordered you to, you are not legally bound to tell any government agency when you travel abroad and certainly not HMRC. When people leave the UK to work or live, indefinitely or permanently, they may complete a P85 to tell HMRC of the fact and to claim back any tax owing to them but there is no legal obligation to complete such a form and many don't bother.

You would want to inform HMRC if you were leaving the UK indefinitely or permanently if you wanted to establish non-UK residence for UK tax purposes as that would be in your financial interest to do so. HMRC would use all methods available to them to trace an individual who had left the UK owing a significant amount of tax but there is no process to stop those who do owe tax leaving the UK.

I have quite a few clients who have lived abroad and never informed HMRC. They didn't get into any trouble with HMRC when they returned and if they had a letter from the tax office asking what they had been doing in the intervening period after re-appearing on the HMRC computer as an employee or a sole-trader for instance, a simple letter of explanation has usually sufficed.

The UK borders are pretty porous and visitors who are on temporary visas are trusted to leave when they visa expires but many don't and there appears to be no process to track them down.

I hope this helps but let me know if you have any further questions.
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