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bigduckontax, Accountant
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I am self-employed, worked abroad from July 2014 months.

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I am self-employed, worked abroad from July 2014 for 12 months. Although I had a residence visa in Botswana I have done the tests and am not eligible for split year treatment by HMRC. I therefore presume I have to declare earnings actually received (in US dollars) from UNICEF during 2014/2015 tax year. And can also claim some expenses during the period as not deductable e.g. cost of rented accommodation, costs of flights from/to UK. Am I correct? If so what can I do in relation to living costs while away eg food, utilities without getting bogged down in tracing bills, receipts I may not even have any more?
Hello, I am Keith, one of the experts on Just Answer, and pleased to be able to assist you with your question. If you are resident in the UK for more than 183 days in any one tax year then you are liable for UK Income Tax on your world wide earnings, so your UNICEF earnings are taxable and do not constitute self employment; you would be classified as an employee. You are not entitled to deduct any living or travel expenses unless these are incurred as a result of duties away from your normal duty location. Under UK taxation and employment law you can only have one primary place of employment. If you are then required to work elsewhere for periods then that counts as temporary duty. Any tax on income deducted by Botswana or paid there is allowable as a tax credit against any UK tax liability on the same income. You are covered by the Doubla Taxation Treaty between the UK and Botswana which precludes the same income stream being taxed in both jurisdictions. The Treaty does not, however, protect you from differences in rates of taxation. I am so sorry to have to rain on your parade.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you

Some of your answer makes sense and confirms what I understood from HMRC webpages. However, I may not have given clear enough information about my situation. I am self-employed - my 2013/2104 tax return consisted of my pension income and a few days consultancy work in UK - I am not/was not employed by Unicef, I had a contract for a specified number of days at an agreed daily rate, my payments at different points in time were determined by the completion of specified deliverables. And I was responsible for my accommodation as well as IT and other resources for my work. Originally my contract would have run from April to February which surely would have simplified matters but even with the late start I was in the UK for less that the 183 days you mention. Does any of that information make any difference? Or if you think I will be treated as primarily employed who is my employer?

I take your point, but merely caution how I feel that HMRC will react to your working relationship. They are likely to say that you are effectively in a PAYE relationship with UNICEF, even if they didn't operate the system on your emoluments, PAYE and thus an employee. If your 'employing' UNICEF office is itself overseas then the PAYE question is simply a non starter and your self employed status secure.
However, at this stage I would merely declare the net profit made from self employment on your tax return in the usual way. That is after deductions for accommodation and travel away from your normal place of residence, presumably somewhere in the UK. I would draw your attention to the Gov UK web site on the subject of residency:
'You’re automatically resident if either:
you spent 183 or more days in the UK in the tax year
your only home was in the UK
- you must have owned, rented or lived in it for at least 91 days in total
- and you spent at least 30 days there in the tax year'
Thus you are resident and liable to UK taxation.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


I think I have a clearer understanding now & you've pretty much confirmed what I thought might be the case. As I was contracted by Unicef Botswana & paid in Botswana your view is that my self-employed status is secured. And as I had already concluded HMRC will view UK as my normal place of residence your view is that I should start by declaring net profit (on income actually received in 2014/2015 tax year) deducting actual travel and accommodation costs away from UK. I can demonstrate those should I ever be asked but will assume that living costs like food would be difficult to prove unless there is a standard amount I can claim per day. And I will be in a similar position with the 2015/2016 tax return for my time in Botswana from April-July unless I return there or somewhere else for the vast majority of the rest of the current tax year. Could you please let me know if that matches your advice? If so, you haven't really rained on my parade but you have confirmed that I can't ignore this in my return. Many thanks again, Keith

Unfortunately, there is no standard rate for these deductions unlike motor mileage where 45p per mile op to 10K miles [25p thereafter] can be claimed. The moral of that is to always keep supporting receipts in the event of an inquiry. My personal tax files go back to when I first started work in 1961. I have, on occasions, had to refer back to have HMRC or the Inland Revenue before them say their files don't go back that far. My retort is 'Well, mine do!' and in the immortal words of Eric Morecambe, 'There's no answer to that!'
I suggest that the same thing will happen in 15/16. Remember Benjamin Franklin's adage that in life there are but two certainties, death and taxes.
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