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The Statutory Resident Test (SRT) rules can be used to determine if someone is resident in the UK for tax purposes. These rules are especially important in cases where an expat or non-dom stays for more than a certain number of days in the UK. Depending on certain pre-defined tests, non-residents can spend between 16 to 183 days in the UK each tax year before they have to start paying UK tax.

In an update to the exceptional circumstances rules for claiming the SRT, HMRC accepts that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may impact a person's ability to move freely, to and from the UK or require someone to remain unexpectedly in the UK.

The revised guidance states that if you:

  • are quarantined or advised by a health professional or public health guidance to self-isolate in the UK as a result of the virus
  • find yourself advised by official Government advice not to travel from the UK as a result of the virus
  • are unable to leave the UK as a result of the closure of international borders, or
  • are asked by your employer to return to the UK temporarily as a result of the virus

the circumstances are considered as exceptional.

HM Treasury has also issued a letter confirming they will amend the SRT to ensure that any period(s) between 1 March and 1 June 2020 spent in the UK by individuals working on COVID-19 related activities will not count towards the residence tests.