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Volcanic Effect on Residence & Domicile
Story added: 05/05/2010

HMRC have acknowledged the air travel disruptions, following a number of enquries about residence rules from individuals who found themselves stranded in the UK.

The Revenue said that the flight chaos caused by volcanic ash from Iceland will be treated as an exceptional circumstance for anyone who planned to leave the country but was unable to do so.

Such circumstances are covered by guidance in paragraph 2.2 of booklet HMRC 6: 'When considering days of presence in the UK under the rules from 6 April 2008, and under the rules for previous years, days you have spent in the UK because of exceptional circumstances beyond your control may be disregarded'.

Additional days spent in the UK purely because of the closing of the skies may therefore disregard the time when considering whether they are resident tax purposes. Those wishing to claim days spent under exceptional circumstances should keep sufficient evidence to support their paperwork, said HMRC.

The department reiterated that it reserves the right to reject claims of exceptional circumstances, and individuals who spend 183 days or more of the current tax year in the UK will be considered to have been resident.

With regards to resident taxpayers who were unable to return from overseas because of the ash cloud, the Revenue said normal tax rules would apply:

If the employee was abroad for business purposes on behalf of their employer, any costs of their reparation would not incur a tax liability on the employee because they would be deemed to have been incurred in the performance of duties.

If the employee was abroad for personal reasons and the employer paid to repatriate them (and their family), it is probable that a benefit in kind charge will arise on the employee.

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