Simple Tax Guide for American Expats in the UK (2023)

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Simple Tax Guide for American Expats inthe UK (1)

At TFX we have been preparing U.S. taxes for Americans living in the U.K. for over 25 years. This makes us one of the most experienced firms in the business.

Regardless of where you live, you must file expat taxes in the US. How are these taxes affected if your choice is to reside within the United Kingdom? The UK is a very popular choice for American expatriates, with its many nationalities, English language, and a long held position of power in the world it provides a new experience without language barriers. It is vital to have an understanding of how living within the UK affects your United States expat taxes, and what taxes you must pay to the UK while living there.

US Expat Taxes - The United Kingdom

US citizens, as well as permanent residents, are required to file expatriate tax returns with the federal government every year regardless of where they reside. Along with the typical tax return for income, many people are also required to submit a return disclosing assets which are held in bank accounts in foreign countries by using FinCEN Form 114 (FBAR).

The United States is among only a few governments who tax international income earned by their citizens, as well as permanent residents, residing overseas. There are, however, some provisions that help protect from possible double taxation. These include:

  • The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. This exclusion allows one to exclude USD 108,700 (this amount is for 2021taxes) in earned income from foreign sources.
  • A tax credit allowing tax on remaining income to be reduced based on the taxes paid to foreign governments.
  • An exclusion on foreign housing that allows additional exclusions from their income for some amounts paid to cover household expenses due to living abroad.

Preparing a quality tax return following proper tax planning should allow one to use these, as well as other strategies, in minimizing or possibly eliminating tax liability. Note that in most cases the filing of a tax return is required, even if taxes are not owed.

Tax Rates in the United Kingdom

The equivalent of the US Internal Revenue Service in the United Kingdom is the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs office (HMRC). This office is the primary collector of revenue for the UK government. They administer some regulatory systems (e.g., minimum wage), collect taxes, and pay some welfare.

National income tax rates for 2021-2022from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), are:

Band Earnings Rate
Personal Allowance

Up to £12,570

Basic Rate

£12,571 to £50,270


Higher Rate

£50,271 to £150,000


Additional rate

> £150,001


Personal Savings Allowance

You may also get up to £1,000 of interest tax-free depending on which income band (see above)you’re in. This is your Personal Savings Allowance.

Income Tax Band Tax-Free Savings Income
Basic rate£1,000
Higher rate£500
Additional rate£0

Some types of income are taxed differently. Lower income persons can request interest to be tax free, or get a refund for taxes they already paid for savings interest.

Dividend Tax

Tax Year Tax-Free Allowance

6 April 2021 to 5 April 2022


6 April 2020 to 5 April 2021


6 April 2019 to 5 April 2020


Above this allowance the tax you pay depends on which income band(see above) you’re in. Add your income from dividends to your othertaxable incomewhen working this out. You may pay tax at more than one rate.

Tax Band Tax- rate on dividends overallowance
Basic rate7.5%
Higher rate32.5%
Additional rate38.1%

You don’t pay tax on dividends from shares in anISA(note - this is not the case for US tax - see below for US treatment of ISA accounts)

US taxes vs UK taxes

In absolute terms, you pay less income tax in the US. The highest rate of income tax in the US is 37% if you earn over $523k. In the UK, it’s 45% if you earn over £150k. In many US states, you also have to pay state taxes - some states pay nothing, but New York, for example, the state taxes can be an additional 8.8%. Nothing like that in the UK. Even after all that, the UK probably has a slightly higher tax burden (unless you own a large property in a high property tax state like NJ). But, remember, in the US, you’ve got to pay for healthcare on top of that. The tax you pay in the UK pays for the NHS. The social services you can avail of in the US are far more limited than those in the UK. And there’s far more ‘free’ cultural stuff in the UK that taxes pay for. In summary US citizen paying UK taxes will be higher compared to their home country.

US tax for UK residents

If a UK citizen living or working in the US passed either one of these two tests, they are subject to US taxation on their world wide income. The only exception are if they are working for British government, or if they are in the US on a teacher, training , or student visa.

  1. 31 days during the current year, and
  2. 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately beforehand, counting:
    • All the days you were present in the current year, and
    • 1/3 of the days you were present in the first year before the current year, and
    • 1/6 of the days you were present in the second year before the current year.

Who Qualifies as a United Kingdom Resident?

UK residence status will affects whether or not you need to pay tax in the UK on your foreign income.

  • Non-residents only paytax on their UK income - they don’t pay UK tax on their foreign income.
  • Residents normally pay UK tax on all their income, whether it’s from the UK or abroad. But there are special rules for UK residents whose permanent home (‘domicile’) is abroad (see below).

The HMRC defines residency requirements in the United Kingdom. In general, residency is determined by the longer term intentions of the taxpayers, along with the number of days they are physically in the United Kingdom. For purposes of counting days, being present means being in the United Kingdom at midnight.


The distinction between “resident” and “ordinarily resident” has disappeared andinstead there is a“Statutory residence test”:

You’re automatically considered a 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

You’re automatically non-resident if either:

  • you spent fewer than 16 days in the UK (or 46 days if you haven’t been classed as UK resident for the 3 previous tax years)
  • you work abroad full-time (averaging at least 35 hours a week) and spent fewer than 91 days in the UK, of which no more than 30 were spent working

UK Domicile

When considering taxes in the UK, domicile is an important issue for factoring in worldwide income. A taxpayer’s domicile is the place where they have their permanent, long-term home. Domicile is different than residence, citizenship, or nationality.

A person’s domicile is identical to their father’s domicile as of their birth. If their father changed his domicile while they were still dependent, their domicile changes as well. Otherwise, this domicile remains unless they acquire a domicile that is different.

To do this, they must sever ties with their previous domicile, relocate to a different jurisdiction, and maintain a permanent residence in the new jurisdiction. Acquiring a domicile of your choice rather than the domicile of your origin is difficult. You must prove your domicile changed.

The majority of expatriates in the United Kingdom are classified as domiciled outside of the UK. HMRC is constantly making changes to the UK domicile and residence regulations, and in April, 2008 made the system much more complicated. Therefore, you will most likely want to contact an expert to determine your domicile while you live in the United Kingdom.

For more info on UK Domicile when moving to the UK, please see

When Are United Kingdom Taxes Due?

To be eligible to work within the United Kingdom, and therefore file tax returns, a taxpayer must apply for their National Insurance identification number. This is applied for through the Jobcentere Plus office. Residence permits, proof of any marriage or partnership, and identity proof is required.

It is not possible for married couples to file joint returns. Each person must submit their own returns as required for their personal income. There is an allowance that permits one spouse the ability to transfer personal allowance of theirs to one another.

The UK tax year is different than the US tax year. In the UK, it is the 6th of April through the 5th of April. Tax returns are to be submitted to the HMRC prior to the 31st of October if filing by paper.

If a taxpayer e-files, they have until the 31st of January of the next year. Extensions are not available. The United Kingdom uses a withholding process (PAYE) that goes through the employer’s payroll. Payment of taxes on income not from wages (and is not subject to withholding) is due on the 31st of January. All payments are required to be finished before July 31st in the next year.

Who is Required to Submit Tax Returns?

HMRC sends tax forms to each individual. If they determine a taxpayer has paid sufficient tax using payroll withholding, you may not receive a form, and don’t have to submit a return if there is no other income or applicable circumstances.

Other income, like investment income or self-employment income, requires a taxpayer to file their return and submit the taxes due on the income. Some cases that require the filing of a return include:

  • Property rental income
  • Profits from the sale of shares, second homes, and other capital gains
  • Income from sources outside the UK while living in the United Kingdom
  • Claiming child benefits if you or a partner’s income is over GBP 50,000
  • Income of GBP 100,000 or more

Taxpayers may also choose to file in order to claim any deductions. Common deductions include donations, contributions to private pensions, and employment expenses exceeding GBP 2,500.

If tax forms are not received from the government, but you need one, register online. The process can take up to 14 days, since a PIN number must be mailed. If you register online, do it early to help avoid late penalties.

United Kingdom Social Security

Generally speaking, expats are required to participate in the United Kingdom’s National Insurance after they have started employment (including self-employment). This covers the cost of welfare, health insurance, pension plans, unemployment insurance, and workers compensation, along with other various social programs in the United Kingdom. There is an agreement between the US and the UK concerning Social Security. This agreement requires people to pay tax for Social Security in the country in which they are working. But, if you are sent to the United Kingdom by your employer for 5 years or fewer, you continue coverage in the US Social Security system on your United States expat taxes, with an exemption from coverage by the UK program. For the self-employed, they pay in the country they reside in.

Does the United Kingdom Tax Foreign Income?

The tax requirements on taxpayer worldwide income depend on UK domicile and residency status. If a taxpayer is a UK resident, they must pay taxes on total investment income, regardless of location. This is the same amount that is reported on US expatriate taxes.

A taxpayer who is a resident not domiciled within the UK is able to submit taxes using remittance basis on both their foreign income as well as capital gains. A taxpayer who is resident as well as domiciled, but is not considered ordinarily resident, is allowed to use remittance on foreign income, but not on capital gain income. Remittance basis means you can choose to pay United Kingdom tax on your income from investments remitted in UK. Your income is required to be remitted when the income is brought into the United Kingdom, or when paid in the United Kingdom to you. It is advisable to speak with a competent tax advisor about bank accounts overseas to help avoid expensive mistakes for taxpayers not domiciled in the United Kingdom.

Tax Treaty Between the US and UK

The tax treaty between the US & the UK is helpful for understanding situations where it is not clear which country you should pay taxes to. The country receiving tax payments is normally determined by residency status of the taxpayer in each of the countries. The treaty is meant to help prevent the double taxation on dual citizens, but also to explain tax issues that are not clear.

UK Taxes

Along with income tax imposed on salaries, there are additional types of income taxed by the United Kingdom.

Compensation that is not in cash is taxable. Examples include relocation expenses, housing stipends, meal allowances, clothing allowances, club memberships, commuting costs, payments for home leave, and educational reimbursements. Exceptions exist, but generally speaking, expatriates can plan on paying taxes on all compensation, cash or non-cash, in the United Kingdom - including tax for national insurance.

Capital Gains

Taxes are also imposed on capital gains, including sales of a second property being rented out or an investment property, corporate bonds, life insurance, cars, ISA account gains, asset gifts to charity, and United Kingdom government bonds.

  • Sales of principle residences are exempt from taxas long asthe properties have been lived in by the owners for the entire ownership period. If the property has not been lived in or as been rented out for the period of the ownership, then some principal private residence relief can be claimed, but not on the entire value of the property.

There are two separate capital gains tax rates which apply depending on the asset which is being disposed of:

  • 28% for carried interest and disposals of second properties (such as rental or investment properties);
  • 20% on all other assets;

Please note that gains on ISAs typically do not lead to tax being due in the UK. Gains on ISAs are not tax deferred in the U.S.

  • As long as the individual is a Resident of the UK and they make contributions which are no greater than £20,000 each year, then any gains which arise from the disposal of such assets will not be subject to capital gains tax in the UK.

As mentioned earlier, the definition of “Ordinarily Resident” has now been abolished from April 2013 and onwards and that any individual who is a UK domicile who is Resident in the UK will be taxed on their worldwide income under the arising basis. However, there are some specific cases whereby individuals who are Not Resident in the UK can be subject to capital gains tax in the UK upon the disposal of an asset (such as a disposal of a property under the Non Resident Capital Gains Tax rules which have applied since April 2015).

If an individual is non-domiciled and Resident in the UK, then they are only subject to tax on any UK sited assets disposed of as well as any proceeds which have been remitted to the UK which have a capital gain element relating to it (this is only applicable if the asset was disposed of during the UK residency period).

Concerning estate taxes, expect to owe inheritance tax on worldwide assets when you have UK domicile. The HMRC considers inheritance tax payable for those who have been residents of the United Kingdom for at least 17 years out of the previous twenty years. If the taxpayer is domiciled within the United States, they are responsible only for inheritance taxes on their assets within the United Kingdom.

Save on Your United States Expat Taxes

Because of the many types of taxes imposed on foreign nationals in the United Kingdom, it is in a taxpayer’s best interest to understand and apply all available deductions, credits, and exclusions to their United States expat taxes. Along with this, one must understand the rules for residency and domicile to optimize their United Kingdom Self-Assessment. The best way to make tax filing hassle free is to understand the requirements.

Questions About United Kingdom Taxes?

Get expert advice. Contact us! We have an expert team to provide tax advice to expats, and give you all the information you need to know to file your United States expat tax return while living outside the country.

Overview of the UK Tax System

1. Who is considered a UK Resident?

In the United Kingdom you are defined as a resident by the rules set out by the HMRC. In short, your residency is determined by your long-term intentions and the number of days you actually spend in the country. For the purpose of this exercise each day is counted if you are in the UK at midnight.

· If you are in the UK and do not intend to stay for more than two years, you are a resident for the tax year if 183 or more days are spent in the UK. If you spend less than 183 days in the UK, you will not be considered a resident for tax purposes.

  • If over the last four tax years you have spent 91 days or more on average per year in the UK, you will be considered a resident for tax purposes. You would be considered a resident for tax purposes from the date of your arrival if you intended to spend more than 91 days, on average per year, in the UK.
  • If you come to the UK and expect to stay for two years or more, you are considered a tax resident from the first day that you arrive.

There are also two types of residents: Ordinarily and not ordinarily.

  • Resident and ordinarily resident – When you come to the UK and expect to stay for three years or more. This can be proven by purchasing or leasing property available for three years or more.
  • Resident and not ordinarily resident – When you have been outside the UK and intend to come to the UK for at least two years, but less than three years.

2. What is a Domicile?

For UK tax purposes, domicile is important for determining how you are taxed on your worldwide income. Domicile is defined where a person has their long-term, permanent home. It is different from citizenship or residence.

Your domicile or origin is the same domicile as your father’s domicile at the time of birth. If your father changed domicile while you were still a dependent, your domicile will also have changed. You can, however, change your domicile. In order to do so, you must cut links with your previous domicile, move to a new jurisdiction and have a permanent home in that jurisdiction. It is difficult to acquire domicile of choice compared to domicile of origin, and the responsibility to prove that your domicile has changed lies on you.

Most expats in the UK are considered non-UK domiciled.

3. Is Foreign Income Taxed in the UK?

The tax paid on worldwide income will depend on your residency and domicile status in the UK. If you are considered a resident in the UK, you are taxed on all of your investment income, no matter the location. This will be the same income reported on your US expat taxes.

If you are a resident but not domiciled in the UK, you are able to file using the remittance basis for both foreign income and capital gains. If you are a resident and domiciled, but are not ordinarily resident, you can use remittance only for your foreign income, not capital gains.Remittance basis allows you to elect to be liable to pay UK tax on investment income remitted in the UK.Income must be remitted if it is brought to the UK or paid to you in the UK. It is good to contact a tax advisor regarding overseas bank accounts in order to avoid costly mistakes for non-UK domiciled residents.

4. What is the UK income tax rate?

For the 2018-2019tax year, the national income rates fromHer Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC)are as follows:

Earnings in GBP (£)Rate Applicable to Income Level (%)
Up to £11,850Personal Allowance:0%
£11,851 to £46,350Basic rate: 20%
£46,351 to £150,000Higher rate: 40%
Over £150,000Additional rate: 45%

* You don’t get a Personal Allowance on taxable income over £123,700.

5. What is the UK tax year?

The tax year in the UK is different from the US. It is April 6th through April 5th.

6. When is the UK tax due date?

Tax returns need to be filed with the HMRC before October 31st of the tax year if they are being filed by paper. This is also different than the April deadline for US expat taxes.

If you are e-filing, you have until January 31st of the year following the tax year. HMRC does not offer extensions.

For payment, the UK has a withholding system (PAYE) that will go through your employer’s payroll.For non-wage income that does not have withholding, payments are due on January 31st of the tax year.Payments must be completed by the 31st of July following the tax year.

7. How do you account for different tax years between US & UK?

We use prorated amount of earnings and tax paid from two consecutive years covering full calendar year.

For example - to calculate figures for the 2018US tax year, we take 3 months from the UK 2017-2018tax year and 9 months from the UK 2018-2019tax year. To do this we would normally use your paystubs or run the calculation for obtain these numbers.

8. What UK tax forms can I expect to receive?

There are three PAYE tax forms: P45, P60 and P11D:

  1. P45 - You get a P45 from your employer when you stop working for them. Your P45 shows how much tax you’ve paid on your salary so far in the tax year (6 April to 5 April).
  2. P60 - Your P60 shows the tax you’ve paid on your salary in the tax year (6 April to 5 April). If you’re working for your employer on 5 April they must give you a P60. They must provide this by 31 May, on paper or electronically.
  3. P11D - Your employer will send a P11D to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if you get any ‘benefits in kind’ (eg company cars or interest-free loans). The P11D records how much each benefit is worth.

We would like you to provide us with every PAYE form that you receive (we ask for it on the Earned Income tab of the Tax Questionnaire).

9. Do I have to complete a UK tax return?

Most taxpayers in the UK are taxed at source and so do not need to complete a Self Assessment Tax Return. ‘Taxed at source’ means that the money you receive has already had tax taken off, such as the wages you get from your employer when paid under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system, or UK bank interest taxed at source.

People who have income that has not been taxed at source, or not taxed at the correct rate, and on which tax is due, are required to inform HM Revenue & Customs about the income within six months of the end of the tax year in which the income is received (that is by 5 October following the end of the tax year). HMRC will then send you a notice to file a tax return, either by post or electronically.

Such income would include, for example, rental income, self-employed income, savings income for higher rate taxpayers, and occasional untaxed income like eBay sales or casual freelance earnings.

However - if you receive a notice to file a return from the HMRC - you must complete a return and submit it to HMRC.This is so even if you are an employee and all your income is taxed under PAYE.

10. What other taxes aside from Income Tax should I be aware of?

In addition to income tax on salaries paid, there are other forms of income that are taxed in the UK.

1. Non-cash compensation is considered taxable. This includes housing stipends, relocation expenses, meal and clothing allowances, commuting costs, club memberships, education reimbursement or home leave payments. There are exceptions, but in general, expats can expect to pay taxes on non-cash compensation in the UK, including national insurance.

2. Any capital gains are also going to be taxed, including the sale of your only or main residence, life insurance policies, corporate bonds, motor cars, gifts of assets to charity, gains from ISA accounts, and UK government bonds. If you are a resident or ordinarily resident and domiciled in the UK, this includes worldwide capital gains. If you are not domiciled, it will only be on capital gains earned in the UK, allowing for election by the remittance basis for overseas gains.

3. For estate taxes, you can expect to pay inheritance tax to worldwide assets if you are domiciled in the UK. HMRC deems you responsible for inheritance taxes if you have been resident in the UK for 17 or more of the last 20 years. In the case that you are domiciled in the US, you are only responsible for inheritance on assets located inside the UK.

11. What is the name for UK Tax Declaration document and who must have it prepared? Do you need its copy?

UK Tax Declaration is calledSelf Assessment.

This page explains who must have it prepared and submitted to the HMRC.

UK tax year is from 6 April to 5 April the following year.

You’ll need to send a tax return if, in the last tax year:

You cancheck whether you need to on this page. You usually won’t need to send a return if your only income is from your wages or pension.

If you get an email or letter from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) telling you send a return, you must send it - even if you don’t have any tax to pay.

If you submitted Self Assessment form for the period covered by the US tax year (ie either Jan 1 - Apr 5 or Apr6 - Dec31), please provide it (or both of them) to us.

We ask for it in the QuestionDo you have an annual tax summary (ie local W2) from any country outside of the U.S? in the tab Main | Basic Infoof our Tax Questionnaire.

How to Report UK Income on our Tax Questionnaire

1. How do I report income on the Tax Questionnaire

For income you earned while being employed:

You will need four pay-stubs for the year - all of them are for the calendar year for which you are filing US tax return (Jan-Feb-Mar and Dec). Add the amounts printed on line Total Payment for January, February and March. Then add the amount from line Taxable Pay YTD from the December paystub (because the UK tax year is Apr-Mar, the Gross to Date value on the December paystub will reflect your pay for Apr-Dec).

A simpler way is this. If your salary has not changed over the course of the year, you can simply multiply one monthly Total Payment amount by 12. Enter result on line Gross wages/salary earned with this employer question in the Main | Earned Income section.

For income earned from self-employment

Income from self-employment is a turnover of your unincorporated business. Report it on the Gross Income from Self-employment question of the Self-employment Tab. Note thatSelf-Employment Incometab is not displayed by default. To see it, answerYesto the questionWere you self-employed during the tax year (either abroad or in the US)?>Each type of income is reported as gross amount, before any deductions allowed in the UK (i.e. before contributions to National Insurance).

Redundancy Pay

If you received redundancy pay, add gross amount as additional wages. Report other types of income (i.e. workplace pension, State pension, dividends, alimony, royalties, unemployment) on the respective lines of Pension or Other Income tabs of the tax questionnaire.

2. How do I report taxes paid on the tax questionnaire

Similarly to income, tax also has to be reported separately for each type of income on which tax was paid. Add the amounts printed on line Tax (Section Deductions of paystub) for January, February and March. Then add the amount from line Tax Paid YTD from December paystubs. Enter the result on line Foreign income tax paid during the calendar year on wages of the Earned Income section of Tax Questionnaire.

If there was additional tax payment during the calendar year (i.e., HMRC issued tax bill for tax underpaid in the prior year), add that amount to the amount of tax withheld during the filing year.

Taxes on unearned income may be withheld by the payor (i.e.,bank withheld income from dividends) or you may owe tax upon completion of tax assessment form. Report each type of tax paid during the filing year in the respective section, even if it applied to income received in prior years.

Do not combine and report separately property tax in the Deductions section and stamp duty in the sale of home section..

Reporting of council tax depends on whether you are renting or owning a flat. If you are a renter, then council tax is a part of your housing expenses reported on the Physical Presence tab. If you are an owner paying council tax in between tenancy then report it as property tax on Rental Income worksheet.

3. How do I report my deductions?

We will take specific deductions allowed for UK residents by the US/UK treaty (i.e., we can deduct contributions made to employer pension scheme). You will report contributions to employer pension separately from the gross income and we will take this deduction if this improves your tax position (in some cases you may benefit from not taking this deduction now).

Further, section Deductionsof TQ offers you questions related to various additional deductions Examples of such deductions are mortgage interest, alimony payments, investment advisor fees. Similarly to personal allowance in the UK, the U.S. tax system also applies a concept of “Standard deduction”: $6,300 per single person and $12,600 for married couple for 2015 tax year. For most UK residents filing U.S. tax return standard deduction option is more tax efficient than “itemized deductions” - grossing up individual deductions.

4. How do I report pension contributions?

Report employer contributions and your own contributions to employer pension scheme on the Earned Income tab.

Contributions to ISA and SIPP do not need to be reported.

5. How do I report pension payouts?

Report payouts from foreign pension of all types: National Insurance, employer pension, Bereavement Allowance (previously Widow's Pension) in section Pensions.

Report distributions from individual pension accounts, such as ISA as income from regular investment. Report interest and dividends as if you have received it from bank account or brokerage account.

6. As I live in the UK my taxes are taken out of my salary automatically but then I also have a deduction taken out for National Insurance. Do I add these together for my income tax or is it just the tax paid and no National Insurance payment?

National Insurance payment is not deductible from your salary. Contributions made to NI entirely on U.S tax return. Likewise, you do not “deduct” income tax - we need to report gross salary and then take foreign tax credit for income tax (not for the National Insurance tax).

Other example of non-deductible taxes is VAT.

UK Pension System

1. Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)

SIPP is an individual pension plan. UK pensions plans are IRS-qualified, whether it is employer-sponsored or individual plan. Therefore there is no need to report it as foreign trust. Income in SIPP can be deferred like income in a U.S. IRA account. Interest in SIPP does not need to be reported on your US tax return.

2. I have UK ISA account with stocks. It contains a mixture of OEICS, investment trusts and individual shares. Do I have to report it as PFIC and how much would it cost?

OEICS are collective investment schemes that are treated in the US as PFIC.

The cost of one form 8621 is $150 - this is up to 3forms. If more than 3forms, each additional account is $50 each.

In this example, each trust or unit share must be reported on a separate form 8621.

3. Social Security in the UK (National Insurance)

Contributions to the UK National Insurance system withheld from your pay-check or made on self-employment income are not deductible from the U.S. taxable income and do not qualify for the foreign earned income credit.

You can check your record of UK National Insurance contributions here:

4. US - UK Social Security Totalization Agreement


An agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom improves Social Security protection for people who work or have worked in both countries. It helps people who, without the agreement, would not be eligible for retirement, disability or survivors benefits under the Social Security system of one or both countries. It also helps many people who would otherwise have to pay Social Security taxes to both countries on the same earnings.

The provisions of the agreement eliminate double Social Security taxation and permit dual residents to use their work in both countries to qualify for benefits.

If you are self-employed

Contributions to National Insurance system make you exempt from contributions to the U.S. Social Security system that otherwise would be required in the U.S. on self-employment income.

How it impacts those who want to earn US Social Security credits

If you have Social Security credits in both the United States and the United Kingdom, you may be eligible for benefits from one or both countries. If you meet all the basic requirements under one country's system, you will get a regular benefit from that country. If you do not have enough work credits under the U.S. system to qualify for regular benefits, you may be able to qualify for a partial benefit from the United States based on both U.S. and U.K. credits. To be eligible to have your U.K. credits counted, you must have earned at least six credits under the U.S. system.

Although the agreement allows the Social Security Administration to qualify for U.S. retirement, disability or survivor benefits, the agreement doesn’t cover Medicare benefits.

5. Taxation of Social Security Benefits

U.S. Social Security Benefits

U.S. Social Security benefits received by US citizens and green card holders residing in the UK are exempt from tax in the United States and are taxable only in the UK.

UK State Pension

UK State Pension and other payments received under the National Insurance legislation by US citizens and green card holders residing in UK are taxable in both countries.

Foreign tax credit can be applied to eliminate double taxation.

6. Contributions to Employer Pension Schemes

When a US citizen/green card holder is a participant in a pension scheme established in UK:

a) Contributions paid by or on behalf of that individual to the pension scheme may be excludable in computing his U.S. taxable income


b) Any benefits accrued under the pension scheme, or contributions made to thepension scheme by or on behalf of the individual’s employer is not treated as part of the employee’s taxable income

However - exclusion of contributions to pension scheme is not mandatory. You may report those contributions on our Tax Questionnaire Earned Income Tab (Question - Did your employer contribute to your pension plan?to have it added to your annual taxable income.

Considering the high tax rate paid in UK on earned income, added employer contributions may still leave you tax free in the U.S. Your benefit: the added amount will be considered previously taxed - which will reduce the taxable portion of pension payments in the future.

7. Taxation of UK Pension Benefits

Pensions and other similar remunerations paid to US citizen/green card holder residing in UK are taxable in both countries.

However - you can eliminate the burden of double taxation. Taxes paid in UK on pension income are applied as a foreign tax credit against tax owed on the same income in the U.S.

8. ISA - Individual Savings Account

Individual tax-deferred saving accounts arrangement (ISA) do not qualify for income deferral in the USIncome earned on those accounts must be reported on U.S. tax returns.

Report interest earned in the Passive Income >Interest sub-tab of our Tax Questionnaire (Foreign Interest Income); dividends are reported in the Passive Income​​​​​​​ >Dividends sub-tab (Foreign Dividends).

9. Tie-Breaker Rule to Apply Treaty Benefits

U.S. green card holders residing in the UK may elect to apply what is known as the tie-breaker rule of the US/UK Tax Treaty and be deemed a resident only of the State (i.e. country) with which their personal and economic relations are closer (UK).

Under such election, the individual would file form 1040NR and report only income derived from U.S. sourced. The requirement to provide full disclosure of foreign bank accounts remains and tax on income from U.S. sources will be higher than tax on the same income when applied to U.S. residents filing form 1040.

UK Financial Accounts and FBAR/FATCA

1. UK - US FATCA Treaty overview

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is a piece of legislation introduced by the United States government in 2010, to help counter US tax evasion.
In the UK, the principles of FATCA have been brought into the local law. This means that UK financial institutions need to provide information on US accounts to the local tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Further, it becomes a subject to the Intergovernmental Automatic Exchange of information.

2. When did UK banks start sending data to the IRS?

The main requirements of US and UK Intergovernmental Agreement came into effect on 1 July 2014.

UK banks were required to extract account balances at 30 June 2014 and undertake checks depending on the value of the account. Higher value accounts (balances over $1m) were reviewed by 30 June 2015 and lower value accounts ($50k - $1m for individuals and $250k - $1m for entities) will need to be reviewed by 30 June 2016.

3. What searches does a UK bank have to do to comply with US FATCA?

Financial institution must search their data to identify financial accounts held by US Specified Persons, or by foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.

In order to achieve this, financial institution need to search their data looking for any one of seven indications (indicia) that an account holder may be a US person. These indicia are:

  1. US citizen (check for US passport or Green Card).
  2. US residential address
  3. Place of birth in the US
  4. US telephone number
  5. Standing instructions to send funds to a US bank account
  6. Power of attorney (PoA) or third party authority in favour of a person with a US address
  7. Use of a c/o or hold mail address

4. Which types of UK financial accounts reported on FBAR / FATCA ?

  • Individual bank accounts such as savings accounts, checking accounts, and time deposits.
  • Retirement accounts - workplace retirement scheme, individual retirement accounts (SIPP), or QROPS
  • Brokerage accounts, commodity futures or options accounts,
  • Insurance policies and annuity contracts with a cash value
  • Unit Trusts or other similar pooled funds (OEIC)
  • Business accounts where U.S person has a greater than 50 percent interest in the entity

5. Which types of UK financial assets are not required to be reported on FBAR / FATCA ?

Even though FATCA will provide relief in reporting scope to many UK retirement plans that are considered “deemed compliant”, the FATCA rules applying to individuals were not relaxed. Form 8938 specifically requires reporting by U.S. taxpayers who participate in foreign pension plans.

UK financial assets exempt from FBAR/FATCA reporting are limited to National Insurance, Real Estate Holding, precious metals held directly, and collectibles.

UK Tax Glossary for US Expats

1. Benefits in kind

Benefits in kind are non-cash benefits such as company cars, given to employees. They used to be called fringe benefits. Most benefits in kind are taxable. There are different rules if an employee earns less than a certain amount each year.

2. Building society

Similar to a bank but owned by members of the building society rather than shareholders in a company (close equivalent to U.S. credit union).

3. Cash ISA

Saving Account with interest earnings deferred in the UK but taxable as regular savings account in the U.S.

4. Council Tax

Tax applied to residential properties in England, Wales and Scotland.

5. Income tax allowances

Everyone who normally lives in the United Kingdom is entitled to receive a certain amount of income each year before they have to start paying tax. This amount is called the personal allowance. There are also other additional allowances which can reduce the tax you have to pay. The amounts of the allowances are usually announced each year.

6. Inland Revenue

Inland Revenue used to be the government department for assessing and collecting most types of tax. It is now called HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

7. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the government department responsible for assessing and collecting most types of tax, including VAT. HMRC is also responsible for paying tax credits and child benefit.


This stands for Pay As You Earn. It is the UK system for collecting tax and national insurance contributions from the wages and salaries of employees and the tax from some pensions. The employer or pension provider deducts the tax from the employee’s wages or pension and sends it to HM Revenue and Customs.


Self-Invested Personal Pension - the type of UK government-approved personal pension scheme, which allows individuals to make their own investment decisions.

10. Self assessment

If you're a taxpayer, you're responsible for informing HMRC about any income or gains which may be taxable. Some taxpayers are required to complete a form every year called a Self Assessment tax return, telling HMRC about income and capital gains in that year. HMRC uses the figures on the tax return to work out how much tax is payable. Self Assessment also allows you to claim tax allowances or reliefs against your tax bill and HMRC to collect certain national insurance contributions and student loan repayments. There are strict deadlines for tax returns and making payments under Self Assessment.

11. Stamp Duty Land Tax (England, Wales and Northern Ireland only)

Stamp Duty Land Tax is a tax that you pay on a land transaction in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, for example, buying a house or being granted the lease on a property. For more information about Stamp Duty Land Tax, go to the HM Revenue and Customs websiteand for more information about Stamp Duty Land Tax in Northern Ireland, go to the NI Direct website at

12. Stocks and Shares ISA

Investment accounts with the preferential UK tax treatment of dividends and Capital Gains.

13. Tax years

A tax year starts on 6 April in one year and ends on 5 April the next calendar year.

14. VAT

VAT stands for Value Added Tax, which is a tax on goods and services. It is payable at a certain percentage, which is announced by the government in each year’s Budget. It is administered and collected by HM Revenue and Customs.

15. Unit Trust

Pooled Investment constituted under a trust deed. Similar to U.S. mutual funds but, as opposed to U.S. mutual funds, UK unit trust is subject to PFIC regime.


Do Americans living in the UK have to pay US tax? ›

If you are living in the UK, you will most likely still need to file a US tax return. The threshold is generally pretty low, so there are only a few US expats in the UK who do not need to file US tax returns. If you're a single filer, once you earn in excess of $12,950 USD you have to file a tax return.

Do US citizens pay double tax in UK? ›

“There is an income tax treaty between the US and UK and, therefore, a US person living in the UK cannot be taxed twice on the same income or gain.”

How much tax does a US citizen pay in UK? ›

Tax Rates in the United Kingdom
Personal AllowanceUp to £12,5700
Basic Rate£12,571 to £50,27020%
Higher Rate£50,271 to £150,00040%
Additional rate> £150,00145%

How are expats taxed in UK? ›

Whether you need to pay depends on if you're classed as 'resident' in the UK for tax. If you're not UK resident, you will not have to pay UK tax on your foreign income. If you're UK resident, you'll normally pay tax on your foreign income. But you may not have to if your permanent home ('domicile') is abroad.

Do American expats have to pay double taxes? ›

While yes, U.S. citizens file a yearly tax return even if they live abroad, U.S. expats don't usually end up owing anything. While there is no overarching tax exemption for U.S. citizens living abroad, there are a variety of mechanisms in place to prevent Americans from being double taxed on foreign-earned income.

Does the UK tax US retirement income? ›

Generally, yes. However, there are limited exceptions depending on the type of pension.

How can the US avoid double taxation in the UK? ›

Using the Foreign Tax Credit to avoid Double Taxation

One way to solve the double taxation dilemma is through Tax Treaties. For example, the US UK tax treaty still allows Americans living in the UK to use the Foreign Tax Credit.

Is income tax higher in the UK or US? ›

Which country, the United States or the United Kingdom, has higher overall tax rates? The United Kingdom has taxes that are marginally more demanding than those of the United States.
United Kingdom.
Tax rate brandsIncome 22/23(pounds?
20%0-37,700 (accounting tax-free allowance)
45%more than 150,000
1 more row
Oct 28, 2022

How can I avoid double taxation? ›

When a business is organized as a pass-through entity, profits flow directly to the owner or owners. In turn, these are not taxed at the corporate level and again at the personal level. Instead, the owners will pay taxes at their personal rate, but double taxation is avoided.

Do US citizens get UK personal allowance? ›

While many UK Tax Treaties with other countries provides the personal allowance to residents and/or nationals of those countires, many do not. For example, individuals who are resident in the United States or China are not eligible for the UK personal allowance under the UK Tax Treaties with those countries.

What taxes do US expats pay? ›

Some American expats who work abroad may also need to pay US social security and Medicare taxes on their earned income, especially if they are self-employed or work for a US-based employer. For the 2022 tax year, the rate for expat employees is 7.65%. For self-employed expats, however, the total is double, at 15.3%.

What is the tax free allowance for expats in the UK? ›

Personal tax allowance for expats

If you are either classed as a tax resident in the UK or receive an income in the UK (for example from renting out a property), you will normally receive a personal tax allowance on your UK income of £12,570 for the tax year 2023/24.

What do non residents pay UK tax on? ›

Non-residents only pay tax on their UK income - they do not pay UK tax on their foreign income. Residents normally pay UK tax on all their income, whether it's from the UK or abroad. But there are special rules for UK residents whose permanent home ('domicile') is abroad.

What are the benefits of being an expat in the UK? ›

You might qualify for benefits such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support (also known as Council Tax Reduction) when you return to the UK. These benefits are means-tested, which means that your income and savings are taken into account when working out whether you qualify for this benefit.

How do I maintain US residency while living abroad? ›

8 Steps to Maintaining Permanent U.S. Residence While Residing...
  1. Maintain and use U.S. savings and checking bank accounts. ...
  2. Maintain a U.S. address. ...
  3. Obtain a U.S. driver's license. ...
  4. Obtain a credit card from a U.S. institution. ...
  5. File U.S. income tax returns.

Does the IRS go after expats? ›

Further, expatriated individuals will be subject to U.S. tax on their worldwide income for any of the 10 years following expatriation in which they are present in the U.S. for more than 30 days, or 60 days in the case of individuals working in the U.S. for an unrelated employer.

Who is subject to US exit tax? ›

Only US citizens and long-term residents the IRS considers “covered expatriates” are subject to this tax if they renounce their citizenship. The US exit tax is a tax on your worldwide assets. The tax applies to all property that you own on the date of renunciation, as well as any assets that have accrued since then.

Can I get my UK state pension if I live in the USA? ›

You can claim and receive a UK State Pension while living overseas. But Pension Credit stops when you move overseas permanently. This is a means-tested benefit, which can top up your weekly income. Your State Pension can be paid to a UK bank or building society account, or to an overseas account in the local currency.

Can I claim US Social Security in the UK? ›

Yes, assuming that you have at least 40 quarters of U.S. Social Security coverage . The U.S. has a totalization agreement with the U.K. which permits citizens of the U.K. to receive their U.S. Social Security benefits while they are living outside of the U.S. (

Can I retire in the UK as a US citizen? ›

Moving to the UK From the US for Retirement

The UK no longer provides a retirement visa for foreign nationals. However, if you have enough money, you may be eligible for an investor visa and move to the UK to spend your golden years.

What happens to my 401k if I move to the UK? ›

If you do choose to transfer funds from a U.S. Qualified Plan to a foreign retirement plan, it will be neither be tax free nor will it count as a qualified rollover. This means moving your 401(k) to an international fund will result in U.S. tax liability and possibly the 10% penalty for an early withdrawal.

What is average take home pay in UK? ›

The ONS tells us that in April 2022, median weekly earnings for full-time employees went up by 5 per cent compared to the previous year, meaning that the average person took home £640 per week, or approximately £33,280 p.a. But, adjusted for inflation, it's still 2.6 per cent lower than that year.

What are the most common taxes in the UK? ›

Income tax, National Insurance Contributions and Capital Gains Tax are three of the most common types of direct tax.

Why does the US tax citizens living abroad? ›

The American worldwide tax duty is in effect since around 1860. There was a civil war going on at the time and many people tried to avoid conscription by fleeing abroad. In order to punish and discourage these people, a law was passed that would oblige Americans to pay taxes, even when they lived abroad.

Do American expats have to pay taxes? ›

While virtually all expats are required to file a US tax return, most Americans do not owe US expat taxes. The US has put several necessary deductions, exclusions, and credits in place to ensure Americans living abroad aren't taxed twice on the same income.

How long do you have to stay out of the UK to avoid paying tax? ›

You can live abroad and still be a UK resident for tax, for example if you visit the UK for more than 183 days in a tax year. Pay tax on your income and profits from selling assets (such as shares) in the normal way. You usually have to pay tax on your income from outside the UK as well.

How can I reduce my taxable income UK? ›

Ways to reduce your income tax bill
  1. Contribute to your pension. Contributions to a pension are made from taxed money. ...
  2. Contribute to your pension via salary sacrifice. ...
  3. Make full use of your annual allowance. ...
  4. Up to 60% tax relief available when you invest in a Pension.
Jan 30, 2023

What is the basic allowance in the UK? ›

The basic personal allowance is £12,570 for 2023/24. If your income is below your personal allowance, meaning you do not make full use of your personal allowance, you lose the unused part.

How much money can I bring into the UK from USA? ›

You must declare cash of £10,000 or more to UK customs if you're carrying it between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and a country outside the UK. If you're travelling as a family or group with more than £10,000 in total (even if individuals are carrying less than that) you still need to make a declaration.

Do US expats pay Medicare tax? ›

Expats who are self-employed are required to pay both employers and employees social security and Medicare contributions, so a total of 12.4% social security tax and 2.9% Medicare Tax, on their global earnings. Self-employed expats pay these taxes on all their income over just $400.

How much income is tax free for expats? ›

If you're an expat and you qualify for a Foreign Earned Income Exclusion from your U.S. taxes, you can exclude up to $108,700 or even more if you incurred housing costs in 2021. (Exclusion is adjusted annually for inflation). For your 2022 tax filing, the maximum exclusion is $112,000 of foreign earned income.

What is the 183 rule for taxes? ›

Understanding the 183-Day Rule

Generally, this means that if you spent 183 days or more in the country during a given year, you are considered a tax resident for that year.

What is 90 day rule for UK tax? ›

A 90-day tie

If you have spent more than 90 days in the UK in either or both of the previous tax years then you will have the 90-day tie. If you were present in the UK at midnight for more days in the tax year than any other country then you will have a country tie.

What is the 1000 tax free allowance UK? ›

The Allowance is £1,000 of GROSS income. That is income before any expenses. The exemption is automatic and if your self employed income is £1,000 or less you do not need to tell HMRC or file a tax return.

Do non residents pay tax on UK property income? ›

Income tax rate

If a non-resident company owns property in the UK then it must also pay tax on any rental income it receives but the above graduated rates do not apply and tax will be payable by the company at a flat rate of just 20%.

Is England a good place for American expats? ›

The United Kingdom is one of the top destinations for American expats. The two countries have long-standing historical, political, and cultural ties. As well, the United Kingdom offers Americans superb opportunities for work, travel, and study.

Why so many expats are moving back to UK? ›

What are their reasons? A poll by Global Visas, a company specialising in immigration and relocation, of 1,246 British expats who returned in the past year, showed that a third were coming home earlier than intended, most of them citing financial difficulties as the main reason.

How long can I stay in the UK as an expat? ›

182 Days - to stay in the UK up to 182 days you must have 1 or less tie to the UK. Avoid ties to the UK to remain non resident of worldwide UK tax on income. Expats who want to avoid liability to UK Tax under UK non resident tax rules must follow these regulations. Consider your ties to the UK.

Do US citizens not living in the US have to pay taxes? ›

Do I still need to file a U.S. tax return? Yes, if you are a U.S. citizen or a resident alien living outside the United States, your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you live.

Why do I have to pay U.S. taxes if I live abroad? ›

In general, yes — Americans must pay U.S. taxes on foreign income. The U.S. is one of only two countries in the world where taxes are based on citizenship, not place of residency. If you're considered a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident, you pay income tax regardless where the income was earned.

Do I have to charge my USA customers tax in the UK? ›

Importing goods from the US to the UK

If you're importing goods from the USA, there's no requirement for VAT-registered businesses to account for VAT. If you're importing something from the US, the US sales tax will not be added, but rather, the UK tax rate (usually 20%) will be paid upon import.

Do you have to pay U.S. taxes if you emigrate? ›

U.S. taxes are based on citizenship, not country of residence. That means it doesn't matter where you call home, if you're considered a U.S. citizen, you have a tax obligation. Your expat tax filing requirement doesn't change even if you're paid by a foreign employer overseas.

What happens if you are a US citizen living abroad and don't pay taxes? ›

The only option to avoid submitting a US tax return and paying US taxes abroad under current US tax legislation is to renounce your US citizenship. If US citizens fail to file US taxes while living abroad, they may incur fines, interest charges, or possibly legal repercussions.

What is the exemption for expat tax? ›

Key Takeaways. The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) is a US tax benefit that allows you to exclude from taxation a certain amount of foreign-earned income over $100,000. The maximum foreign-earned income exclusion for the 2022 tax year is $112,000.

How do I maintain my US address while living abroad? ›

Overseas Mail Forwarding Services

The most convenient way to maintain a functional U.S. address while living abroad is to use a virtual mailbox service that you can activate online. This service scans, holds, and offers mail forwarding services for a few dollars per month.

How much do US expats pay in taxes? ›

Some American expats who work abroad may also need to pay US social security and Medicare taxes on their earned income, especially if they are self-employed or work for a US-based employer. For the 2022 tax year, the rate for expat employees is 7.65%. For self-employed expats, however, the total is double, at 15.3%.

How can I avoid VAT in UK? ›

You can avoid paying VAT by making sure your business earns less than the £85,000 threshold. Other ways to prevent your company from paying VAT are to avoid getting your customers to purchase materials themselves, not taking large one-off payments, and operating on fewer days a week.

Do foreigners have to pay VAT in UK? ›

Travellers bringing in goods within their £390 personal allowance are also exempt from paying VAT. Above the personal allowance, they must pay import VAT at the rate that would apply to the goods if they bought them within the UK. Goods ordered from a retailer abroad are always liable to UK VAT.

Why do I have to pay VAT? ›

VAT is Value Added Tax. It is a sales tax charged by VAT registered traders on the value of the goods or services supplied to their customers. As explained below, the law requires UK traders with sales (turnover) above the VAT threshold to register for VAT and charge it on supplies of goods or services.

Is an expat still a U.S. citizen? ›

Expatriation is the process of relinquishing U.S. status. It includes both U.S. Citizens and Green Card Holders (aka Legal Permanent Residents) who meet the definition of a Long-Term Resident (LTR). The baseline perspective is that formal expatriation rules apply to US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents.

How does the IRS know where you live? ›

IRS computers are connected into all other government (Federal and State) systems, which means they have access to DMV, Unemployment, voter registration, and Social Security records. If you give your current address to any government agency, the IRS can access it.

How long do you have to stay out of the US to not pay taxes? ›

Generally, to meet the physical presence test, you must be physically present in a foreign country or countries for at least 330 full days during a 12-month period including some part of the year at issue.


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