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I am a newly established UK freelance graphic designer living in Thailand for 6 months. I have several UK based clients who I am doing work for whilst here in Thailand. When it comes to declaring my earnings at the end of the tax year would I be taxed on the earnings I made whilst in Thailand? Or is there a form with the HMRC I need to fill out? I am currently sifting through their website but would appreciate some immediate feedback.

  • Is your income being paid into your uk account in gbp? How long do you intend to remain in Thailand? Are you in Thailand due to necessity for work reasons (the client(s) want you there) or for personal reasons? – user152 Dec 20 '14 at 9:01
  • I am here until May 2014 (since November 2014) and what I earn goes into my UK account in Pound Sterling. The trip is for personal reasons only. – Rob Dec 20 '14 at 9:17
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According to the UK government website, a residency test determines if foreign income is taxable in the UK. This test is described here and summarised as follows:

You’re resident if:

  • 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:

  • you spent less 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 less than 91 days in the UK, of which less than 31 days were spent working

Assuming the UK tax year starts on the 1st of April, being in Thailand for Nov - March (150 days) does not meet the >183 day requirement. Neither does April-May 2015. As such, this is not enough for you to be considered a non-resident.

If you're unsure about residency, the HMRC tax residence indicator tool can help for more complicated situations.

If you're considered a resident, it is necessary to pay tax on foreign income. The UK governement website elaborates:

Filling in your tax return

Use the ‘foreign’ section of the tax return to record your overseas income or gains.

Include income that’s already been taxed abroad to get Foreign Tax Credit Relief, if you’re eligible.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has guidance on how to report your foreign income or gains in your tax return in ‘Foreign notes (2014)’.

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