Taxman gives ex-pats a week’s notice to return to Libya

UK EX-PATS ESCAPING the troubles in Libya will have one week to return to the country after it has been declared safe or risk affecting their tax status.

HM Revenue & Customs guidelines state that where a UK citizen who is non-resident is forced to spend extra days in the UK in “exceptional circumstances”, these days are not taken into account in determining their residency status.

However, HMRC has announced that the ex-pats will have one week after the country is deemed safe by the Foreign Office to return there without it affecting their status.

Jonathan Kropman, a tax partner at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, said: “Given reports of widespread damage to property and infrastructure in Libya this seems unduly harsh.

“A minimum period of a month with discretion for this to be extended in exceptional circumstances would seem more reasonable.”

An HMRC spokesman said: “A week gives time to arrange a return to that country after it is safe to do so.

“A person can remain within the UK after that and still remain not resident as long as they are within the 90 day limit. However they would no longer be in the UK because of the exceptional circumstances of being advised to leave a country.”

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