Temporary work abroad
If you are planning to work abroad temporarily for a foreign employer – for example, on a working holiday abroad, or as a student who works abroad during a gap year or overseas work placement – there are tax points to consider and you may need to let HMRC know. If you are working overseas for a UK employer, see our separate guidance.
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If you work abroad temporarily, you will need to consider your tax position in the UK and the overseas country separately. If you work overseas for a foreign employer, you are likely to be taxable in the overseas country where you work. You should seek advice locally in that country.
Whether or not you remain taxable in the UK will depend on your residence position.
The most likely scenarios are as follows:
- You work abroad for less than one complete tax year and/or on a casual basis. In this case, in most cases you would remain resident and taxable in the UK. You may need to file a UK self assessment tax return in order to report your overseas earnings and claim any double taxation relief.
- You work abroad on an ongoing, full-time basis for at least one complete tax year. There are strict conditions relating to this (see our page on the statutory residence test under the heading Automatic overseas tests). In this case we would expect that you would cease to be UK resident and hence not liable to UK tax on earnings from outside the UK.
If you leave the UK part way through a tax year to work overseas on this basis, you should be able to split that tax year into a UK and overseas part. You may be due a tax refund on your pre-departure earnings.
It is the place of performance of your duties which is relevant in determining whether your earnings are UK or non-UK, not the location of your employer or where you are paid (though these factors may have an impact on your overall position).
You may need to file a self assessment tax return for the UK tax years covering your overseas work, or otherwise you may wish to file a form P85 upon leaving the UK. See Notifying HMRC when leaving the UK.
Special provisions apply to people who are UK government employees working abroad (for example, those in the armed forces). Similarly, if you work on a ship, gas or oil rig or are a volunteer development worker you should seek advice from HMRC.
National Insurance contributions
If you will be working abroad for a foreign employer you will not normally pay UK NIC, but you may have to pay social security contributions in the foreign country.
For more guidance, see NIC in cross-border situations.