Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Non Doms set to leave the UK - so what's new?

A number of papers (eg: Sunday Times) have picked up on reports that KPMG research reveals that that 1 in 4 non-doms are planning to leave the UK because they don't like the new tax regime for non-doms that was introduced last year.

The fact that 76% of the 80 non doms who responded to the survey are NOT planning to leave the UK imminently suggests to me that the new rules are better targetted than many have previously suggested. That's not to say the rules are well thought through or easy to operate. Some tweaking is required to make them workable without the continued need for HMRC discretion.

And it also seems clear from KPMG's report that the primary motivation for many non-doms returning home is that they have lost their jobs or that the business opportunity that brought them here has disappeared. The new tax regime is not the key reason.

One has to wonder however what question KPMG asked of these non-doms. After all, BY DEFINITION all non-doms are intending to leave the UK at some stage - otherwise they would have become UK domiciled. And this is recognised in KPMG's press release which notes that: "Non-UK domiciled individuals are people whose homeland is abroad."

What is your experience?


  1. I agree with your sentiments. Apart from a tweak here and there all non-Doms I have come across are more than hapy. The few that have "gone home" have done so to exploit new business opportunities back home not becaseu they have been huffed about UK tax rules. Journalists got it wrong again maybe huh?!

  2. I reckon less than 10% generally have gone, or are going, as a result of the change. The figure might otherwise have been higher but some are stuck here because of the property market and the weakness of the GBP.

    The much bigger problem, which I am seeing first hand on a very regular basis, is a more abstract one. In the foreign community, there was a longstanding flogging of UK Plc on the back of the old regime. The 2008 changes, and the manner in which they were introduced, has caused a serious loss of credibility for the UK. In the international community, there is a general tone (wholly understandable, in my opinion) that the UK government is unstable and cannot be trusted.

    I think the change was a mistake, in principle, in the way it was introduced and its timing in the economic cycle. But I think it will take until the next upturn for the extent to manifest itself fully. Early signs are that the mobile money is now looking east as the next place to be.