Non UK domiciled taxpayers are not required to pay UK income tax on income that arises overseas as long as it is not remitted to or enjoyed in the UK. If they are resident here non-doms are fully taxable on their UK source income. As of last year any UK residents who claim the tax benefits of being non-doms are liable to pay an annual £30,000 charge in lieu of the tax on their overseas income.
The article in the Sunday Times contains extensive reference to trust assets made available to Zac as a result of late father's largess. What the article doesn't do however is to explain the justification for Zac's (admission that he) claims to be domiciled outside of the UK.
His status would seem to be derived from his father's non-dom status at the time that Zac was born. This is commonly the case and would mean that Zac has a domicile of origin in a specific overseas country. However this is not the end of the story. Zac has spent most of his life in the UK. So he might be thought to have established a domicile of choice here - and thus have forsaken his non-dom status. Indeed a spokesman is reported to have stated that Zac:
"has already taken the decision to relinquish his non-domicile status.”I'm sorry? Either he has established a domicile of choice here or he hasn't. As HMRC's own guidance says in HMRC 6:
Broadly, to acquire a domicile of choice you must leave your current country of domicile and settle in another country.The booklet goes onto confirm that it's a lot more complex than this and there are a series of useful flowcharts (on pages 25-28) that are intended to help people understand their domicile status. I fear that Zac has already established a domicile of choice in England.
I hope he has already filed his 2008/09 tax return. Otherwise he will be hard pushed to claim non-dom status on it if he has already decided to accept that he is domiciled here in future. Indeed HMRC could question the legitimacy of the claim on previous tax returns as there has to be a date from which someone's circumstances change and from which they are to be treated as domiciled here. Would that have been the date on which he was elected as the local Conservative Parliamentary candidate in March 2007?
Lesson? Tax rules are complex - never allow your spokesman to make statements that could impact your tax position unless they understand the implications of what they are saying and this accords with the facts.