Claim your tax back when leaving the UK

If you’re leaving the UK, or you have left in the last four tax years, you are probably due a leaving the UK tax refund. 

Be aware that there is not an automatic tax refund system, HMRC expects you to initiate a tax refund. This might sound a little scary or difficult, but our certified bookkeepers can advise you on the process. Claims can be up to 5 tax years (including the running tax year), so it can include the previous tax years too or can be initiated long after you have left the United Kingdom. 

What is the first step? 

First you need to inform HMRC if you’re leaving the UK to live abroad permanently, or going to work abroad full-time for at least one full tax year. (One tax year is from 6 April to 5 April the following year.) You need to tell the relevant benefits offices that deal with your benefits that you’re moving abroad. 

How much tax can I claim back? 

It depends on a few things, like how much tax you paid in the UK, and if you had other sources of income. 

We can help you by providing calculations after studying your unique situation. 


Before you could claim back your taxes, however, you need to complete some prerequisites. 

If you were an employee make sure your former employer provides you with your P45 form when you leave. If you were unemployed on Jobseeker's Allowance, Jobcentre Plus will provide you with evidence of benefits received. These will be needed for the further steps. 

If you were a Sole Trader (Self-employed) just file a Self Assessment Tax Return after the end of the Tax Year, even if you are abroad by that time. 

Why is it important to become non-resident as soon as you leave? 

You may be non-resident the day after you leave the UK - this depends on your situation and how Split Year Treatment* applies to you. We can help you to establish that. This is important because you don't pay UK tax on the income you earn outside the UK from day 1 of non-resident status. Please make sure you inform your council too, so that you don't need to continue paying council tax. 

Revisiting the UK 

If you work abroad full-time, you can usually visit the UK for up to 90 days - as long as you work no more than 30 of these days. You might become a UK resident again if you start new activities in the UK after you’ve left, for example if you get involved in a business or buy a new property. 

What if I still have income from the UK? 

The UK has ‘double taxation agreements’ with many countries to avoid situations like paying taxes twice in two different countries. There are situations, though, in which you are still liable to pay UK tax while living abroad. A typical example would be renting out a property in the UK. 

National Insurance 

You cannot claim back any National Insurance when you leave, but it is not necessarily lost for you. Anything you’ve paid might count towards benefits in the country you’re moving to if it has a social security agreement with the UK. The surprisingly good news is that you can claim some UK benefits while abroad, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance if you’re looking for work in a European Economic Area (EEA) country. 

What to expect if you are moving abroad as a UK citizen 

Your UK citizenship will not be affected if you move or retire abroad. Usually you can still vote on UK elections. If you decide to work in another country, it is a good idea to contact their embassy and make sure you have all the essential information. 

*Split year treatment: When you move in or out of the UK, the tax year is usually split into 2 - a non-resident part and a resident part. This means you only pay UK tax from the day you live here or until you leave, and any foreign income arising before or after that day is not treated under the UK tax system. 

If you need help to claim back the overpaid tax after you have left the United Kingdom, please contact us for further details. 



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