Telling HMRC About Leaving the UK: Your Comprehensive Guide

Telling HMRC About Leaving the UK

Are you planning to leave the UK to live abroad, either for work, retirement, or other reasons? It’s essential to inform HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) about your departure and your change in tax status. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of telling HMRC about leaving the UK and address crucial considerations along the way.

Table of Contents

Why Notify HMRC When Leaving the UK

Before you start your journey, it’s vital to understand why you should notify HMRC. Informing HMRC about your departure is not only a legal obligation but also a way to ensure that your tax affairs are in order. Failure to do so may lead to complications down the road. This notification allows HMRC to assess your tax liability accurately and helps prevent overpaying or underpaying taxes.

Who Should Notify HMRC

Individuals, businesses, and self-employed individuals who have worked in the UK or earned income from renting a property in the UK need to notify HMRC when leaving the country. This applies to both UK residents and non-residents. If you’ve been a UK resident or if you’ve worked in the UK, it’s crucial to keep HMRC informed of your departure to ensure compliance with tax laws.

When to Notify HMRC

The timing of your notification depends on whether you are leaving the UK temporarily or permanently. Notify HMRC well in advance, especially if you plan to leave the UK for a full tax year. If you’re leaving temporarily, you should still notify HMRC, particularly if you’re receiving UK income. For permanent departures, it’s essential to provide the exact date of your departure so that HMRC can adjust your tax status accordingly.

How to notify HMRC of leaving the UK?

Notifying HMRC is a straightforward process. You can use HMRC’s online services or complete the Form P85, designed specifically for those leaving the UK. Ensure that you provide accurate information and all necessary documentation. Using HMRC’s online services is often the quickest and most convenient method, allowing you to inform them about your departure without the need for paper forms.

What Information to Include

When informing HMRC, you should include details such as your national insurance number, income tax, any income from renting a property in the UK, and whether you owe a self-assessment tax return. Your national insurance number is a unique identifier, and including it helps HMRC verify your identity and tax history. Reporting your income and tax obligations ensures that HMRC can accurately assess your tax liability.

Consequences of Not Informing HMRC, HMRC Investigations, and Penalties

Fulfilling your obligation to inform HMRC about your departure from the UK is crucial for several reasons. Failure to do so can lead to a range of consequences, including potential investigations and penalties. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Inaccurate Tax Assessments: If you don’t notify HMRC of your departure, they may continue to assess your tax liability as if you were still a UK resident. This could result in inaccurate tax assessments, which may lead to overpaying or underpaying taxes.


  1. Unclaimed Refunds: By not informing HMRC, you might miss out on tax refunds or credits that you are entitled to, such as overpaid income tax or National Insurance contributions. These unclaimed refunds can represent a significant financial loss.


  1. HMRC Investigations: HMRC routinely conducts reviews and investigations into taxpayers’ affairs. If they discover that you left the UK without notifying them, it may raise suspicion and trigger an investigation into your tax history and current tax status. These investigations can be time-consuming and potentially stressful. So, you can contact your nearby professional accountant to help you on HMRC tax investigation


  1. Potential Penalties: HMRC has the authority to impose penalties for failing to meet your tax obligations. These penalties can vary depending on the circumstances but may include financial penalties or fines. The exact penalties depend on the seriousness of the non-compliance and whether it was deliberate or non-deliberate.


  1. Legal Obligation: Remember that notifying HMRC about your departure is not just a recommended practice; it is a legal obligation. Failing to comply with this obligation can result in both financial and legal consequences.


To avoid these potential issues, it’s essential to inform HMRC when you leave the UK, ensuring that your tax affairs are in order and that you meet your obligations as a taxpayer. Properly notifying HMRC helps maintain a transparent and accurate tax record, reducing the risk of investigations and penalties. If you have concerns about your tax status or how your departure might affect your tax situation, consider seeking advice from a tax professional who can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

Tax Implications and Considerations

Leaving the UK may have tax implications. Depending on your circumstances, you might be owed a tax refund or have outstanding tax obligations. If you’re leaving the UK, it’s essential to review your tax situation, especially if you’ve worked in the UK or earned income from UK sources. If you’re entitled to a state pension, understand how your departure might affect your benefits and consult with relevant authorities.

Common FAQs

To address your queries, here are answers to some of the most common questions related to leaving the UK:

What happens if I leave the UK for holidays or business trips?

If your trips are temporary and you remain a UK resident, your tax status may not change significantly. However, if your absence becomes prolonged, you should still inform HMRC.

Do I need to continue paying council tax after I leave the UK?

In most cases, if you are no longer a resident, you won’t be responsible for council tax. However, it’s advisable to inform your local council of your departure.

Can I continue to pay National Insurance when I live abroad?

It depends on your specific circumstances and the existence of a social security agreement between the UK and your destination country.

What is a social security agreement, and how does it affect me?

A social security agreement between the UK and your destination country may impact your eligibility for certain benefits and the payment of National Insurance contributions. Be sure to understand the terms of any such agreements.

Additional Resources

For more detailed information and access to the necessary forms, consider visiting HMRC’s official website. Additionally, you can explore other trusted sources and official government websites for comprehensive guidance on notifying HMRC about leaving the UK. Consulting a tax professional or contacting HMRC directly is advisable if you have specific questions or need personalized assistance with your departure and tax matters. These resources will help you stay well-informed and ensure a smooth transition when leaving the UK.


Telling HMRC about leaving the UK is a crucial step in ensuring that your tax affairs are in order when you move abroad. By following the steps outlined in this guide and understanding the associated tax implications, you can leave the UK with peace of mind, knowing that you’ve fulfilled your obligations and are prepared for your tax responsibilities in your new country.


Please note that tax laws and regulations can change over time. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional in UK for personalized advice, especially if your situation is complex or if you have specific tax concerns related to your departure from the UK. Understanding and adhering to the latest tax regulations is essential for a smooth transition when leaving the UK.

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