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We have been asked at DNS many times whether expenses incurred in relation to visa renewals are legitimate business expenses, this includes travel and subsistence in the course of carrying out one’s professional duties. DNS has looked into this issue and would like to focus on visa renewal fees and travel and sub-expenses for non-domiciled individuals working in the UK.

1. Visa Renewals for non-domiciled residents of the UK

HMRC accepts that the costs associated with renewing a visa qualify as "travel facilities for a journey". Further guidance about what is meant by this can be seen in HMRC Booklet 490, paragraph 7.10, but it is important to note that visa costs qualify only if the other conditions in those sections are satisfied in full. Another important fact to bear in mind is that in order to qualify for relief, a visa renewal application must be made within five years of the non-domiciled applicant’s arrival in the UK. More can be read about this in HMRC Booklet 490, paragraph 3.73/4. A visa renewal more than five years after arrival in the UK would, therefore, not qualify for tax relief.

2. Someone who is not domiciled in the UK, but who works in the UK

An employee who is not domiciled in the UK is entitled to tax relief under special rules only if s/he meets certain criteria where it is necessary to ascertain:
  1. The date s/he came to the UK to work
  2. The tax year that date falls into
The following questions apply:
  1. Was the employee resident in the UK in either of the two tax years that ended before the tax year in which that date falls?
  2. Was the employee in the UK, for any reason, at any time in the two years ending on the day immediately before that date?
Should the answer to either of the above questions be "no", then the person is entitled to relief under special rules. If the answer to both questions is "yes", then the person is not entitled to relief under the special rules. However, s/he is still entitled to tax relief for the full cost of journeys under the general expenses rules, providing the journeys were taken solely for the purposes of carrying out professional duties.

  • Patsy is domiciled in Australia. She arrived in the UK on 3 February 2005 to work in Lincoln.
  • She had been to the UK in 2004 for a holiday, but has never been resident or domiciled in the UK.
  • Patsy arrived for work in the UK in tax year 2004–05. She had not been resident in the UK in either 2002–03 or 2003–04.
  • This means she is entitled to relief under the special rules.

Extra costs of foreign travel
Where an employee is entitled to relief under the special rules on foreign travel for the full cost of a journey, s/he is also entitled to relief for:
  • The cost of any inoculations required for that journey, and
  • The cost of any visas required for that journey.
An employee who works abroad is also eligible for tax relief for medical treatment or insurance against the cost of medical treatment provided abroad, providing these expenses are borne by or reimbursed by or on behalf of the employer. Please do feel free to get in touch for further information or to post a comment on our blog.

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