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The new statutory residence test is more complicated than it may appear, says Lucy Edwards

11 July 2012

A fractal is an object that, at first glance, appears to have a fairly simple shape. Closer inspection, however, reveals that its exterior in fact consists of tiny replicas of the overall form, in ever-decreasing scale. The more you examine a fractal, the more apparent its infinite complexity.

Complicated assortment

No doubt a tax practitioner could draw numerous analogies between this pattern and his or her field of work. One prime example is the concept of tax residence. Here, the underlying principle is simple: if you reside in the UK you will be subject to tax on some, if not all, of your income and capital gains. However, the rules for determining residency are derived from a complicated assortment of statute, case law and HMRC guidance. It is not surprising that the government’s proposal to introduce a statutory residence test (SRT) was universally welcomed.

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