Filing A Tax Return Abroad: Do I Need To Complete One As An Expat, And How?

Being an expat is a confusing business when you earn foreign income. You’ll likely have a number of questions, such as ‘do non-residents have to file a tax return?’ and ‘what are the residence rules for…

5 Minute Read

Last Updated: 23rd March 2023

Being an expat is a confusing business when you earn foreign income. You’ll likely have a number of questions, such as ‘do non-residents have to file a tax return?’ and ‘what are the residence rules for UK expats?’.

There are many different conditions concerning taxes for expats. Thankfully, we’ve simplified everything you’ll need to know below.

Criteria to file a tax return abroad


If you received foreign income during the given tax year, then you’ll likely need to complete the SA106 supplementary pages on your tax return. As a basis, being a recipient of any of the following should mean completion is required:

– Foreign savings income – like interest, dividends, pensions, government benefits

– Any other overseas income, for example from an overseas trust

– Foreign property income.

If the only revenue you earned was from dividends totalling below £300, you won’t need to fill in the SA106. However, you might still have to if:

– You’ve claimed remittance basis, unremittable income and foreign tax credit relief

– You’ve claimed foreign tax credit relief on income and capital gains given in the tax return, or on returning other overseas income and gains from offshore funds. 


There are also non-resident tax return requirements for the SA109 supplementary pages. You’ll need to submit these if you claim remittance basis or are taxable for any of the following reasons:

– You’re a non-UK resident

– You’re not usually a UK resident

– You’re classed as a dual resident.

For those uncertain on their residency status, you’re categorised as a UK resident if:

– The number of days you’re based in the UK in the given tax year exceeds 183

– You have only one home, and this is located in the UK – it needs to have been owned, rented or lived in for over 91 days, and you should have spent no less than 30 days there.

Completing the non-resident tax return

Whilst you may need to meet the criteria in order to submit the SA106 or SA109, you might not need to input all information relating to foreign income. Any earned through a business or partnership would instead need to be entered into the self-employed or partnership pages of the Self Assessment.

You will need to fill out the SA108 for disposed overseas assets that have provided you with taxable capital gains. If you’ve been employed overseas, then the income gained from this would be submitted via the ‘employment’ or ‘additional information’ sections of the tax return.

For income gained from furnished holiday accommodation in the European Economic Area, you must complete the ‘UK property’ pages, rather than the SA106.

The information needed in the SA106 includes income from overseas sources. You’ll need to give the figure received, along with tax deducted, and whether you want to claim Foreign Tax Credit Relief.

Any income from land and property abroad submitted through the SA106 would detail the income and expenses, as well as any losses. When filling in the SA109, provide details about your residence status, and whether you’re entitled to claim personal allowances or a remittance basis.

How to make the tax return when living abroad easy

The non-resident tax return isn’t the most straightforward to understand. This is why many turn to Self Assessment software. It guides users, providing tax advice for returning UK expats as they go through the process.

With GoSimpleTax, the jargon is simplified so you can avoid any non-resident tax return penalties – your Self Assessment will be completed swiftly and accurately. It even offers you tax-saving suggestions, meaning you’ll be able to minimise the amount you owe the taxman.

Why not trial our software? It’s free. If you have any other questions around the complications of the tax return when leaving the UK or about how our software can help, get in touch with the GoSimpleTax team today.

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Blog content is for information purposes and over time may become outdated, although we do strive to keep it current. It's written to help you understand your Tax's and is not to be relied upon as professional accounting, tax and legal advice due to differences in everyone's circumstances. For additional help please contact our support team or HMRC.


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