scrumpyjack wrote:But unless you actually move abroad, I think it will be difficult to shelter your assets simply, for example, by moving your shares to an overseas broker. Governments have long taxed overseas assets of UK residents.
Even when you do reside abroad, the taxman's long arm still reaches you. Domicile does not change simply because you leave the country.
The concept of domicile, for those with UK domicile, really only comes into play upon death where HMRC could try and argue that your estate is subject to IHT even if both you and your estate are overseas.
How successful HMRC would be in collecting in that case is quite another matter, as they would have several obstacles to overcome:
1) How would they even know you had died, if that death was registered overseas?
2) How would they collect given that foreign courts in most countries do not recognise foreign tax debts or court orders deriving from them.
3) Probate would probably happen in that overseas country, under that country's laws, using a Will drafted in that other country. So that other country's tax authority would have the first crack at the estate, and the residue would be with the beneficiaries who HMRC would have no legitimate case against
4) A prudent person might make gifts prior to death leaving HMRC with the thankless and probably futile task of chasing down foreigners who are quite entitled to ignore them.
So in practice I don't think the domicile issue is too serious. But I agree that if you remain resident in the UK then there are things the UK government could do to you even if your assets were all elsewhere.