21 Jan

What is a P85 form and should you complete it?

Woman contemplating finance formAre you a taxpayer within the UK, but intend to leave the country? Then you may have to submit a P85 form to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Here we’ll take a closer look at whether this applies to you.

And what if it does? Well, you may be due a tax rebate. Bet that got your attention! Read on to learn the ins and outs of the P85, and whether you may be entitled to a nice chunk of money.

What is the P85 form?

Essentially, the P85 is used to inform HMRC that you’re moving away from the UK, and to determine your residence status for tax reasons.

On the form itself, you’re asked a set of questions about your income and tax affairs. It’s important to fill this in correctly as not doing so could mean any potential refund is delayed, which we’re sure you want to avoid! Regardless of whether you’re due one (more on that in a moment), it’s wise to fill it in because it keeps HMRC’s records up to date.

When should I fill out a P85 form?

You’d complete a P85 form in the following situations:

  •    You’re leaving the UK, and don’t know when you intend to return, or if you’re coming back at all.
  •    You’re leaving the UK to work abroad. This should be for a minimum of one complete tax year (6 April to the following 5 April), so a summer job overseas wouldn’t count, for example.
  •    You’re becoming a non-resident for tax reasons. This would require your visits to the UK to be fewer than 183 days in the tax year.

As mentioned, you wouldn’t normally fill out the P85 if the work you’re doing abroad is only short term. Also, you tend not to have to fill it out if you normally complete a self-assessment tax return.

How do I fill out the P85?

You can submit the P85 to the HMRC online or by post. You can do the former on GOV.UK using the Government Gateway service. Don’t worry if you find this bamboozling - you can fill in a downloadable form and submit it by post if you think that would be less hassle! Or, to make it even easier, we could help you do it. Whatever works best for you.

In terms of what you’re asked, you’ll need to declare the following:

  •     All your income, including rental or investment income.
  •     Any private or state pensions you pay into.
  •     Any interest you earn on savings accounts, for example.

The more complicated your tax affairs, the trickier it may become. But remember: we’re happy to help you with this.

OK, so… Will I get a tax refund?

In a word… maybe! Although we don’t want to make promises, the chances are that if you’ve been paying tax within the UK - and leave before the end of the tax year - you should be able to claim UK tax back. Hooray!

Any refund will be paid once the form is submitted and processed. That’s why it’s super important to complete it as accurately as possible, crossing all your t’s and dotting your i’s. You don’t want any tax you’ve overpaid to be held up, especially if you could do with a bit of extra cash when you first move abroad.

What now?

If you find using HMRC’s online service confusing, or - like so many of us - you just hate filling out forms, then we can help. Here at Mazuma, we offer a simple and easy-to-use accountancy service, and we’re happy to make sure your tax affairs aren’t too… well… taxing. Contact us for a chat about how we can help, and for more information about our services.

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