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I've been in the UK for more than one year, and I have been assigned a NINO and obtained the pre-settled status. During this Covid-19 pandemic, I decided to go back to my home country of Italy, but that left me with questions on how this will impact me or my employer.

I've heard of a rule of 183 days, someone else said 100 days, and some colleague has done the same thing for several months.

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    Vote to close as you are clearly needing legal advice. Don´t make your financial decisions depend on the opinions of strangers from the Internet!
    – Daniel
    Aug 14 '20 at 7:53
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    @Daniel, I'm asking a question to widen my awareness of the scenario I depicted, not making any decision. The answers other users provide may give links to websites I can trust (e.g gov.uk), plus some help to "decode" the legalese I don't understand yet.
    – Enlico
    Aug 14 '20 at 7:58
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    Help to "decode the legalese" is exactly what you do need a lawyer for. Aug 14 '20 at 9:16
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    The problem here is that with Brexit due to hit in January and no deal agreed there is no way of knowing what the situation will be for things like this. I think you can assume it will be very bad, a complete mess. Also I suggest changing your username so it's not your real name.
    – user
    Aug 14 '20 at 9:36
  • @user There are no talks in the SRT about being in the EU or not, they only talk about being overseas. This appears to be one topic that Brexit won't affect
    – Draken
    Aug 14 '20 at 9:46
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There are some very specific guidelines on how tax is handled for remote workers in the UK, it comes down to if they classify you as a UK resident or not and can be read in the RDR3: Statutory Residence Test (SRT)

Here are some key highlighted bits:

The test allows you to work out your residence status for a tax year. Each tax year is looked at separately, so you may be resident in the UK in one year but not the next, or vice versa.

If you’ve been in the UK for 183 or more days you’ll be a UK resident. There is no need to consider any other tests.

You’ll be resident in the UK for a tax year and at all times in that tax year if:

  • you do not meet any of the automatic overseas tests
  • you meet one of the automatic UK tests or the sufficient ties test

So, if you can guarantee you have been in the UK for at least 183 days of the tax year, you're fine to be considered taxable in the UK. If it's less, there are more tests you need to check to see if you are considered taxable or not.

If you spend less than 183 days in the UK, you need to check the overseas test. The first two are not applicable to you as you've been a UK resident for the last few years and I assuming you will spend more than 16 days in the UK for this year. The third test is a little more complicated:

You’ll be non-UK resident for the tax year if you work full-time overseas over the tax year and:

  • you spend fewer than 91 days in the UK in the tax year
  • the number of days on which you work for more than 3 hours in the UK is less than 31
  • there is no significant break from your overseas work

A significant break is when at least 31 days go by and not one of those days is a day where you:

  • work for more than 3 hours overseas
  • would have worked for more than 3 hours overseas, but you did not do so because you were on annual leave, sick leave or parenting leave

If you have a significant break from overseas work you’ll not qualify for full-time work overseas.

The test:

  • can apply to both employees and the self-employed
  • does not apply to voluntary workers or workers with a job on board a vehicle, aircraft or ship

So it is possible to do 100 days in the UK and be classified as a taxable person in the UK (You can even do 91), but you need to make sure you do not fall into an automatic overseas as classified above. Once you have passed the overseas test, you then need to do the UK test. The first one is a repeat of the 183 day rule. The next two state:

You’ll be UK resident for the tax year if you have, or have had, a home in the UK for all or part of the year and the following all apply:

  • there is or was at least one period of 91 consecutive days when you had a home in the UK
  • at least 30 of these 91 days fall in the tax year when you have a home in the UK and you’ve been present in that home for at least 30 days at any time during the year
  • at that time you had no overseas home, or if you had an overseas home, you were present in it for fewer than 30 days in the tax year
  • If you have more than one home in the UK you should consider each of those homes separately to see if you meet the test. You need only meet this test in relation to one of your UK homes.

You’ll be UK resident for the tax year if all the following apply:

  • you work full-time in the UK for any period of 365 days, which falls in the tax year
  • more than 75% of the total number of days in the 365 day period when you do more than 3 hours work are days when you do more than 3 hours work in the UK
  • at least one day which has to be both in the 365 day period and the tax year is a day on which you do more than 3 hours work in the UK

So, if you do less than 183 days, it gets more complicated and you should really speak to a tax advisor to be sure. But if you can do 183 days in the UK, then you're generally safe, from a tax reason, to be classified as a UK taxable.

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Apart from taxation, be aware how leaving the U.K. will affect your settlement status. If you leave for more than two years, you lose your pre-settled status. If you leave for more than six months, then it will be impossible to meet the requirements to change your pre-settled state to settled, and pre-settled state only lasts for five years.

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  • Is it six months in a row, or six cumulative months in a given period (e.g. six months per year, or something)?
    – Enlico
    Aug 14 '20 at 11:04
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    For settled status, you need more than six months present in each of the last five years before you apply for settled status. Since you only have five years to apply, starting at the moment when you received settled status, you can’t meet that condition. How they count “more than six months”: Better ask a lawyer.
    – gnasher729
    Aug 14 '20 at 11:09
  • Is there a missing pre- in the sentence Since you only have five years to apply, starting at the moment when you received settled status, you can’t meet that condition? If not, could you gently rephrase it? I don't think I understand what you express.
    – Enlico
    Aug 14 '20 at 11:19
  • Sorry, you can apply for settled up to five years after receiving pre-settled.
    – gnasher729
    Aug 14 '20 at 13:02
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    @Enrico: Nobody knows for sure how six months are counted. Most likely not even the UK government. I've read "less than six months in any calendar year", and I've read "less than six months in any 12 month period". With the second reading, October to April = 7 month would restart the five year count from the following 1st of May.
    – gnasher729
    Aug 25 '20 at 21:55

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