In Ameet Shah (As Executor of the Estate of Anantrai Maneklal Shah deceased) v HMRC [2023] TC08442, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that the deceased had acquired a domicile of choice in England before his death. His estate could offer no evidence to prove that he planned to move to back to India.

Anantrai Maneklal Shah (AMS) was born in Karachi when it was part of British India. His father was born in Gujarat which was also part of British India at that time. It was not disputed that AMS’s Domicile of origin was not the UK.

  • He moved between Karachi and Tanzania until 1954 when moved to the UK then in 1957 he moved back to Tanzania.
  • In 1961 he acquired UK citizenship which required giving up his Indian citizenship.
  • He moved back to the UK in 1973 with his wife and children and his mother followed a year later.
  • Of his seven siblings, only two remained in India permanently and four lived in the UK for long periods after AMS moved here.
  • He worked in the UK as a pharmacist between 1973 and 1997 owning his own shop for almost twenty years.
  • Between 1973 and the time of his death in 2016 he undertook some overseas travel. This included one two-week stay and one three-week stay in India, plus visits to the USA to see family. He only ever had a home in the UK during this period.
  • In 2014 AMS made two wills, a UK one for his UK assets and an Indian one for his non-UK assets, which consisted of investment in a company investing in UK property. Neither will mentioned funeral arrangements or any request for a ceremony in India.
  • He owned no Indian property and had no Indian bank account. He registered as an overseas citizen in India in 2014.
  • Following AMS’ death, HMRC issued a notice of determination under s.221 IHTA 1984 stating that he was domiciled in England and Wales at the time of his death. His executor appealed claiming that AMS’ place of domicile was India as he had an intention of moving to Bangalore.

The FTT found that:

  • AMS had settled and intended to remain in England permanently, such that he had acquired a domicile of choice in England which he had not abandoned before his death and had, at most, only a vague and floating idea of moving to India at some point.
  • There was very little evidence to support the contention that AMS maintained close ties to India and had plans to move to Bangalore, other than remaining in contact with family there and sending gifts.
    • Though he attended an Indian temple in London this was due to his wife, who did not drive, wanting to attend, and it ceased when she died.
    • He only returned to India twice after moving to the UK in 1973. Both trips were connected to family events, his son’s wedding and for ceremonies to honour his wife after her death. In contrast, he visited the USA and Canada several times to visit his siblings. He did not return to India yet he had the funds to do so (his estate on death amounted to £2.48m) and also had the time once he retired.
    • A form DOM1 was provided to the tribunal but had not been filed with HMRC. The judge found it unreliable and inconsistent with the other evidence and therefore of limited value.
  • Overall the evidence showed that what was most important to AMS was his family. His immediate family (children and grandchildren) lived in the UK and when his siblings also lived here he had visited them on UK holidays for many years. There was no evidence of any clear intention to move to India and it was not likely, given his age and health, that he would have moved from a home close to his son’s house to Bangalore, a place he had never visited.

The executors had also made submissions to the tribunal about AMS’ domicile of origin, which HMRC contended was Pakistan whilst the appellants said India. The FTT judge noted that as there is a double tax treaty between the UK and both India and Pakistan there was no need to make a decision on this point.

The FTT dismissed the appeal.

Useful guides on this topic

Non-Domicile & the Remittance Basis: At a glance
Freeview: What is Domicile? Does it have tax advantages? What is the Remittance Basis. When does it apply for Non-Domiciled individuals?

Non-Domicile status, deemed Domicile & tax
Who is non-UK domiciled? What does this mean for UK Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax? What reliefs are available to non-doms?

Non-Domiciles Tax Toolkit
This toolkit provides an outline of the tax compliance issues for non-UK domiciled (non-dom) individuals.

External link

Ameet Shah (As Executor of the Estate of Anantrai Maneklal Shah deceased) v HMRC [2023]

Oak ad
Are you enjoying our content? 

Thousands of accountants and advisers and their clients use as their primary TAX resource.

Register with us now to receive our receive our FREE SME Topical Tax Update & newletter.