In Robert Gaines-Cooper v HMRC [2011] UKSC 47 an international business man lost his residency appeal in the Supreme Court. Judges decided 4-1 that he had never left the UK when he moved abroad and remained UK resident.

Mr Gaines-Cooper had moved to the Seychelles and relying on HMRC's published guidance on day counting considered that he had left the UK and was non-resident.

It was found by the courts that he had not severed sufficiently family ties in the UK; there was more to determining the quality of his residency than mere day counting. As a result it was found that he never ceased being resident in the UK despite long absences and setting up home abroad. 

Although HMRC’s guidance is not the law, Mr Gaines-Cooper has found it unreasonable to find that he was unable to rely on it. The Supreme Court has taken a more open-minded view of HMRC's advice: to the detriment of Mr Gaines-Cooper.

HMRC has re-written the offending guidance in booklet IR20. Following announcment in the 2011 Budget and consultation in June 2011, a new Statutory Residency Test for apply from 6 April 2012. 

Further reading:

Residency: coming to the UK

Residency: leaving the UK or working full time abroad

External links

Robert Gains-Cooper v HMRC [2011] UKSC 47