HMRC tax return - can we do it online even if we are resident in Germany?

53 posts in this topic

I suspect it is blocked online if you are non-resident in that you have to put your address in online and a "foreign" postcode will not be accepted (a German one will not for instance as I have tried it).

 

I have not had to pay anything as a non-resident landlord as my earnings are too low but I just want to ensure I do not have problems further down the line. I suspect most of the time they do not check these things.

 

So if I want to do it "legit" I have to print off the tax forms (including SA109) and send them per post, is that correct?

 

Seems a bit 1990's but it wouldn't surprise me. Why not just make that form available online?

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1 hour ago, Nerdbloke said:

I suspect it is blocked online if you are non-resident in that you have to put your address in online and a "foreign" postcode will not be accepted (a German one will not for instance as I have tried it).

 

I actually think I phoned somebody at HMRC once to say that I couldn't fill in the form as I had a foreign postcode.  I can't remember exactly what she said, but she told me to do something or other and I got in after that.

But in the end they don't really care. My rental income is under the threshold and I don't pay any tax so maybe they really just ignore it.

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2 hours ago, Nerdbloke said:

I suspect it is blocked online if you are non-resident in that you have to put your address in online and a "foreign" postcode will not be accepted (a German one will not for instance as I have tried it).

 

I'm not sure that's the real problem, as you can be resident in the UK for tax with a foreign address, and non-resident with a UK address. 

 

But I guess all of us expats have experience of UK-based websites not accepting postcodes not in UK format. It's annoying when it happens. I once had to resort to using something like XX0 0XX just to get a form accepted (not with HMRC).

 

2 hours ago, Nerdbloke said:

So if I want to do it "legit" I have to print off the tax forms (including SA109) and send them per post, is that correct?

 

Yes, that's correct.

 

2 hours ago, Nerdbloke said:

Why not just make that form available online?

 

I think the problem is that the entire online self-assessment system is designed to calculate automatically the exact tax liability in all permitted circumstances, and there are probably too many variations for non-residents.

 

In my case I fill in SA109 to declare my non-residence with the reasons. The form also allows you to reclaim tax deducted in the UK where relevant. It's not relevant to me, so I leave that part blank, but I guess where it is relevant it needs manual processing.

 

17 minutes ago, arunadasi said:

But in the end they don't really care. My rental income is under the threshold and I don't pay any tax so maybe they really just ignore it.

 

That may well be the case for you.

 

But not all non-residents are entitled to the personal allowance, it depends on nationality and/or residence. To claim the personal allowance (or not) is yet another function of SA109.

 

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If you are letting property in the UK then the UK retains its right to tax that income wherever you are resident (other than one or other double tax agreement overriding that).

 

The Non-Resident Landlord Scheme will apply, which, normally means you tenant or letting agent deducts tax at source at 20% and accounts for it to HMRC - you would need to claim back any overpaid tax.  You may qualify to receive rent gross and to account for the tax under self-assessment and may or may not qualify for the personal allowance and tax may or may not be due depending on your circumstances.  

 

Have a read of https://www.gov.uk/tax-uk-income-live-abroad/rent and this https://www.gov.uk/guidance/paying-tax-on-rent-to-landlords-abroad

 

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If you are having trouble sleeping then the detailed guidance aimed at letting agents and tenants will solve the problem https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/non-resident-landord-guidance-notes-for-letting-agents-and-tenants-non-resident-landlords-scheme-guidance-notes

 

1.11 points you at the relevant legislation, which you can access at http://www.legislation.gov.uk 

2.3 talks about "usual place of abode" as this is what determines whether a person falls within the rules

Chapters 4 (agents) and 7 (tenants) explains how tax is deducted and paid to HMRC 

Chapters 9 to 11 may also be of interest as they deal with rental income, deductible expenses and applications to receive rent gross...

 

Have fun

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Update

 

So I went throught the online system until then end without filing my return, just to see how much tax I owed (nothing).

 

It asks you at the start in which country you are resident in, England or Wales.

 

So theoretically, although they know I live in Germany as they have my address etc I would have to lie in the online system to be able to use it.

 

I have no idea how my allowance will change now I will do them with the paper version, I suppose I will find out in due course.

 

And the paper version is a real ballache!

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Best of luck but in addition to enjoying the thrills of a paper-based return, you will need to ensure you are authorised by HMRC to receive the rents gross and to account for the tax under Self Assessment, otherwise you are your letting agent/tenant are in a pickle...

 

As with any other income, if the amount is clearly under the personal allowance (assuming you qualify for that), HMRC may agree that you do not need to submit a tax return until and unless that source of income exceeds the PA, or your circumstances otherwise change, e.g. another new source of income taxable in the UK arises and so on.  This is the position my other half is in.  She has a small work pension, some bank interest and some letting income (we are UK resident).  We spoke with HMRC pointing out that tax can never arise until she reaches state pension age, and they marked the record as such so that they no longer issue her notices to file returns.  Clearly, as there is a duty to notify HMRC of new sources or changed sources of income, she has a duty to notify them if the income does exceed the PA in any year to allow them to issue a notice to file. 

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This is the NRL1 form I believe, which, just to rub it in, I can apply for online!!!!

 

Oh the irony.

 

But yes, when I first started renting the property I did it through a letting agent so I need to check again that they submitted this, but now I do it directly.

 

Either way I think the best thing is I call the HMRC myself and ask them what is best to do.

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Sounds sensible to me. 

 

HMRC is seeking to get as much online as possible, for obvious resource etc reasons, but even when I go to do my tax return I am faced with a list of situations when I cannot use the online system.  If I cannot, then it points me at commercial software (which would then do the submission at the end of its process) or a tax adviser, who similarly would use commercial software and be able to make the submission on my behalf in electronic form.  Thankfully my affairs are simple and I can do the online completion and submission...B)

 

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For anyone that is interested here is an update.

 

So I contacted HMRC and they told me that although the past 15 or so self-assessments were done online and that is now not a problem, I have to do it in paper form from this year. Which is a little bit of a ballache but no big deal.

 

I also applied for receiving my rent without tax taken off with the NRL1 form and they confirmed I can, backdated to 2004!!!

 

So all good and I just have to do the paper return.

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Hi all, I have a question related to this topic. My situation should be very straight-forward and common so hopefully someone out there with the same situation could kindly give me some advice.

 

I am UK national living in Germany. I am a non-resident landlord with UK rental income exceeding the PA. This is my first year as a German tax resident so I am filling out the SA109 form for the first time. In general, I'm struggling to understand which boxes I actually need to fill in. Please could someone kindly help me with the following points in the SA109 form?

  • For boxes 15-17 relating the personal allowances, do I need to tick anything? Do I tick box 16 then state the UK and Germany, or just the UK, in section 17? 
  • Do I need to fill in anything in boxes 20-22 regarding the DTA? 
  • Domicile and Remittance basis: Do I just leave these sections blank if I do not have any capital gains? 

Apologies in advance if these questions are stupid but I'm struggling to understand their notes. 

 

Thank you!

 

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First, these questions are far from stupid.  Second, there is a lot of talk about form SA109 on the HMRC Customer Forum  Customer Forums - Community Forum - GOV.UK (hmrc.gov.uk), so you might want to search on there for definitive guidance from HMRC, or pose your questions to them to be absolutely sure.  They normally get back to you in a few days but beware that it is a public forum, so post your questions in general terms.

 

My understanding is that as a UK citizen you complete Box 16.  I interpret the guidance as saying that Box 17 gets GBR (as citizen) and DEU (as resident). 

 

I don't think you need any entries in boxes 20-22 as you are not claiming any relief under the DTA.  The UK has taxing rights over your rental income under the DTA and Germany does not tax the income.  For 2020 German tax year the UK rental income is not reportable at all in Germany but from 2021 it will be reportable for the Progressionsvorbehalt to feed into the calculation of your German tax rate (the income itself is not taxed though).

 

I don't think you need to enter anything under the Domicile section as you are not resident in the UK and claiming the remittance basis on grounds of domicile. 

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