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Banking and tax planning for moving abroad

Overall, the number of British people moving to live abroad is still rising, with about 10% of British people now living overseas, according to Government figures. If you are there already or are thinking about moving abroad, your financial arrangements are things to seek advice about and plan for.

Moving abroad will be a big change in your personal circumstances, with financial implications and even though the world has become smaller, travelling easier and residence abroad is more commonplace, good planning is essential.

Most banks provide guides to financial provision when living abroad but the advice of an accountant or adviser familiar with overseas living and finance would be a good place to start, at least six months ahead of your move. Before you go, spend some time researching international bank accounts as these generally let you bank in different currencies. This can be useful if you have on-going financial commitments in the UK such as a mortgage, bills to pay, or a child at university.

International current accounts help if you continue to have an income in Britain, such as a pension. They mean you can run two current accounts side by side, one in euros for example and one in pounds sterling, transferring money between the two for no fee. Setting up an international account before departure means that you will be able to access your money as soon as you land at your destination. It also means that should you choose to move on again, you will not need to spend time closing one account and re-opening another in your new country – your money is easily accessible wherever you go.

You can hold an international account alongside an existing UK bank account. It is generally worth keeping your UK current account, letting your bank know you will be emigrating and ask for a letter of reference, which can help you rent a property in your new country of residence.

Becoming resident in one country while still having financial commitments in another can cause complications to your tax status and it is surprisingly common for people to end up paying tax twice for a period of time, once in the UK and once in their new country of residence. To avoid this problem, the UK has “double tax agreements” with a large number of countries that show which jurisdiction has the taxing rights on a particular profit or source of income. Such agreements exist for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, France and Italy. With other countries, navigating your way through more complex tax arrangements, particularly in relation to savings and investments, you should seek expert advice, from a qualified tax adviser or accountant experienced in tax matters.

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