Claiming Back Tax When Working Abroad

With the population of the UK increasing to 61 million and unemployment rising rapidly, many people are leaving the UK to work abroad. Our tax experts answer some common tax questions on this topic:


Am I due a tax refund when leaving the country to work abroad?
As you are leaving the UK part way through the tax year you can claim a refund on the tax and income for the year.

Can I claim all my tax back when leaving the UK?
If you have earned less than the annual tax free allowance (for 2009/2010 this is £6,475) then you can claim back all the tax you have paid. If your income for the tax year was over, you will be able to apply for a portion back. For example if you earn £10,000 between April 5th (the start of the tax year) and the date you leave the UK and if you have paid £2,000 in income tax, you will be due a tax refund of £1,207.

How can I calculate my tax refund?
When you finish working, your employer in the UK should provide you with a P45. The P45 will state the amount that you earned and how much you paid in tax for the fiscal year in question. Input these amounts into our tax rebate calculator which will provide an estimate of any refund due.

What about tax rebates for previous years?
If you have been with the same employer for the whole tax year, it is less likely that you will be due a refund. You can still check however. Each April, if you are working, you will be given a P60 from your employer. The furthest in arrears that you can claim is 6 years.

When can I claim my tax refund?
As soon as you are given your P45 from your employer you can claim your tax refund. If you are not given a P45 or lose it, you can always ask your former employer to provide a statement of earnings, which will act as a sufficient replacement

What other forms do I need to claim my tax refund when leaving the UK to work abroad?
You should complete a form P85 from the Inland Revenue. Include this with any tax documents you have, together with a covering letter.

How long does it take to claim my tax back?
It depends on your tax office but refunds usually take between 4-6 weeks. Often there are backlogs and as a result it can take up to 90 days for refunds to be processed.

If you have any other questions, watch the short explainer video below or alternatively ask a question in the comments and we’ll personally answer it:





  1. darren says:

    im going to live in australia and rent my houses out back in the uk which i have mortgages on will i have to pay uk tax on them

  2. Chris says:

    Hi, I am going to work in Angola, 28 day on, 28 off rota and will be returning to UK on each leave period. I have been told that Angola pay 17% of my tax, and I will obtain a tax certificate. What would I do with it? How much UK tax will I have to pay?
    Many thanks

  3. Scott Windram says:

    I am a British citizen living in South Africa as a Permanent resident. I may receive a job offer soon from a UK office of a global business who propose for me to be employed through their office but work from the South Africa office for them. There would be limited travel to the UK office perhaps on e a month. Would I be taxed in the UK or South Africa? Could I request indemenity form UK tax and pay tax in South africa on my salary?

  4. Mully says:

    Tax Fix, I work for a UK Manufacturer and I am required to travel and stay in North Africa on a regular basis maybe about 100 days a year spread over the year. A customer I was travelling with top me I am entitled to claim £10 back for every night I stay in a hotel abroad.
    Please can you advise if this is true
    Many thanks

  5. ahmad says:

    I have double nationality in which country i have to pay tax.

  6. Mark B says:

    I am living in Poland, but I have recently taken employment with a UK employer who are paying me a UK salary and will deduct UK taxes and UK NI contributions. Will I be exempt from paying Polish taxes? I don’t see why I have to pay double taxes in UK and in Poland. I’ve read that Poland and UK have a double taxation agreement, whereby I deduce that I won’t have to pay Polish taxes. Is this correct?

  7. sam says:

    i am a british citizen. i have a c/o address. for 8 months of the year i am working abroad (italy) for an italian company payin italian tax. will this affect my stamp duty in the uk,?
    for the four months remaining i am either working with the uk or travelling? can i get a rebate from my uk earnings?

  8. William says:

    I’m from the UK and I’m working abroard in Afghan for an American company. I get paid into my UK bank account. Do i have to pay tax in the UK?

  9. Botho says:

    iwas working in uk now im back in africa for good but my friend told me that i have a cheque from tax office how do i claim it can they deposit it to my account in africa?

  10. Joanna Smithson says:

    I work for a UK based company but am taking a 12 month maternity leave abroad and will only be back on the UK for a couple of weeks (ie my permanent residence will be abroad for the year). Am I entitled to reduced tax rate?

  11. Larry Grankham says:

    I am a US citizen. I worked in the UK for years and paid a considerable amount in taxes. Am I eligle for UK retirement benefits?

  12. Tony says:

    I have started my own building company here in the UK and have been asked to do some building work in Italy at the home of a friend. Can you please tell me what is required legally both here and in Italy before I arrange to go and view the property.
    Thank you

  13. Derek Simpson says:

    I have just taken A job in Ship Secirity as got made redundant in September, my problem is this, I am on A 4 month contract, And not due back in UK until 30 April, having left UK on 31st December. How do I sort out my Tax? I was working full time until September, then Agency from September tp December, couple of shift A week. Any help would be gratfuly received as dont wont any tax issues over my head.

    Kind Regards


  14. neil bell says:

    I am from the UK. On January 1st 2011 I started work in Iran. From April 1st 2011 to April 1st 2012 I calculate I will have spent only 80 days back in the UK which I believe I don’t pay Tax. BUT what about the 3 month period January February March 2011 when I was in IRAN. Total 15 months abroad. I need to know as I have received a self assessed tax form for April 2010 to April 2011. As this 3 month period was the start of 15 months abroad should I pay tax.
    Appreciate your help.

  15. mary jane says:

    i am south african living and working abrosd for six years do i have to pay tax

  16. karissa says:

    I am working in the USA and have an investment property in australia, am I able to claim usa tax on my australian property

  17. Sam says:

    can i cash my tax rebate cheque in my spanish bank account

  18. george says:

    i am thinking of working in brazil my shift pattern will be 3weeks there 6weeks in uk iwill be paid by a uk company will i still have to pay brazil tax on my salary or just the three week iam there

  19. john riley says:

    Hi I have been away from england traveling/living/working for almost 6 years now.
    I have not been paying tax or NI
    I now want to return to england indefinately, find a job and get back into work and in the system.
    what do i need to do about tax and national insurance.
    do i just start work or is there something more detailed?

  20. Tony Dawson says:

    i worked for a British company for four years,the last three years i have spent most of my time out of the UK,contract work around the globe,and now that i have been laid off would i be able to get a tax refund,if so how do i go about sorting it out.

    kind Regards
    Tony Dawson

  21. robert corbett says:

    I am a UK resident but have spent over 9 months off and on, working abroad. 5 motnhs of that will have been outside of the EU. Am i entitled any tax back based on these circumstances?

  22. C Murray says:

    Hi, I was not resident in UK (went to Australia) from Feb 2008 to Jan 2009. I paid UK tax on my company pension (£12K) can I reclaim the tax I paid?

  23. jim green says:

    im working abroad do i have to pay tax on e
    arnings i make aboard hear for 2 weeks then away againg

  24. Beatriz says:

    Hi, I was working in Uk for two years and now I’m leaving. If I claim for the taxes back, how long time am I not allowed to work in UK? is that true?

    Thanks a lot!!

  25. Amanda says:

    Hi, I was made redundant in June and received JSA until August 1st when I came to New Zealand to do a 4 month contract. I am leaving early December returning in Feb for a long term job. Am entitled to a tax rebate from tax paid in my previous employment/

  26. Sandra G. says:

    I was born in the UK, I am a UK resident (London) and my nationality and passport is Italian (my father is Italian). I am planning to move and work in Tunisia, however I desperately need some questions answered.

    1. If I were to obtain residence in Tunisia would I lose my UK residence or am I entitled to dual-residence?

    2. If I do not become a resident in Tunisia will I be obliged to pay taxes in the UK?

    3. If I become a resident in Tunisia but in the future wish to return to the UK will I be able to reobtain my UK residence?

    I hope this all makes sense.

  27. Matt Copper says:

    Hi – I am going to be living in the UK but working for a New Zealand company, I am planning to do this for the next five years. Bit stuck I assume I pay tax in the UK as I’ll be living there but my employer will be paying out NZ dollars – not sure where to start with this one, any advice or pointers would be greatly received.

  28. Karen.A says:

    I have moved to New Zealand and am currently on a 12 month working visa, would I be able to claim my Tax Back?
    And if so how long do you have to be out the country for to be eligible?

  29. Sally Stott says:

    I am a retiree living on investment income in Australia, on which I pay tax in Australia. I have bought a holiday home in the UK (I’m a joint UK/Aus citizen)and want to spend about 120 days per year there.I do not work nor earn any income in the UK but am worried that I may incur a tax liability on my Australian assets simply because I want to spend longer than 90 days in the country. Can anyone clarify this for me. Thanks, Sally.

  30. Lee says:

    I have just returned back from a 18 month trip to Italy & Spain.
    I did not inform the Tax Office / NI Office – was I meant to ?

    I am lucky enough to drop into a new job straight away…my question is – how much tax and Ni should i be paying ?

    Any help would be appreciated..

  31. pau says:

    i have been working abroad for nearly 16 yrs now, and i have never filed a tax return back to the uk. i have been working in europe for the first 9 yrs and now i am working in asia. my employers say they pay the local tax for me, but i am not 100 percent sure. i have no plans to go back working in the uk but i am concerned if i ever have to in the future. i filed a form to say i am leaving the uk to work abroad full time. i am a uk citizen

  32. Mark Sanger says:

    I work adhoc for a uk company. I spend more than half the year working in other countries ie: Gabon and Congo. Not sure if I am entitled to claim back for the proportion of the year I am out of the uk. Any advise would be appreciated

  33. Martin says:

    I will be starting a job in switzerland, being paid in Swiss Francs and taxed in Switzerland. My family will still be in england, do i have to pay UK tax as well as Swiss tax?

  34. Frances says:

    I’m from South Africa but have been living and working in London for 3 years. I have a both South African and UK residency. When I move back to South Africa can I claim tax back from the time spent in London?

  35. Daniel Nemeth says:

    Hy. I wanna ask, that if i reclaimed my tax in this taxyear and left the uk and i wanna go back 2 month later in the same tax year, than do i have to pay back the tax what i reclaimed? Thank U!

  36. Kendrick Johnson says:

    Im working in Iraq for KBR they re subcontractors for the department of defense. They are going to be laying off quite a few people in the coming months. We are paid from a company based out of Dubai,UAE. Can I file unemployment.

  37. Nik says:

    I have been resident and working in UAE for 1 year and filled out a P85 when i left the UK. I am planning to return to the Uk to live and work again but this will be before the new tax year. I was recently told that if I have not been out of the country for 1 full tax year, april to april, then I would be liable to pay UK income tax on my earnings for the whole period I worked for a UAE company. Is this correct? As obviously it effects my decision to return to work in the UK. Many Thanks.

  38. Roy Moore says:

    My wife and I lived and worked in the Republic of Ireland for 8 years and have now moved back to the UK. Can we claim anything from the UK or Ireland?
    If so how do we do it?

  39. derek says:

    can i claim my tax & ni back i am self employed & work abroad most of the year

  40. peter todd says:

    if I come from the uk but will be working in denmark do i have to pay uk and danish tax or just the tax in the country i work in.

    thank you

  41. Paula says:


    I work for UK company, I got UK contract, but I am not living in UK, I am working in the hole Europe. I am citizen of Poland. Where should I pay taxes and pension contributions? Is it possibile o pay taxes in UK and pension contributions in Poland? Thank you.

  42. cara says:

    I am a uk resident i worked abroad for 3 months can i get any tax back.

  43. lincoln ricketts says:

    i have been working abroad since mid july and due back to uk end of september. can i claim my tax back

  44. Tax Fix says:


    It all depends whether your employer is based in the UK or not and whether you are resident/ordinarily resident for paying tax in the UK.

  45. Catherine says:

    If I work overseas but the company pay my wages into a Uk bank do I have to pay tax

  46. Tax Fix says:


    Thanks for your question. No, whilst you were working in the UK you would have been liable to UK income tax on your earnings.

    If you moved back to Australia part of the way through a tax year then you may have overpaid some UK tax during that period. Contact HM Revenue and Customs to see if you are owed a rebate.

  47. Rachel Henry says:

    i am going to work in the Far East for 2 years, paid by non Uk company in Far East. I will be letting out my house in UK. Can I use my UK tax allowance for the income which will be paid into my UK bank account?

  48. karen says:

    Hi, I’m an Australian Citizen and lived in London for 16 years. I have now moved back to australia and have not intention of living in UK again or working there. Can I claim tax back that I paid over the 16 years?

  49. Louise says:

    When a employee is send to work in Africa Countries or Oversea, we pay them a “Stay Away allowance of $80 per day …. do we need to show this on there payslip to be taxed? Is there a way that we can give them insentives without taxing them on it?

  50. Neil says:

    I am going to live and work in Abu Dhabi on a two year contract from October 2011.
    As the UAE is tax free I will not be paying any UK tax on my earnings. I am planning on spending less than 30 days, each year in the UK and I pay NI contributions, and UK tax on my military pension

    Question….Will I have to pay tax on what I have earned in the Abu Dhab when I return to the UK

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