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UK: Social Security and Taxation

Even though your retirement years might seem like a lifetime away, it is never too early to start thinking about providing for your old age. For expatriates, doing research on pension plans is of particular importance.

Your entitlement to a retirement pension will be impacted by the fact that you have lived and paid pension contributions in several countries. Likewise, your tax liabilities can be affected by legislation in the UK, as well as in your home country. In our guide to social security in the UK, we outline how state pensions work and how they may be curtailed by pension reforms currently in the planning stage. Non-government pensions, like company pension plans or private insurance, are becoming ever more important for those who’d like to uphold a certain standard of living in their sunset years. Residents coming to the UK from overseas should make sure to contact the providers of all pension schemes they are participating in before they move: their national social security administration or pension office, as well as insurance providers responsible for occupational pension schemes and private policies. They can tell you how your planned relocation may affect your future retirement benefits.

Various Social Security Benefits in the UK

Obviously, social security in the UK does not include only old-age pensions. There are other government benefits as well. Some important policies, especially public healthcare as provided by the NHS and paid parental leave, are covered in different sections of our guide to the UK. In our article on social security, we also explain unemployment benefits in the UK. For example, we tell you when you may have the right to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance and how much you are entitled to. Generally speaking, though, expats moving to the UK should have a financial cushion to fall back on in hard times. Even when they are entitled to the benefits in question, the latter may not be nearly enough to cover the cost of living in Britain’s boomtowns.

UK Taxation for Residents from Overseas

Once you move to the UK, you may also have to deal with taxation abroad. Our introduction to paying taxes in the UK covers several important areas that could be of relevance to the expat taxpayer. First of all, we’ll specify how to register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (the UK’s tax office), which sorts of income are liable to income tax and when a tax return becomes necessary. Moreover, our guide to UK taxation includes such topics as income tax rates, tax allowances, and allowable expenses. The particular concerns of self-employed taxpayers are also taken into consideration. Last but not least, we provide you with an overview of expat-related tax issues, touching upon subjects like residence for tax purposes, the basis for claiming income tax in the UK, or international tax relief treaties.

InterNations Expat Magazine