Stop the nonsense – people aren’t leaving because of tax

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When is a non-resident a resident under British tax rules? – Times Online .

The Times notes:

[A] seminar that Withers held last month — entitledShould I Stay or Should I Go? — found that Switzerland remains a particularly popular destination [for those looking to leave the UK for tax reasons]because of its proximity, if not its sizzling culture, while Hong Kong and Singapore appeal to the banking set.

They then note

The question of leaving the UK because of the tax burden has grown in importance with the impending 50 per cent top rate, which many predict will lead to an exodus of high-earners and the international companies that employ them. However, Woods says the Withers seminar found that it is the uncertainty in the UK tax system, not higher taxes, that is driving people away.

“Plenty of people are still looking at becoming non-UK tax residents,” agrees Herring. “They are just going to have to be more careful about how they do it.”

But as we know just 1,079 bankers (who are those most likely to leave) applied to go to Switzerland in 2009, down on the previous year.

The continuing coverage of this story is pure politics. The reality is that some people go abroad to advance their careers – and always will. The number who go into tax exile is minimal – and most who do don’t need our sympathy and would not understand it if we offered it.