Ten years on – and domicile is still on the agenda

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It was interesting find an article on on our domicile rule in the International Herald & Tribune of 5 July 1997. It said:

A standard test for trainee British tax accountants is to decide whether Britain is a tax haven. According to Richard McIlwee, a tax partner with Clifford Chance in London, most are surprised to find that for certain expatriates the answer is yes.

Expatriates enjoy a number of tax breaks that are unavailable to residents. For the most part, these benefits are based on Britain's unusual domicile rules.

It continued:

But following the election of the Labour government in May, the question now is whether Britain's expatriate benefits will continue and, if they do not, what options will be available to foreign residents in Britain.

Rumors that the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, was looking closely at Britain's domicile laws began circulating ahead of the budget. Although some of his earliest policy changes - such as partially freeing the Bank of England from government control - were welcomed by the British investment community, many people have still to be persuaded that the new government is truly pro-business.

Now compare that with the Treasury Select Committee report published yesterday:

Whilst recognising that the issue is not exclusive to private equity, we also ask the Treasury to inform us of the progress on the 2003 review of the residence and domicile rules as they affect the taxation of individuals, and note that the Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs need to demonstrate a rigorous approach towards claims of non-domicile status.

Think what abuse could have been prevented if Gordon Brown had acted in a timely fashion.