The newspapers are full of the difficulties the Conservatives are having over Lord Ashcroft’s recently revealed ‘non-dom’ status. Apparently he agreed to become a ‘long-term resident’ as a condition of getting his peerage 10 years ago which people assumed meant he would pay UK tax on all his income. However, as all tax specialists have always known, there is a world of difference, and often a big tax saving, between someone who is just a long term resident and someone who is UK domiciled.
Aside from the political fall out it is further demonstration (if we needed it) that tax law is now far too complex for even the politicians who pass the laws to comprehend. Our domicile and residence laws are based on 19th century lifestyles, highly subjective and sometimes just vague. We desperately need clarity, objective tests and an acknowledgement that people and businesses are now much more mobile globally.
Will we get it anytime soon?
I’m not holding my breath!