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If you are leaving Britain to live abroad these apply whether you are leaving on a work assignment or as a permanent move.

Many expatriates regret not sorting out their tax and financial affairs before they go as many inadvertently break tax rules.

Your Status

First, you need to consider how going to live abroad affects Your Status in the eyes of the UK authorities. You should certainly make sure you are non-resident.

If you are going to work abroad, then you are provisionally considered non-resident of the UK from the day you leave. But you have to confirm this by remaining out of the country for a complete tax year, which runs from 6 April until the next 5 April. You are allowed brief visits home.

To retain non-resident status those visits home must not exceed a total of 183 days in any one tax year, nor an average of 90 days per tax year for the duration of your time abroad.

- Get Form P85 from your local tax office. This allows you to apply for non-resident status before you leave the UK.

Accommodation

Accommodation in the UK and overseas? If you own a property in the UK, do you intend to leave it empty, or are you going to rent it out? Leaving it empty affects your mortgage, home insurance and council tax.

There are three things you must do.

- Contact your mortgage lender to let them know you are going abroad and leaving the property empty, and make sure they are satisfied with this. You need your lender's permission to rent out your property
- Contact your local authority, as leaving an empty property may affect the way you are assessed for council tax.
- Contact your home insurer and find out if you are in breach of the terms of the policy.
- If you let out your property you will be taxed.
- If you are buying foreign property while abroad it is important not to leave everything in the hands of the estate agent. The contract will be written in the local language and different laws will apply to the transactions.
- To avoid foreign property purchase problems, appoint a local lawyer (or notary) who can explain in English the implications of the foreign law contract before you sign anything.

Taxation

While you are abroad it is often possible that you will have less Taxation to pay in the UK. If you are a non-resident the UK taxman should not tax you on money earned abroad. Your new 'host' country may levy much lower taxes than the UK does.

National Insurance

Many expats end up with large gaps in their history of paying National Insurance (NI) contributions, and so are not eligible for a UK state pension at all when they retire.

Even if you have missed a relatively small number of years' contributions, you may face a reduced level of state pension.

If you have 'missing years' when you have not been paying NI it is not possible to buy your way back into the NI scheme completely, but you can pay back up to six years' arrears to make up the required 44 years' contributions for a man, or 39 years' for a woman.

Financial Planning

Since it is not tax-efficient to be sending home any surplus cash from your foreign location, beyond what you need to settle any bills in the UK, you should set up an offshore bank account. This is not an exotic or dangerous exercise - many thousands of sensible British expats have done it already, and there are safeguards.

With an offshore bank account you can do all the things you can with a UK bank account - and more besides. You can operate an offshore account from anywhere in the world, often using the internet.

- Offshore banks are used to dealing in a variety of currencies, and so can offer you accounts and services in sterling, dollars and euros.
- Expat savers should check with their local tax authority as to whether or not overseas interest needs to be declared.
- Open an offshore bank account .
- You should check that your life insurance covers you for your new circumstances abroad. You may well find it is better to take out insurances to cover your new circumstances before you actually get there, rather than try to do it retrospectively.
- Take out international medical expenses insurance cover.
- Find out from your bank or UK-regulated financial adviser which offshore investment products are most suitable for you 
- If you are saving for retirement, then how you do this may be affected when you become an expatriate, so it is worthwhile exploring your opportunities before you leave.

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