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The UK Spring Budget – how could it affect expatriates?

By Paul Montague, Partner, Blevins Franks

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The UK’s spring budget included a number of tax announcements. The key news for British expatriates was the abolishment of the UK non-domicile status, which in some cases could influence their inheritance tax liability. 

Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, delivered his Spring Budget 2024 to parliament on 6 March. Expected to be his last budget before the next General Election, it included various changes to taxation.   Here we summarise the announcements that may affect UK nationals living in Spain.

UK non-domiciled status abolished

The biggest announcement was the abolishment of the UK’s non-domiciled (‘non-dom’) status. This reform will go through the consultation process and is not expected to come into effect until April 2025.

Much of this reform affects foreign nationals living in the UK and their income and capital gains tax liabilities. But the domicile regime also has a significant impact on an individual’s liability to UK inheritance tax; a major issue and complexity for British expatriates.

The UK government plans to replace these non-domiciled rules with a residence-based regime for inheritance tax.  It will consult on a 10-year exemption period for new arrivals in the UK and a 10-year ‘tail-provision’ for those leaving the UK.

It confirmed that the treatment of non-UK assets settled into a trust by a non-UK domiciled settlor prior to April 2025 will not change.

Other tax changes

  • The higher rate of capital gains tax for residential property gains will reduce from 28% to 24% from 6 April 2024.

  • The Furnished Holiday Lettings tax regime will be abolished from April 2025, eliminating the tax advantage for landlords who let out short-term furnished holiday properties over those who have longer-term tenants.

  • The 0% band for the starting rate for savings income will be frozen at £5,000 for 2024 to 2025.

  • The Spring Finance Bill will include legislation to restrict the scope of agricultural property relief and woodlands relief to property actually in the UK, starting April 2024.

  • The main rate of primary Class 1 National Insurance contributions will be cut by 2 percentage points, from 10% to 8%, from 6 April 2024. Class 4 National Insurance contributions for self-employed individuals will be cut from 8% to 6%.

  • An additional Individual Savings Account with a £5,000 allowance was announced. The government will consult on the details, but it will be in addition to the £20,000 that can be subscribed into an ISA.

Tax allowances remain frozen

Many of the UK’s tax allowances have been frozen since April 2021, instead of increasing with inflation, including the income tax personal allowance and higher rate threshold. As announced in previous budgets, the freeze is scheduled to last until April 2026 – and there was nothing in this 2024 budget to change this.

Freezing allowances has a similar effect as raising taxes for the government – hence often referred to as ‘stealth taxes’.   As incomes and assets increase with inflation while allowances remain static, more people pay more tax than previously, an effect known as ‘fiscal drag’.  The personal impact for taxpayers increases considerably when freezing is accompanied by high inflation.

Following the March budget, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) illustrated that the National Insurance cut, though very welcome, would not compensate for the impact of the other tax measures introduced over the government’s term in office.

The inheritance tax (IHT) nil rate band has been frozen at £325,000 since 2008, while the residence nil rate band remains at its 2021 level until 2026.  This pushes more families into the IHT net and increases how much of their inheritance is lost to tax.

2023/2024 tax allowance reductions

The UK’s Autumn Statement 2022 included cuts to tax allowances and thresholds. With effect from April 2023 –

  • The income tax additional rate threshold was reduced from £150,000 to £125,140.
  • The capital gains tax annual exempt amount was halved from £12,300 to £6,000 – and will be halved again to £3,000 from 6 April 2024.
  • The dividend allowance was cut from £2,000 to £1,000 last year and will be cut to £500 from April.

Budgets and tax planning

British expatriates who retain UK assets could be impacted by some of these tax measures.   If necessary, seek personalised cross-border advice for clarification and to establish if there is anything you can do to improve your position.

In any case, budgets, whether in the UK or Spain, are a good prompt to review your tax planning to ensure it is up to date, suitable for a Spain resident, and that you are not missing out on opportunities to save tax for yourself or your heirs.


The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change.  Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual should take personalised advice. 

Blevins Franks Wealth Management Limited (BFWML) is authorised and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority, registered number C 92917. Authorised to conduct investment services under the Investment Services Act and authorised to carry out insurance intermediary activities under the Insurance Distribution Act. Where advice is provided outside of Malta via the Insurance Distribution Directive or the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, the applicable regulatory system differs in some respects from that of Malta. BFWML also provides taxation advice; its tax advisers are fully qualified tax specialists. Blevins Franks Trustees Limited is authorised and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority for the administration of trusts, retirement schemes and companies. This promotion has been approved and issued by BFWML.


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