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Domicile

Domicile is a general law concept. It is not possible to list all the factors that affect your domicile, but some of the main points are explained below. Broadly speaking, you are domiciled in the country where you have your permanent home. Domicile is distinct from nationality or residence. You can only have one domicile at any given time.

Domicile of origin

You normally acquire a domicile of origin from your father when you are born. It need not be the country in which you are born. For example, if you are born in France while your father is working there, but his permanent home is in the UK, your domicile of origin is in the UK.

Domicile of dependency

Until you have the legal capacity to change it - see next paragraph - your domicile will follow that of the person on whom you are legally dependent. If the domicile of that person changes, you automatically acquire the same domicile (a domicile of dependency), in place of your domicile of origin.

Domicile of choice

You have the legal capacity to acquire a new domicile (a domicile of choice) when you reach age 16. To do so, you must broadly leave your current country of domicile and settle in another country. You need to provide strong evidence that you intend to live there permanently or indefinitely. Living in another country for a long time, although an important factor, is not enough in itself to prove you have acquired a new domicile.

Source of above: UK Inland Revenue

It is only possible to have one domicile at any one time and initially, the law supplies everyone with a domicile of origin which is normally the domicile of the individual's father at the time of his birth. A domicile of origin continues to be operative until it is displaced by the acquisition of either a domicile of choice or a domicile of dependency. It cannot be extinguished by an act of will or mere abandonment.

The acquisition of a domicile of choice depends both upon residence in the country in question and the requisite intention to remain there, permanently or indefinitely. A domicile of choice is lost by an individual by leaving the country in question and giving up the intention of making it his permanent home.
As a general rule, a child under the age of 16 will acquire his father's new domicile as a domicile of dependence if his father's domicile changes after his birth. Once the child has attained the age of 16, his domicile of dependence will continue until he abandons it and either acquires a new domicile of choice or his domicile of origin revives. A woman who married before 1 January 1974 would have acquired her husband's domicile on marriage as a domicile of dependence which she is treated as retaining as a domicile of choice (if different from her domicile of origin), until she abandons it and acquires a new domicile of choice or her domicile of origin revives.

If a non-UK domiciled individual arrives in the UK, he may live in the UK for as long as he wishes without acquiring a UK domicile of choice, provided he does not form an intention to settle in the UK permanently or indefinitely.

If a UK domiciled individual leaves the UK never intending to return, he may acquire a domicile of choice in the new country in which he settles provided he forms the intention to settle in that country permanently or indefinitely. It is perfectly possible for an individual to leave the UK to live abroad for many years without losing his UK domicile if he intends to return eventually to the UK.

The intention for the purposes of establishing a domicile of choice is to a large extent, based on the evidence. The relevant Revenue authority will look at the individual factors to determine whether an individual has acquired a UK domicile in the case of new arrivals, or if he has acquired another domicile in the case of UK domiciled individuals moving abroad..



Guide to trusts
Residence & Domicile
Importance of a will or trust for Isle of Man investments