Brits living abroad in the Middle East

Table of Contents

Contact Us

We are very proud to say we have served hundreds of expatriates in this region – it is one of our core areas.  We will now explain the main issues in a digestible format.

Time to show off first. 

“We are very happy in this work …”or in Arabic    نحن سعداء لخدمةنحن سعداء لخدمة

We have chief executives in Dubai, head teachers in Abu Dhabi.   We work for medical companies in Qatar, we have many oil based clients in Saudi Arabia, and a range of different companies in the Oman.   I would describe these countries as the more commonplace destinations, the well travelled paths.   We also have work in the more unlikely host countries, Lebanon and Syria for example.

UK tax matters – let’s tackle this first as UK tax will “follow you” abroad

What are the issues as non-resident for UK tax ? 

Renting out your UK home

Many expats choose to rent out their home in the UK, while they are living abroad.   If you plan to do this, bear in mind that any income you receive could be subject to UK income tax, wherever you are based in the world.  You will be taxed on total rents received less specific expenses. 

It is possible to minimise UK tax with good tax planning and record keeping.  It is a good idea to seek tax expert advice from us, to make sure you fully understand the rules.

UK non-residence rules for tax

You may be able to claim UK tax non-residence. This tax status can be extremely advantageous to many UK expats living overseas. A UK non-resident can avoid 100% of UK tax on employment earnings if they have this status.

Record keeping

It is worth keeping a number of records, so that you can provide them to HMRC if requested.   For example, you should keep a record of:

  • All expenses incurred on your UK rental property
  • And details of your travel in and out of the UK, including dates, flight numbers, boarding passes, and so on.

It is worth asking an advisor (us !) whether there are any other records you should be keeping, in relation to your specific circumstances.

Banking – how to save monies earned abroad

If you are a UK non-resident, there are some new options available to you, once you move abroad. You may be able save money by opening, for example, an account in the Channel Islands, such as with HSBC or Lloyds, and avoid or minimise tax on interest.

Contacting Oliver – the expatriate tax accountant

Although you may not need an accountant every month, it is often worth getting support when you first leave the UK, as it can give you peace of mind and save you money. If you’d like to get in touch free of charge, please call us.  We never charge for the first calls or emails.

So, we have just run through some key issues above that affect most Brits in the Middle East.  And yet, you thought this would be about Middle East taxation alone ?  As you might imagine, that’s not our first priority when many countries charge zero income tax or capital gains tax.   Let’s cover some highlights of tax systems in the region – a sample of frequent expat destinations.  If you are new to this region, this is quite a “wow”.


0% income tax and 0% capital gains tax and 0% tax on interest and dividends.

VAT is 5% and inheritance tax is 0%.

Saudi Arabia

VAT is 15% effective from 2020.

0% income tax and 0% capital gains tax; and 0% tax on interest and dividends (for residents).

Inheritance tax is 0%.


VAT is 0%

0% income tax and 0% capital gains tax; and 0% tax on interest and dividends (for residents).

Inheritance tax is 0%.

This hopefully explains why we have come to specialise in UK tax for non-residents.  There is more to this area ( not forgetting UK non-resident CGT for example), but ..

….It’s just a blog ….

When blogging, we do not bombard you with every part of every UK tax law.  That would be a long technical guide, which does not belong here.   Please remember that, if you believe you may be able to claim relief, you can ask me, Oliver for a specific tax review.  Every expatriate’s tax circumstances are different.