Taxation of Non-Resident Companies: An overview


Navigating tax regulations often proves complicated, particularly in distinguishing between resident and non-resident corporations. In this article, we will look at the key distinctions in the taxation of non-resident corporations vs their resident counterparts. Businesses can handle their tax duties more successfully and make more informed decisions if they grasp these distinctions. Let’s go into the specifics.

1. Election Restrictions

Certain elections restrict participation for non-resident firms. They are unable to participate in an election for distributions before to April 6, 1999 (ICTA88/S247) and payments prior to May 11, 2001 (ICTA88/S247). This restriction limits their capacity to make use of certain tax benefits.

2. ACT Surrender

A non-resident firm cannot get an Advanced Corporation Tax (ACT) surrender. In the United Kingdom, ACT is a form of tax credit that was previously applied to dividends. As a result, non-resident corporations are unable to take advantage of this tax break. Which has an impact on their overall tax liabilities.

3. Close Company Status

Non-resident corporations cannot be recognized as close companies. For determining a resident company’s close company status, they may be considered as such. This distinction has repercussions for resident corporations that are linked to non-resident entities in terms of tax liabilities and reliefs.

4. Small Profits Relief

Under CTA10/S18, non-resident enterprises are ineligible for small profits relief. Small profits relief permits businesses to pay a lower tax rate on profits that fall below a particular threshold. Non-resident companies with a permanent establishment in the UK, on the other hand, may be subject to different rules (see DT1954).

5. ACT Liability and Franked Investment Income

Corporations that are non-resident do not have to report ACT on payments made before April 6, 1999. ICTA88/S242 also says they can’t have “franked investment income” or “surplus franked investment income.” For the same reason, non-resident companies can’t use dividend income to make up for trading losses in order to absorb them.

6. Distributions Sent and Received

Non-resident corporations are exempt from paying Corporation Tax on the distributions. They receive from firms operating in the United Kingdom. However, payments issued by a non-resident company do not hold a tax credit. They are not classified as franked investment income upon receipt by a company that is a resident, regardless of whether the non-resident company conducts economic activities within the United Kingdom.


Tax treatment differences between resident and non-resident corporations can have a major influence on a company’s financial condition and tax payments. Businesses that operate across borders must be aware of these distinctions and obtain appropriate expert counsel. Understanding the constraints and ramifications can help businesses make informed decisions while also assuring tax compliance. For the most up-to-date information, always consult the HMRC Company Taxation Manual (CTM).

Disclaimer: The blog content aims to provide general information and should not be regarded as expert tax advice. For specific tax-related questions, please speak with a competent tax practitioner or refer to official HMRC instructions.

References: HMRC Internal Manual: Company Taxation Manual (CTM) – DT1954: Foreign Companies having a Permanent Establishment in the United Kingdom