Foreign employment - dual contracts

By Tolley

The following Personal Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Foreign employment - dual contracts
  • Introduction
  • Why use a dual contract?
  • Structuring a dual contract arrangement
  • Anti-avoidance legislation
  • HMRC’s historic approach to dual contracts
  • Alternative to dual contracts


Employees may have two contracts of employment, one with an employer who is not resident in the UK, and one with a UK resident employer.

It is of course sometimes the case that these employers are unconnected, and the individual has simply accepted two posts, one abroad and one in the UK. For instance, a person might be employed by Oxford University and by the Sorbonne, with different responsibilities under each contract.

Often, however, the employers are associated, with the employee’s duties divided into those relating to an overseas employment and those related to the UK employment. Historically, this type of dual contract was particularly common when the individual was non-domiciled, and in some cases they were also used by not ordinarily resident individuals (prior to the concept of ordinary residence being abolished).

This guidance note explains why dual contracts are attractive to non-domiciliaries. It also sets out best practice when setting up dual contracts, discusses the anti-avoidance legislation which may be used to counter them and describes HMRC’s approach. The Foreign employment guidance note explains the background to these topics.

Note that this guidance note does not consider overseas workday relief, as to obtain this relief the UK duties and foreign duties must be under the same contract of employment. See the Overseas workday relief and special mixed fund rules guidance note.

Also this guidance note does not cover employment law or any overseas implications, but advice will be needed on both.

Why use a dual contract?

A person who is resident but not domiciled in the UK can use the remittance basis for earnings from an employment that is both:

  • with a foreign employer, and
  • for duties performed wholly outside

More on Foreign: