UK Voting, Frozen Pensions & New Tax Rules

UK Voting Frozen Pensions and New Tax Rules

UK Expat voting rights, UK Frozen Pensions, Personal Income Tax and Common Reporting Standards

One of the fundamental rights of UK citizens is to vote.

We have the late WWII Veteran Harry Schindler, MBE, OBE, to thank for his tireless 20-year campaign, in challenging the 15-year voting restriction imposed on UK Expats by the Electoral Commission / UK Government

Harry died at the ripe old age of 101 at his home in Italy on 21st February 2023. He never got to see or experience what he had accomplished in his long life firsthand, in bringing about the change in government policy for the benefit of others.

Before this change, the right to vote for Expats living abroad expired after an arbitrary 15 years when they left the UK. The Governments view being that individuals had no connection with the UK after this period of time.

Harry and others argued, successfully that one’s citizenship does not expire after 15 years and the right to vote is a fundamental right of each citizen. It is immaterial where one lives in the world, one either has a citizenship or is stateless (persona no grata). Having British citizenship qualifies equally each citizen including the right to vote.

On 16th January 2024 the UK Government announced the election restriction had been removed enabling all UK Expats a ”Vote for Life” and to partake in UK Government Elections, regardless of wherever they are in the world and for however long they have been absent.

This means is a significant number of people who are now empowered to influence government policy and laws in the UK.

The government’s own figures estimate 3.5 million potential voters previously affected by the restriction are now able to vote.

The registration process is quite straight forward and can be done online via the UK Govt Portal and contacting your overseas voter registration officer at the local council where you were last registered to vote before leaving the UK.

It is possible to appoint a proxy if you are concerned about your ballot papers not arriving in time.

You will be able to influence hot topics such as Frozen UK State Pensions by reestablishing your right to vote and contacting your MP.

In fact, the phrase ”No taxation without representation” first appeared in an article of the London Magazine February 1768.

It is as relevant then as it is today.

Frozen UK State Pensions

The UK Government for many years, has resisted various attempts by concerned parties to end the frozen pension situation directly affecting over 500k state pensioners (The Frozen), living abroad where their state pension is not uprated.

In particular this is an issue for UK State Pension Expats retired in Thailand; where there is no uprating of their State Pension. Yet elsewhere in Southeast Asia in the Philippines, there exists such an arrangement.

There has been an unsuccessful UK High Court legal challenge in 2002 by Annette Carson against the UK Government, citing 1998 Human Rights Act legislation in respect of frozen pensions.

This was unsuccessfully appealed in 2003 at the Court of Appeal. Followed by further unsuccessful attempts to appeal to the house of Lords in 2005 and the Court of Human Rights in 2008.

And a further ruling by the Human Rights Court Grand Chamber in 2009-2012 held there had been no discrimination.

So, the question of Frozen Pensions remains very topical for a great deal of state pensioners both in Thailand and worldwide.

We do not condone the falsifying of information being supplied to the DWP, in order to receive uplifted benefits including the UK State Pension.

Doing so may lead to a criminal conviction that could affect ones residency status in Thailand.

Furthermore, the UK Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has recently applied for new powers to investigate fraudulent benefit claims including the State Pension.

All financial institutions in the UK are bound by a code to report in line with Common Reporting Standards (CRS) as part of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that came into force in 1961.

Therefore, the only legal route to recourse for UK State Pension Expats in Thailand is to vote to overturn the UK government’s Frozen Pension Policy. 3.5 million people potentially have a lot of influence over the UK government at the ballot box.

Or maybe add you voice to the social media Frozen Pension Campaigns.


Common Reporting Standards (CRS) and how they may affect you in Thailand.

The CRS is a world wide Anti Money Laundering initiative by the OECD member countries.

Financial information is exchanged between member countries automatically (Automatic Exchange of Information, AEOI) to ensure tax compliance

In 2018 Thailand committed to achieving to the OECD standards of CRS Financial Exchange of information, (EOI) and (AEOI) between 2023-2025.

This was Gazetted by Royal Degree on 30th March 2023 enacting Thai laws for the AEOI.

Some of you may have already experienced requests from your banks to verify your information including any Tax Identity number (TIN). This is all part of the exchange of information.

Personal Income Tax

However, CRS compliance been mostly felt in Thailand by the recent announcement of Personal Income Tax (PIT) taxation requirements commencing 1st January 2024

In simple terms the implementation requires all persons living in Thailand for 180 days in the fiscal year to complete a tax assessment: that being January to December.

This arguable drag net approach has included many pensioners and others who have not been assessed or paid tax before in Thailand. And there is naturally some grievance in the air.

But being assessed for tax does not mean that one will pay tax.

There are 61 separate bilateral Double Tax Agreements (DTA) that maybe used to offset any tax liability in Thailand.

These DTA’s are country specific, copies maybe available from the Thai Revenue Department or Tax Advisors located in Thailand.

(The UK entered into a DTA with Thailand in 1981, it still remains in force)

But for now, we are waiting on more clarity from the Thai Revenue department about their ruling of January this year (2024) before going forward.

However, as a general rule of thumb if you already pay tax in another OECD country; you are unlikely to be taxed on the same source, depending on the DTA that is applicable to your situation.

Isaan lawyers has a team of inhouse accountants who can be spoken to and consulted with in regard to tax matters, business and personal taxes by appointment. They can assist with TIN tax identification numbers for taxation purposes and more. Specific taxation advise is via appointment or consultation only. I

It goes without saying that one should prepare well and get all ones ducks in a row commencing January 2024 for assessment in 2025.

Time to get your ducks in a row

Contact us for Accounting and Personal and Business Accounting and Tax advice, stay legal, stay in Thailand

[email protected]

084 471 5775

In Pattaya why not give www.anglosiamlegal a shout.

[email protected]

Ref;- House of Commons Library, The Electoral Commission, OECD / CRS, Sheerings (Thailand), Royal Thai Gazette, Thai Revenue Department / UK DTA 1981

Acknowledgement:- Late Harry Schindler MBE, UK Expat Vote Campaign.

This information supplied by Isaan Lawyers is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice in any way, the information was correct at time of publication but may be subject to change.


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