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Moving from UK to Bulgaria

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Old Oct 29th 2017, 5:14 pm
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Default Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Hi everyone,

First of all thank you for this wonderful forum, it's great to be here!

Let me begin by giving you a bit of context about myself. I am originally from Bulgaria, I moved to the UK in 2008.
I became a British Citizen by naturalisation in 2015. I currently hold dual citizenship - both British and Bulgarian.
My personal timeline is like this:
2008 - 2011 - University student
2011 - Currently - Full time employed in UK, permanent, have never been a contractor.
I am at a point in my life where I want to move back in Bulgaria for the foreseeable future, which might end up being for the rest of my life.
So I started researching all the steps I need to take to make this transition as smooth as possible and not to miss anything out, and ended up having lots of questions for which I need your help.

Currently this is my plan:

- Contact HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) regarding Tax.

- Contact Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) regarding pension and tell them you are leaving.

- Contact the NHS and tell them you are leaving.

- Sort out bank accounts.

- Hand in resignation notice at work (I have a 3 month notice period).

- Pack and send luggage in Bulgaria.

- Fly to Bulgaria.

Question1:

My main question is - am I on the right track, are these the steps I need to do in order to move out from the UK, is there something I have missed?

Question2:
I am struggling to arrange the correct sequence in which I need to do things, so my next question is - what is the order in which I need to do things?

Question3 - related to Question2:
Which of these steps can I do before I hand in my resignation notice at work, I have a 3 month notice period, and at the moment it looks like the earliest I will be able to hand it in is January 2018?
I guess what I am asking is which of these government bodies can I contact without accidentally triggering something in motion before I am ready to trigger it?

Apologies for the long explanation, but I am kind of lost with this, and I am hoping more context will be useful.

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Kind regards,
mintdeminted
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Old Oct 29th 2017, 5:32 pm
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

You're very organized, but some of those things aren't really necessary, such as telling the DWP and NHS.

In fact I am not even sure how you would tell the NHS .... I suppose you could tell your GP, but as I believe they are paid a "service fee" for everyone on their "roll" they may not actually delete your name until you have been gone for a year or more i.e. have no on-going contact with you.
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Old Oct 29th 2017, 6:23 pm
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Hi Pulaski,

Thank you very much for your quick reply and for the flattery!

Re NHS:
I guess by let NHS know what I mean is also get whatever documents or forms I need to present to the Bulgarian equivalent, so that I can reinstate my health insurance there. I guess I will need to take out my medical history from the NHS?

Re HMRC:
Regarding contacting HMRC, my biggest worry is that I do not understand this so called inheritance tax?
I can't post links in the forum yet, so please google for:
expertsforexpats.com/expat-tax/inheritance-tax/

Reading this however makes me feel a bit calmer, as my estate is no where near the threshold value stated here, and I don't know if it will ever be that much:
I can't post links in the forum yet, so please google for:
gov.uk/inheritance-tax

Re DWP:
I have been contributing to a pension scheme ever since I remember I started working, so I need to find out:
- What will I be getting from the UK when I retire?
- Is there any way to transfer everything that I have accumulated in my UK pension fund to one in Bulgaria and is this better or worse?

Thanks!
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Old Oct 29th 2017, 7:08 pm
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Originally Posted by mintdeminted View Post
..... Re DWP:
I have been contributing to a pension scheme ever since I remember I started working, so I need to find out:
- What will I be getting from the UK when I retire?
- Is there any way to transfer everything that I have accumulated in my UK pension fund to one in Bulgaria and is this better or worse?....
There is an arrangement for your years of contributions in different countries to be aggregated when the time comes to claim. If you have at least ten years contributions you can claim in the UK even if you no longer live there.

If you have IIRC, at least three years contributions you can continue to contribute (under current rules), and potentially, when you reach (under current rules) 35 years of contributions, receive a "full state pension" in addition to anything you are entitled to in Bulgaria or any other country, or any private pension savings you have.
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Old Oct 30th 2017, 1:47 am
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
There is an arrangement for your years of contributions in different countries to be aggregated when the time comes to claim. If you have at least ten years contributions you can claim in the UK even if you no longer live there.

If you have IIRC, at least three years contributions you can continue to contribute (under current rules), and potentially, when you reach (under current rules) 35 years of contributions, receive a "full state pension" in addition to anything you are entitled to in Bulgaria or any other country, or any private pension savings you have.
As Pulaski says, you appear well organised! Yes, you can continue to pay NI towards a UK State pension whilst not resident but the rates have gone up and you now have to pay class 3 contributions. Plenty of advice online or you can just email the DWP and ask them! you will be dealing with the International Pensions Dept in Newcastle once you move.
HMRC - You need to file a P85 form (available on the HMRC website) when you have a date for moving. I filed mine a month before we moved for example. HMRC will then issue a refund for any tax overpaid as your tax code is based on earnings for the next tax year, so if you remove yourself from the UK , residency wise, you may not have earned enough to pay tax! I got over £700 back!
Ask your GP for copies of your medical records - they can charge for this. Mine was £15 . wife was £50 as hers was over an inch thick!
If you enrol on the government gateway before you leave UK , Government Gateway - Home then you will be able to check your tax status, NI contributions etc online.
Obviously you'll need to inform any credit card companies, your UK bank if you don't intend keeping your account open and any companies you have online accounts with etc.
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Old Nov 6th 2017, 7:33 am
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Hi quiltman and Pulaski,

Thank you both for saying I am organised, it means a lot to me!

Thank you both also for the quick and helpful replies!

Apologies for the delay in my reply!

@quiltman;, I will definitely do the P85 once I have a moving date. I will also definitely get copies of my medical records. I don't intend to keep any accounts open so I will inform any companies and banks I can think of.
I was not aware of the Government Gateway website - that is really useful, thanks!

Now what can anybody tell me about Inheritance Tax?
My biggest worry is that I do not understand this so called inheritance tax? I am trying to figure out if it will affect me in the future? Let's say for example if I live the rest of my life in Bulgaria or anywhere else outside of the UK, and then pass away, will my inheritors be affected by it?
I do not own any property in the UK or have any family in the UK.

Cheers
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Old Nov 6th 2017, 12:42 pm
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Originally Posted by mintdeminted View Post
Hi quiltman and Pulaski,

Thank you both for saying I am organised, it means a lot to me!

Thank you both also for the quick and helpful replies! ....
You're welcome.
Now what can anybody tell me about Inheritance Tax?
My biggest worry is that I do not understand this so called inheritance tax? I am trying to figure out if it will affect me in the future? Let's say for example if I live the rest of my life in Bulgaria or anywhere else outside of the UK, and then pass away, will my inheritors be affected by it?
I do not own any property in the UK or have any family in the UK. ......
You shouldn't have a problem with inheritance tax as it is based on "domicile" and is rather hard to change your domicile voluntarily. If you are Bulgarian and grew up in Bulgaria then you are likely still domiciled in Bulgaria. So of you sell up and leave, with nothing more than a couple of pension accounts in the UK, then inheritance tax in the UK won't apply to you.

Even if you spent the rest of your career in the UK, owned a home, married and had a family in the UK, and retired in the UK but eventually decided to spend the final years of your life back in Bulgaria, you would also be (still) domiciled in Bulgaria.

Hypothetically if you wanted to change your domicile to the UK, you would have to sever just about every imaginable link to Bulgaria, own no property or investments there, visit no more than very occasionally as a tourist, and certainly not retire there. Then, and only then you might be able to get rid of your Bulgarian domicile. .... But if you changed your mind and in the final days of you life decided to return to die in Bulgaria you would be right back at square one, with a Bulgarian domicile!

Last edited by Pulaski; Nov 6th 2017 at 12:46 pm.
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Old Nov 21st 2017, 8:03 am
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Hi Pulaski,

Apologies for the delay in my reply!

Thank you that was really useful! I didn't understand the concept of domicile to begin with and now I have a better idea thanks to your explanation. Doesn't sound that bad anymore.
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Old Nov 21st 2017, 12:15 pm
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Originally Posted by mintdeminted View Post
Hi Pulaski,

Apologies for the delay in my reply!

Thank you that was really useful! I didn't understand the concept of domicile to begin with and now I have a better idea thanks to your explanation. Doesn't sound that bad anymore. .....
You're welcome.

Yeah, domicile really isn't something to worry too much about unless you actually want to change it, because for most people, most of the time, it is what it is and you aren't going to change it accidentally or by mistake.
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Old Nov 21st 2017, 7:42 pm
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Yeah, that's exactly what I was afraid of - changing something without even realising it that I have done/not done something to cause the change.

Thanks a bunch again!
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Old Nov 21st 2017, 9:10 pm
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Here is another brain-teaser:

Is there anything special about student loans?

I have a student loan from the UK Students Loan Company (SLC) which I will probably not have finished paying off by the time I move.
At the moment my plan is just to email them to let them know and ask them for instructions on how to continue re-paying it from overseas. Are there any special procedures or 'gotchas' I should know about?
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Old Nov 22nd 2017, 2:51 am
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Originally Posted by mintdeminted View Post
I have a student loan from the UK Students Loan Company (SLC) which I will probably not have finished paying off by the time I move.
At the moment my plan is just to email them to let them know and ask them for instructions on how to continue re-paying it from overseas. Are there any special procedures or 'gotchas' I should know about?
You just have to keep them updated about your address and bank details. The contract details have changed from year to year so I don't know if your contract is the same as mine, but in my case the payment threshold is about 2500 pounds per month, which is ridiculously high for Romanian income levels (more so for Bulgaria, I would imagine). I receive a letter from them yearly for deferment and have to send them details of my earnings to prove I haven't exceeded that threshold.
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Old Nov 29th 2017, 12:47 pm
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

oh, yes, the study loan - you will have to provide your permanent address at the new location. There are different thresholds for different countries on when you start paying your tuition back and for Bulgaria you start paying back as soon as your paycheck reaches 1400 Bulgarian leva. As this salary is very low the "checks" you send your university are very small, but I guess consistency is the key here. Much of this will be arranged through your employee in Bulgaria - at this that was the case for me when I lived there 3 years ago (I would supposed nothing changed since then). Hope this helps and have fun in Bulgaria - I had a blast!
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Old Jan 8th 2018, 10:42 pm
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Hi All,

Happy New 2018 Year! Wishing good health and prosperity to everyone!

Apologies for the delayed reply, work was really busy before Christmas, then went away on holiday, then back to work trying to catch up with everything...

Thank you all for all your help so far, and thanks for the latest replies from @Azarel; and @S.K.;, all very useful information!

Cheers,
mintdeminted

Last edited by mintdeminted; Jan 8th 2018 at 10:46 pm.
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Old Jan 8th 2018, 10:56 pm
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Default Re: Moving from UK to Bulgaria

Here is another little brain teaser for you - can you loose your British citizenship?
For example is there a requirement to be present in the UK a certain number of days each year?

Cheers,
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