What is Domicile?
Domicile is the legal concept of a person’s home. It is where they have their permanent abode and are registered to vote and pay their taxes. A person can only have one domicile.
This article will focus on domicile and what it means in different legal contexts. We will also look at the different types of domiciles that a person can have.
Domicile vs Citizenship
Domicile is not the same as citizenship, though the two will coincide in many cases. A person’s domicile is their permanent home. In contrast, citizenship is a political concept related to a person’s allegiance to a state.
A person can only have one domicile, but they can have multiple citizenships. For example, a person may be born in the UK and have British citizenship by birth. But, if their parents are from another country, they may also have citizenship in that country.
Domicile vs Residence?
Domicile and residence are also often confused with each other. A residence is where a person lives at a particular time, but it does not necessarily have to be permanent. A person can have multiple residences.
For example, one person may have a residence in London and another in New York.
On the other hand, a person’s domicile is their permanent home. It is the place they always intend to return to, even if they are living elsewhere.
Types of Domiciles
There are three types of domiciles:
Domicile of Origin
Domicile of origin is the domicile a person acquires at birth. It is generally their father’s domicile, although it may be their mother’s in some cases.
Domicile of Choice
Domicile of choice is when a person chooses to change their domicile from their domicile of origin. This can happen when a person moves to another country to make it their permanent home.
To do this, they must sever all ties with their previous domicile and make a new home in the new country.
Domicile of Dependence
Domicile of dependence is when a person cannot choose their domicile, such as when they are a child or under mental disability. Their domicile will be the same as their guardians in these cases.
A person may also be under the legal disability of being married. Their domicile will be the same as their spouse’s.
How is Domicile Relevant in Legal Contexts?
Domicile is relevant in several legal contexts, including taxation, succession, and voting rights.
For example, in the UK, a person is only liable for tax on their income if they are domiciled in the UK. If a person is not domiciled in the UK but earns income from a UK source, they will not have to pay tax on that income.
Domicile is also relevant in succession law, which governs what happens to a person’s property when they pass away. In most jurisdictions, the only property in the country of a person’s domicile will be subject to that country’s succession laws. This means that if a person owns property in multiple countries, their property in each country will be subject to the succession laws of that country.
Finally, a person’s domicile can also be relevant for voting rights. In many jurisdictions, only domiciled people in the country are eligible to vote in national elections. If a person lives in a country but is not domiciled there, they will not be able to vote in that country’s national elections.
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