If the UK government starts to implement this law there will be a lot of expats who are trying to play both sides that will have some nasty shocks coming.That's no surprise. Both Veronica and I have tried to explain that just living outside the UK for the required time is not sufficient. If people still retain property and a life (of sorts) in the UK then they may be deemed not to have severed the ties to the UK and therefore may still be liable for UK tax.
To clarify, the recent Gaines-Cooper case is more to do with domicile than residency and the ruling will not affect the vast majority of British expats. As usual, the press like to scaremonger.
The vast majority of British Nationals are deemd to be UK domiciled, no matter where they live. This is a particularly strong concept in British law and is based on father's nationality and your place of birth in most cases. It is very hard to change domicile and in order to do so you have always had to sever all ties with the UK and take up another domicile of choice. The issue here relates to UK inheritance tax which is charged on the worldwide assets of UK domiciled people.
Mr Gaines-Cooper was claiming a change of domicile whilst retaining a property in the UK, his wife and child lived there, he has UK bank accounts etc and he visited regularly. In now way would that ever have been deemed a breaking of ties.
Most British nationals do not claim a chnage of domicile, although ir may be inthe inerests of some who will never return to do so. In short, do not be panicked by this ruling as, unless you have significant assets you have no need to be concerned. The standard ruling of being treated as UK non-resident for tax purposes by spending no more than 90 days a year in the UK whilst income arises overseas is unchanged.