Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Domicile

Quick Summary of Domicile

(law) the residence where you have your permanent home or principal establishment and to where, whenever you are absent, you intend to return; every person is compelled to have one and only one domicile at a time

What is the dictionary definition of Domicile?

Dictionary Definition

n. the place where a person has his/her permanent principal home to which he/she returns or intends to return. This becomes significant in determining in what state a probate of a dead person’s estate is filed, what state can assess income or inheritance taxes, where a party can begin divorce proceedings, or whether there is “diversity of citizenship” between two parties which may give federal courts jurisdiction over a lawsuit. Where a person has several “residences” it may be a matter of proof as to which is the state of domicile. A business has its domicile in the state where its headquarters is located.

Full Definition of Domicile

In short, domicile is the country in which a person lives, which may be different from the country in which he or she has citizenship. UK law recognizes that a British citizen (see: British citizenship) may live permanently outside the UK and that such citizens have a duty abide by the laws of the country of domicile. To simplify matters, UK law makes two assumptions: first, every citizen has some domicile (rather than none); second, no citizen has more than one domicile. Unless a citizen has adopted a ‘domicile of choice’, the law assumes the ‘domicile of origin’, which is essentially the domicile one has at birth. One cannot choose domicile (according to the law) until reaching 16 years of age; people younger than this are assumed to have the same domicile as their parents — father, in the case of legitimate children, and mother in the case of illegitimate children.

Why is this important? The question of domicile arises frequently in cases of marriage and divorce. If British citizens domiciled overseas marry or divorce, they may have to do so according to the regulations of the domicile country, and these may not be the same as in the UK. Provided that they are genuinely domiciled overseas, British courts will usually accept the marriage or divorce as binding in the UK.

Of course, it would not do to have domicile defined weakly so that people could marry or divorce illegally while on holiday abroad, for example. To be able to claim domicile, UK law will require a demonstration that you are actually living outside the UK, and that you intend to continue to do so indefinitely. This last point is known by the term animus manendi. For example, the fact that you have purchased a house in the domicile county may be taken as animus manendi.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Domicile. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 23, 2021
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Domicile. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: September 23, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Domicile. Retrieved September 23, 2021, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Domicile are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 1 Views.