Tax rules governing short term business visitors don't go far enough - Blick Rotherberg

12/07/2018 News Team

The UK Government’s proposals on employment tax compliance and reporting obligations for those coming to the UK for short business trips do not go far enough and could adversely affect small businesses, according to accounting, tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg.

Mark Abbs, a partner at the firm, said: “The rules need to be more straightforward and much easier for employers to understand especially for small businesses where compliance can be a disproportionate burden and the rules can be difficult for non-specialists to understand.”

He continued: “They [the changes] look only at two narrow and specific areas which won’t benefit many businesses: extending a payroll concession to visitors employed by a non-UK branch and allowing employers to settle PAYE at year-end where a business visitor does not qualify for the concession.

“The rules for immigration are also completely separate from the rules for tax when it comes to short term business visitors. This leads to confusion. For example, the definition of ‘incidental duties’ for visa purposes is different from the definition of ‘incidental duties’ for PAYE purposes.

“The compliance regime for the smallest of UK owner-managed businesses is the same as for the largest of UK multi-national corporations. Whilst large corporates will normally have the time and resources to invest in understanding the rules and adhering to the obligations, small businesses typically struggle in this regard.”

Mr Abbs concluded: “We have done some international research which demonstrates that the tax and payroll compliance is much simpler and more relaxed in other countries when compared to the UK. The UK should conduct a more comprehensive overhaul of the short term business visitor rules so that it works better for everyone.”

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