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Compliance deadline for Short Term Business Visitors

Kenny Law, Senior Manager, Global Mobility Services
13/03/2020
flyover and buildings at night

With the annual reporting deadline of 31 May 2020 approaching, we wanted to take the opportunity to remind you about UK payroll compliance requirements in respect of Short Term Business Visitors to the UK.

Summary

UK companies with short term business visitors, i.e. employees of an overseas subsidiary, parent or other group company coming to work temporarily in the UK, have two choices:

  • to operate PAYE tax on the employees’ total pay whilst in the UK, or
  •  to obtain short term business visitor (STBV) agreement from HMRC.

In many cases, there is a double tax treaty in place which will mitigate the UK personal tax liability of a STBV employee. Where this is the case, a STBV agreement must still be entered into, otherwise the employer will be required to operate PAYE tax and then the employee would need to file a tax return to reclaim the PAYE tax. By entering into a STBV agreement, all that is required is the filing of a STBV report to HMRC on an annual basis.

Alternatively, for employers with only one or two STBVs a year, an application for a NT (nil tax) code on a case by case basis could be made. However, PAYE should be operated until the code is received.

Excluded categories

The STBV agreement cannot apply to the following categories:

  • employees visiting the UK from an overseas branch of a UK entity
  • employees visiting the UK from non-treaty countries

In these cases, PAYE tax will be due, however a simplified PAYE arrangement can be put in place to ease the administrative burden of operating PAYE. New rules will take effect from the 2020/21 UK tax year that will provide further relaxations in respect of this arrangement.

Non Resident Directors

Non-resident directors of UK companies also fall outside the scope of a STBV agreement. However, the key point to note here is that HMRC will expect employers to operate PAYE in the normal way in respect of director visits to the UK to perform UK board duties. In addition, expenses met by the company in connection with these visits may be subject to PAYE. There is also possible exposure to UK National Insurance on earnings and expenses attributable to these visits to the UK. On the other hand, UK board duties performed outside the UK may trigger UK corporate tax risks.

Action

The topic of STBV non-compliance is at the top of every PAYE audit agenda. Non-compliance will mean the employer is exposed to interest and penalties on unpaid PAYE tax and these penalties can be up to 100% of the unpaid PAYE. In terms of next steps, employers should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Are you able to accurately track STBVs coming to work in the UK?
  • Do you know which country these STBVs come from?
  • Do you know what they are doing here and how long they visit for?
  • Do you understand the UK payroll compliance requirements relating to your business visitors to the UK?
  • Are you aware of the special agreements that can be used to reduce payroll compliance requirements for those business visitors who do not qualify for inclusion in a STBV agreement?  

Quite simply, employers who have STBVs should enter into a STBV agreement as soon as possible and there is still time to make an application for a STBV agreement and file an annual report for the 2019/20 tax year.

 

How can we help?

Our Global Mobility Services team can help employers to understand their obligations regarding STBVs, provide assistance on preparing and submitting a STBV application to HMRC and also advise on tracking and monitoring employee presence in the UK. If you would like to have a conversation to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to Kenny Law or your usual Crowe contact.

Contact us

Dinesh Jangra
Dinesh Jangra
Partner, Head of Global Mobility
London