HMRC watching visiting workers

For those companies employing overseas nationals, Brian Lovie of BDO LLP warns of the imminent hard line approach being adopted by HMRC towards visiting workers. In a guest Blog,  he highlights the changes effective from 6th April and the need for immediate short term business visitor agreements if not already in place. " Those companies presently moving staff through international offices to the UK have been able to negotiate PAYE obligations. However, from the 6 April 2014 HMRC has indicated that they intend to take a hard line on imposing UK PAYE regulations on such individuals as part of a wider policy to increase the overall tax take for the Treasury. HMRC has always believed that UK PAYE should be deducted even for short term visits regardless of an individual's personal tax position but has been willing to negotiate on a case by case basis. Given the Government's overall tax planning, HMRC has indicated that such relaxation will no longer apply from 6th April onwards. HMRC will take a much harder line in all cases. They have lists of all businesses with international operations and a similar (but much shorter) list of those businesses with an STBV agreement. Anyone who believes that such an agreement would be beneficial needs to act NOW to have a relaxed agreement put in place before the new financial year begins. Many international companies operating in Scotland need to shift key staff from country to country whether that be in the oil and gas sector, whisky, or any other sector with a global reach. An agreement with HMRC for such individuals makes an incredible difference in their personal tax arrangements which can be overly complicated if PAYE is deducted every time they work within the UK. It is vital, therefore, for any companies who believe they have employees who will be affected by this change in policy to review their circumstances immediately."

Brian Lovie, Director Employment Tax BDO, Edinburgh