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Short Term Business Visitors: Overview

As a general rule, any individual undertaking employment duties in the UK is immediately liable to UK PAYE taxes, even if they are only in the UK for a matter of days.

However, HMRC advises employers that it may be possible to relax strict PAYE requirements for employees on short-term business visits to the UK.

The Short-Term Business Visitors Arrangement (STBVA) or EP Appendix 4 arrangement

Provides that PAYE can be disregarded in certain circumstances. This arrangement will significantly reduce the administrative requirements relating to the operation of PAYE under RTI. This will also eliminate the need to file UK tax returns to claim refunds where UK tax is not ultimately payable due to the application of double tax treaties.

If an employer has only one or two employees potentially affected, they may like to consider applying for an NT code on an individual basis instead.

Conditions

This arrangement must only be applied where individuals are:

  • Resident in a country with which the UK has a Double Taxation Agreement
  • Coming to work in the UK for a UK company or the UK branch of an overseas company, or are
  • Legally employed by a UK resident employer, but economically employed by a separate non-resident entity
  • Expected to stay in the UK for 183 days or less in any twelve-month period
  • In addition, it must be shown that for specifically named employees whose presence in the UK is 60 days or more, the UK company or branch will not in fact ultimately bear the remuneration specified.

An outline of the reporting requirements is provided as a general guide below, where a STBVA has been obtained.

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Visitors to the UK covered by the 60-day rule for 1 – 30 days

No requirements for either employer or employee to fulfil other than where the period is part of a longer period of 60 days or more.

Visitors to the UK covered by the 60-day rule for 31 – 59 days

For an employee who spends no more than 59 days in the UK during the tax year, PAYE can be disregarded provided it is confirmed that

  1. there is no formal contract of employment with the UK employer
  2. the 59 days do not form part of a more substantial period.

All visitors to the UK not covered by the 60-day rule for 1 – 90 days and other visitors to the UK for 60 – 90 days

For an employee in the UK for not more than 90 days in the tax year, PAYE can be disregarded provided that the employer supplies the information below by 31 May following the end of the tax year

  • Full name of employee
  • Last known UK and overseas addresses of employee
  • Nature of duties undertaken
  • Date commenced
  • Date ceased
  • To which country a tax return covering worldwide income is submitted

And confirms that the UK Company does not:

  • Ultimately bear the cost of the employee’s remuneration
  • Function as the employee’s employer during the UK assignment.

Visitors to the UK 91 to 150 days

For an employee in the UK for a period of 91 days but not exceeding 150 days in the tax year PAYE can be disregarded provided that

  1. All of the information requested for visitors up to 90 days is provided and in addition
  2. In the case of non-US citizens and Green Card holders, the employee provides a statement from the overseas Revenue authority confirming residence in the other state for tax purposes throughout the period in the UK. This statement should be passed to the HMRC Office by 31 May following the end of the relevant overseas tax year. This arrangement is only provisional until the relevant certificate is received.

In the case of US citizens and Green Card holders it will only be necessary for the employee to provide evidence of continuing residence in the US.

Visitors to the UK 151 to 183 days

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Applications will be made on a named individual basis for authority to include the employee in this arrangement. The application will be made as soon as it can reasonably be anticipated that the employee will be present in the UK for more than 150 days. The application will include

  1. All of the information requested for visitors up to 90 days and confirmation that the statement from the overseas Revenue authority will follow by the relevant 31 May
  2. A statement by the employee giving reasons why he/she considers himself/herself to be treaty resident in the treaty partner country by reference to the appropriate article in the Double Taxation Treaty

It is important to bear in mind that if the individual fails to satisfy the necessary conditions, they will become subject to UK taxes on the income from the day they arrived.

An employer who wishes to take advantage of a STBVA must have an internal reporting system to track days spent by business visitors in the UK. The employee must periodically report days spent in the UK to their employers so this information can be logged.  Employees must not spend more than 30 days intermittently in the UK in any 12-month period, without reporting to their employers for tracking purposes.

There are further detailed conditions, for example the method of counting days spent in the UK, keeping records etc. and therefore it is important to seek advice on a case by case basis to ensure correct application of this relaxation.

STBV Appendix 8 Arrangements

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The administrative easements provided in STBVAs are not available to all UK companies with STBVs. For example, STBVs resident in countries with which the UK does not have a DTA fail STBVA condition (a) and are ineligible. STBVs from overseas branches of UK companies are also ineligible for STBVAs

With effect from 6 April 2020, where the UK does not have a Double Taxation Agreement with country (or countries) concerned, HMRC makes special provision to arrange for the collection of tax where the normal operation of PAYE is considered ‘impracticable’. The relevant agreement is called STBV Appendix 8.

Ordinarily, an application for the agreement must be submitted by the 6 April, i.e. the first day of the tax year to which it will apply. Upon receipt and acceptance of the Appendix 8 application, HMRC will set up an annual PAYE Scheme to enable the employer to account for the tax on the payments made and the cash equivalent of any benefits provided to employees covered by this arrangement.

The STBV Appendix 8 arrangement increases the UK workday limit from 30 to 60 days. In addition, the filing and payment deadlines are changed from 19 April and 22 April respectively to 31 May following the tax year end. Details of the arrangement and an application form are included in PAYE81950 from 6 April 2020.

Disclaimer:  The above overview is based on legislation in place and the interpretation thereof at the time of writing.  We accept no responsibility for action taken in respect of this where bespoke advice has not been obtained.

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