Buried, a little, within the detail of the 2018 Budget will come some positive news for employers with short term business visitors ("STBVs") from an overseas branch.
STBVs are often a headache for businesses with complex and, at times, unexpected payroll compliance obligations.
A special arrangement (known as "Appendix 4") can be put in place with businesses with STBVs who will ultimately not be liable to tax in the UK - although tracking and reporting requirements, which can be time consuming and administratively complex, still apply.
STBVs from an overseas branch, or from a country with which the UK does not have a double taxation agreement, will normally be taxable in the UK on the income relating to their UK workdays. Where work is performed "for" an UK entity, or the STBV is employed by an overseas branch of a UK headquartered business, a payroll reporting and withholding obligation will apply.
From 2016-17 a special arrangement for such taxable visitors has been in place - it allows businesses to simplify the payroll reporting and make only an annual payroll return with a once-a-year tax payment for eligible individuals. Importantly the arrangement has been limited individuals with up to 30 workdays in the year and the information needs to be submitted (and tax paid) by 22 April after the end of the tax year - quite a challenging timescale for many businesses.
The good news is that government announced in the Budget that, from April 2020, they will now expand the eligibility criteria to include individuals who work less than 60 days in the UK and will extend the deadline for reporting and paying the tax due to 31 May 2018 (in line with the reporting deadline for other STBVs). This should make things easier for businesses.
In the meantime, any businesses who don't already have an Appendix 4 agreement with HMRC, or who have not implemented a special payroll arrangement, but who have STBVs to the UK from overseas should think about whether they need to set this up - with the government becoming a little more generous with the conditions they will continue to expect to see increased compliance in this area.
Following a consultation on the tax and administrative treatment of STBVs from overseas branches of UK headquartered companies, the government will widen eligibility for the STBV Pay As You Earn (PAYE) special arrangement and extend its deadlines for reporting and paying tax. This will reduce administrative burdens on UK employers with effect from April 2020.