COVID-19 International Tax and Global Mobility

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International Tax Risk

As a leading international university, the University of Strathclyde requires to manage tax exposure in all countries in which it and its staff operate. However, with the arrival of COVID-19, international tax risk has been increased by changes in two key areas:  1. Staff location and 2. Remote service delivery. The Finance and Human Resources Directorates, with support from professional advisors, have sought to manage this risk with a fiscally responsible approach which supports staff, students and the University’s own position.

 

Staff Location

The location of staff is often a main contributor to the creation of tax liabilities. The University’s policy is to recruit the best staff to support its teaching and research activities and is able to attract talented individuals from all over the world. However, the University of Strathclyde is a Scottish university, and unless particular circumstances require the permanent overseas location of staff to fulfil their contract, it is assumed that they will also be normally located in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK. All exceptions to this must be approved in advance by the hiring Head of Department, School or Directorate, the Director of Human Resources and the Director of Finance.

For existing staff who may wish to relocate another country for personal reasons, it must be understood that this will require a change of contract, which may be agreed only after consultation with, and approval from Human Resources and Finance Directorates. Location of staff overseas can create income tax charges for the University, VAT or indirect tax charges, obligations to establish an overseas payroll and possibly double taxation charges. There may also be tax implications for the staff member personally. Where a relocation is requested by a member of staff and not required by the University then the costs of obtaining professional advice regarding their personal circumstances may be chargeable to the staff member personally, or with prior approval of their Head of Department, School or Directorate, to their budget.

There are many issues which need to be considered in respect of staff location if this is not in the UK and they are case specific, so please make contact as early as possible to discuss. No commitment should be given to a staff member to work overseas for the University without being approved by the relevant Head of Department / School, the Director of Human Resources and the Director of Finance.

 

Remote Service Delivery

With international travel reduced for Staff and Students the University has quickly adjusted to a changed approach to teaching and managing research activities, often through online communications. The location of the delivery of a service, which may be determined by the location of the recipient of that service, will often be a key factor in creating an obligation to pay tax to an overseas tax authority and can create ongoing reporting obligations.

 

International tax is a growing and highly complex area of compliance and it is essential that the risks are appropriately managed. If you need support or have any questions about Staff Location or Remote Service Delivery, please contact Deputy Director of Finance, Clare Urquhart or the relevant HR Manager for your area.

 

Line Manager Role

It is vitally important that we have full transparency of our staff base and it is the responsibility of all staff to update their home location information on Pegasus in the event that this changes. We would ask that managers advise their HR Manager if they know of any staff who are based overseas currently – even if this is a temporary arrangement.