• Managing operational tax risk: survey highlights

    Finding the right people, processes and technology to manage record-to-report risks is no easy task. To consider how, see our survey’s leading practices.

  • Building a tax manifesto for manufacturing

    The global re-shoring trend is creating new opportunities for the UK, but our report shows it has limited time to set itself up for future high quality manufacturing.

  • Tax Insights (previously T Magazine): future of tax

    Whether it’s the media, politicians or corporations, everyone is becoming increasingly focused on tax. Don’t miss our eleventh edition, which examines the journey ahead.

  • 2014 tax risk and controversy survey highlights

    Bridging the divide between current and future risk management frameworks can be a challenge. Our survey reveals actions to help you prepare.

  • Managing indirect tax in the digital age

    Multinational companies are handling large quantities of complex data about indirect taxes. We outline hands-on approaches that can help deal with all that information.

  • Budget 2014

    Read our analysis of Budget 2014, including Budget Alert, which gives insight on employment, personal, corporate and indirect tax measures, plus EY ITEM Club comment.

  • OECD provides update on the BEPS Action Plan

    On January 23, 2014, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development hosted a webcast on the base erosion and profit shifting project. Learn more.

  • Tax Policy and Controversy Briefing goes online

    The speed of change continues globally. Keep up-to-date on tax policy, legislative and regulatory developments with our new web-based Tax Policy and Controversy Briefing.

  • Tax Transparency

    The trust an organisation builds with its stakeholders is critical, and tax transparency is a key dimension in building that trust. Find out how we can help.

Tax Services

We’ll help you navigate the global tax landscape

The business and tax landscapes have changed dramatically, and the pace and complexity of change continues to increase. Governments are tempering the need for revenue with increased competition for labor and capital. Tax authorities are adapting their enforcement strategies, focus and policies in response to the changing dynamics of business. Companies are balancing competing priorities, ensuring they maintain compliance while adding value.

We can assist you with these critical issues in today's tax environment, including:

Building a tax manifesto for manufacturing 658K, August 2014

  • Midweek Tax News


    A weekly update on tax matters to 30 September 2014

    Midweek Tax News provides you with a succinct overview of the key tax developments that have occurred each week, to allow you to stay up-to-date on tax issues that may have an impact on your business. If you would like to discuss an article in more detail, please do speak to the relevant contact listed at the end of this issue or to your usual EY contact.

    The Conservative Party conference has been taking place in Birmingham and is due to finish today (1 October) with the Prime Minister's keynote speech. In his speech on 29 September, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne made a number of announcements. One relates to pension changes as set out below. Another relates to the introduction of a targeted anti-avoidance rule (TAAR) for certain companies holding intellectual property offshore.

    The Chancellor made a brief reference to “putting a stop to” the alleged avoidance of business taxes by certain unspecified technology companies. We understand that this is a reference to a new TAAR aimed at foreign multinationals investing into the UK, further details of which may be announced in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.

    We understand the rule would target arrangements under which intellectual property is held by such multinationals outside the UK in a low/no tax jurisdiction without the benefit of treaty protection, particularly where there is significant UK activity but little UK tax base and there is a separation of intellectual property assets from substance or a lack of value chain transparency.

    The issues arising from these types of structures could be resolved multilaterally as part of the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPs) project through changes to controlled foreign companies rules, treaty abuse rules, work on harmful tax practices, redefined permanent establishment threshold tests and/or changes to transfer pricing guidelines. However, such multilateral changes may not be executed in the short-term, such that unilateral domestic anti-abuse measures are preferred. There may be more such unilateral measures as the BEPS initiative continues its journey.

    Foreign multinationals holding intellectual property in a low taxed jurisdiction and with significant sales/activity in the UK may want to carefully watch the development of these proposals and consider how they affect them.

    Also on 29 September, the Chancellor announced the abolition, from April 2015, of the 55% tax charge which currently applies to pensions passed on at death. This change will apply to all payments made after April 2015.

    From April 2015, individuals with a drawdown arrangement or with uncrystallised pension funds will be able to nominate a beneficiary (not just a spouse/civil partner or a dependent child) to pass their pension to if they die. This change will not apply to annuities or scheme pensions.

    If the individual dies before they reach the age of 75, they will be able to give their remaining defined contribution pension to anyone as a lump sum tax free, if it is in a drawdown account or uncrystallised. The person receiving the pension will pay no tax on the money they withdraw from that pension, whether it is taken as a single lump sum, or accessed through drawdown.

    Anyone who dies at or over the age of 75 with a drawdown arrangement or with uncrystallised pension funds will also be able to nominate a beneficiary to pass their pension to. However, in this case the nominated beneficiary will be able to access the pension funds flexibly, at any age, and pay tax at their marginal rate of income tax. Beneficiaries will also have the option of receiving the pension as a lump sum payment, subject to a tax charge of 45%. The Government intends to also make lump-sum payments subject to tax at the marginal rate in future (not a flat rate charge of 45%). It will engage with the pension industry in order to put this regime in place for 2016-17.

    An effect of this change is to make defined contribution pensions attractive assets for the purpose of passing down wealth and minimising inheritance tax. Whilst the initial focus on the consequences of the 2015 pension reform was on people accessing their retirement funds early, this announcement provides an incentive to leave funds invested in pensions. Depending on their circumstances, pensioners may now choose to use other assets to fund their retirement, leaving their pension pots to pass down to their family, minimising any inheritance tax charge.

    There remain other issues to be clarified in respect of the new 2015 rules, notably how the flexible pension funds will be taken into account in assessing benefits. This week's announcement demonstrates how individuals will need to consider carefully a number of factors when planning retirement.

    In June 2014, the European Commission announced that it was launching three in-depth investigations to examine whether decisions by tax authorities in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg with regard to the corporate income tax to be paid by certain named multinationals comply with the EU rules on State Aid. The Commission has now published the formal letters that were sent to the Irish and Luxembourg tax authorities in June, setting out its position in their respective cases.

    The investigations are focused on transfer pricing rulings where the Commission has stated that it is examining whether the contested rulings do not comply with the arm's length principle and confer an advantage on the taxpayers.

    The publication of the letters is the next procedural step in the State Aid investigation process. At this stage, the Commission has not finally decided that there is State Aid only that it is of the preliminary view that the measures may constitute State Aid and that it formally continues to examine these cases.

    It is expected that a final decision in relation to these investigations will take a considerable period of time. Once the letter and accompanying summary has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union interested parties will have one month to submit their comments directly to the Commission.

    Groups with existing or impending tax rulings in any EU Member State (in particular, Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) may wish to consider the implications of these developments.

    HMRC has commenced issuing accelerated payment notices (APNs) under its new powers to require up-front payment of disputed tax in relation to arrangements impacted by follower notices, Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) and general anti-abuse rule counteraction.

    To date, we are aware of notices being issued pursuant to DOTAS arrangements. These notices have been issued following a short pre-warning period given by HMRC.

    The limited timescale within which to react to an APN means that it is important that the notice is acted upon as soon as it is received. Ideally, taxpayers will already have given thought to a strategy to adopt in advance of receiving the notice. However, on receipt of the APN, taxpayers should check that the notice is valid, the requisite detail is provided on the APN and that the amount calculated for payment is correct.

    The new provisions are complex and present a number of challenges for taxpayers. As well as involving the payment of tax and/or negotiation of any time to pay arrangements, taxpayers may wish to consider whether there are any opportunities that could be explored to resolve the underlying tax position.

    In the long awaited decision in the case of Julian Martin, the Upper Tribunal has confirmed the decision of the First-tier Tribunal that relief was available for the repayment of part of a bonus as ‘negative taxable earnings’. The employee signed an employment contract under which he received an upfront “signing bonus” intended to tie him in for a five-year period. The contract also stipulated that a pro-rata proportion of the bonus would be repayable in certain circumstances, including if the employee gave early notice of termination prior to the end of the five year period.

    After less than a year, he gave notice, and agreed a slightly revised timing of the part-repayment of the bonus as compared to the contract. HMRC sought to deny tax relief for the repayment of the bonus, which had been taxed in full upfront. The Tribunal commented that the principle, on which such cases should be judged, is whether the payment by the employee arises directly from the employment and, therefore, the reasons for which the payment is made must be considered. HMRC did comment that if the contract had not included the five year notice provision, it would not have contested the claim to tax relief.

    Please see for our tax alert which contains more details and considers possible implications.

    As covered in last week's Midweek Tax News, in a notice issued on 22 September 2014, the US Treasury Department and IRS announced their intention to use existing powers to issue regulations aimed at preventing some of the tax benefits that are associated with certain corporate inversions. Whilst the relevant regulations have not yet been issued, the intention is that they would apply to inversion transactions undertaken on or after 22 September 2014. Any group considering an inversion transaction should carefully consider these developments.

    Our international tax alert has further detail regarding the forthcoming regulations.

    We have provided comments on HMRC's draft guidance on the changes to the tax treatment of assets leased into the UK by way of bareboat charter (known as the Oil Contractors Ring Fence) which were introduced in Finance Act 2014. Overall, the draft guidance is helpful in clarifying how certain parts of the new legislation are to be interpreted and applied. In our response, we have set out our suggestions as to how we think aspects of the draft guidance could be clarified and have commented on remaining areas of uncertainty. If you would like a copy of our response please speak to your usual EY contact or that listed further below.

    On 24 September, HMRC issued Revenue & Customs Brief 32/14 which sets out its long anticipated guidance concerning the VAT recovery position of holding companies following the Court of Appeal's judgment in the case of BAA Ltd.

    Historically, holding companies included as members of a VAT group were treated in the same way as any other member of the group. Consequently, VAT on any costs incurred by the holding company was recoverable in accordance with the group's overall VAT recovery position. However, HMRC's revised guidance states that VAT is only recoverable by a holding company where it is incurred in the course of an economic activity and there is a direct and immediate link to taxable supplies. Consequently, a passive holding company can no longer rely solely on its membership of a VAT group to recover input tax. Our tax alert provides further details.

    HMRC states that its revised guidance does not reflect a change in policy. However, the potential impact on passive holding companies does appear to be a development in HMRC's approach and any corporate groups operating a holding company structure may, therefore, wish to consider the impact of the revised guidance as a matter of urgency.

    The publication on 16 September of the first seven deliverables under the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan represented a key step in the OECD's plans to ensure that profits are taxed where economic activities generating the profits are performed and where value is created. We are holding a series of events looking at different aspects of the 2014 deliverables. These are listed below together with registration links for each event:

    • At 15:00 today (1 October), we are holding a global webcast which will focus on a detailed examination of the developments with respect to the OECD's work on Action 13 on country-by-country reporting (CBCR) looking specifically at the CBCR template and the master and local file framework for transfer pricing documentation. Please click here to register.

    • At 16:00 on 6 October, we are holding a global webcast focusing on the OECD's Action 1 report on the digital economy. We will also look at the impact on the digital economy of the other OECD recommendations and country developments. Please click here to register.

    • At 8:00 on 15 October, we are holding a breakfast briefing seminar in London. This will summarise the OECD recommendations, consider unilateral domestic law responses to the BEPS initiative and the views of the UK Government and HM Treasury on the interaction of the BEPS initiative with UK tax policy, and illustrate key actions being taken by multinationals now. Please click here to register.

    Our international tax alert is also available giving a high level overview of the documents released in respect of all the seven Actions. Further international tax alerts with a detailed analysis of each of the deliverables are available through our Global tax alert library.

    EY's Finance Act webcasts provide insight and interpretation around the impact of this year's UK Finance Act from some of our leading tax professionals. There are two modules this year:

    • Corporate tax, stamp taxes and tax administration

    • Personal tax, employment tax and pensions

    Together, the modules take under two hours to complete. The modules can be accessed here, as can a summary of the topics covered in each module.

    Real Time Information

    To phase in the implementation of in-year PAYE late filing penalties, HMRC has started issuing an electronic, generic notification service message to all employers, to confirm when the new in-year penalties will apply to them. On 12 September HMRC, issued a news release summarising how the staggered introduction of penalties will be rolled out, along with samples of communications that it intends to send to employers. HMRC has confirmed that these messages are now being issued in stages to employers who have schemes of 50 or more employees. An updated Penalties and Appeals ‘At A Glance’ helpsheet has also been produced. HMRC suggests this may be a useful reference for employers whilst these messages are being issued.

    Upper Tribunal to consider claims for input tax on Royal Mail postal services

    In the case of ZipVit Ltd, the taxpayer has appealed the First-tier Tribunal's decision in favour of HMRC to the Upper Tribunal. This lead case concerns whether the taxpayer, who received supplies of postal services which were treated by Royal Mail as exempt but which were properly standard-rated under both UK and EU law, was entitled to an input tax credit in respect of those supplies. The First-tier Tribunal dismissed the taxpayer's appeal, holding that no VAT was ‘due or paid’ on the relevant supplies and, therefore, the taxpayer had no right to recover it.

    An appeal was to be expected given that around 140 other cases, with £1bn at stake, are stood behind this lead case. Any taxpayers who have submitted similar claims may, therefore, wish to stay abreast of developments in this litigation.

    Changes to Australian thin capitalisation and non-portfolio dividend exemption rules

    The Australian Parliament has passed a Bill which implements previously announced changes to the Australian thin capitalisation rules applicable to income years starting on or after 1 July 2014. The Bill also re-writes the exemption for foreign non-portfolio dividends received by Australian companies, with application from the date of Royal Assent (expected in the next few days). These changes affect financing and treasury positions for businesses operating internationally and also the structuring of foreign investments held by Australian companies.

    Our international tax alert has further details.

    Swiss Corporate Tax Reform III

    The consultation phase for the third Swiss Corporate Tax Reform package has formally begun. The draft legislation and the explanatory report released on 22 September confirm that the cantonal taxation regimes for holding, domiciliary and mixed companies will be abolished over the next four to six years and will be replaced by new regimes which are in line with international taxation standards. The Swiss Government has also made clear that the practice of international profit allocation of principal companies and the treatment of Swiss finance branches for tax purposes are no longer sustainable.

    The other measures proposed by the Swiss Federal Council include:

    • Introduction of a licence box system in order to support the use of intellectual property

    • Reduction of cantonal corporate income tax rates

    • Notional interest deduction on equity

    • Changes to the loss carry forward regime

    • A move from the current indirect participation exemption regime to a direct exemption model

    • A tax-neutral step-up of built-in gains as well as (self-generated) goodwill upon a change in tax status

    Our international tax alert provides further details.

    Russia requires mandatory notification of dual nationality or foreign residence permits

    With effect from 4 August 2014, Russian citizens are required to notify the Federal Migration Service (FMS) where they have dual nationality, a residency permit for another state or a permanent residence permit for another state. Many Russian outbound assignees in different countries have immigration documents sponsored by their employers which are valid for the duration of their assignment contract. It is not as yet clear if these cases, in particular, will be caught by the new provisions. Russian citizens residing permanently outside Russia are not obliged to notify the FMS, however for those currently present in Russia there is a deadline of 3 October 2014, and a 60 day time limit for those who visit Russia.

    Our international tax alert considers these changes in more detail.

    Other international tax alerts

    Additional articles covering international tax matters are available in our Global tax alert library.

    Other publications

    Global customs and international trade

    The September 2014 issue of our quarterly Tradewatch global customs and international trade publication is now available, outlining key legislative and administrative developments in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEIA.

    Please speak to your usual EY contact, or email us at eytaxnews@uk.ey.com, if you would like to receive a copy of our regular indirect tax newsletter, or information about our other publications.

    Further information

    If you would like to discuss any of the articles in this week's edition of Midweek Tax News, please contact the individuals listed below, Claire Hooper (+ 44 20 7951 2486), or your usual EY contact.

    Anti-abuse proposal for certain intellectual property held offshore

    Email Mat Mealey

    + 44 7717 888 825

    Further changes to pension rules

    Email Mike Gibson

    + 44 20 7951 0568

    European Commission State Aid investigations

    Email Klaus von Brocke

    + 49 89 14331 12287

    Issue of accelerated payment notices

    Email Geoff Lloyd

    + 44 20 7951 8736

    Relief for bonus clawback: Upper Tribunal decision

    Email Ian Thomas

    + 44 1582 643 331

    US Treasury and IRS announce regulations aimed at inversion transactions

    Email Cliff Tegel

    + 44 20 7951 1417

    Oil Contractors Ring Fence: Draft HMRC guidance

    Email Colin Pearson

    + 44 1224 653 128

    Revised HMRC guidance on VAT recovery by holding companies

    Email Fiona Campbell

    + 44 20 7806 9022

    OECD BEPS 2014 deliverables: Upcoming events

    Email Claire Hooper

    + 44 20 7951 2486

    Finance Act 2014 training modules

    Email Andrew Bailey

    + 44 20 7951 7076

    For other queries or comments please email eytaxnews@uk.ey.com.

    Back to the top

  • Operating in a shifting tax landscape

    The global tax landscape continues to change in a dramatic fashion, with near-constant news hitting the headlines regarding shifting tax policy, increasing levels of enforcement and the growing potential of reputational risk.

    Competing priorities

    Multinational companies now have to balance more competing priorities than ever before, ensuring they protect their business by monitoring and responding to changes in policy, legislation and tax enforcement, while at the same time ensuring they not only maintain the highest levels of compliance but also add value from the tax function.

    Governments work to secure each tax dollar they're due

    From a policy perspective, all governments want their country to be viewed as an attractive place to do business, to attract jobs and capital in an increasingly competitive globalized arena.

    At the same time, they want to increase the amount of revenue they bring in. Governments are treading a fine line, constantly assessing how to secure the tax revenues they see as rightly theirs, while at the same time being in direct competition with other nations, making sure they do not scare off mobile capital.

    Tax administrations for their part are adapting their enforcement strategies, focus and policies in response to the changing dynamics of business. They are working to ensure that their resources are being applied to the right issues and taxpayers. They share more leading practices and taxpayer information with their foreign counterparts, to help them collect every dollar due.

    Disputes are on the rise

    The result has been more  frequent, complex and higher value disputes between taxpayers and taxing authorities — a trend that is only increasing as countries collaborate together and as emerging markets gain in stature and influence, taking a more sophisticated approach to taxation. Penalties are becoming more stringent and the threat of reputational risk has risen significantly in recent months.

    We can help you to navigate a route through this complex landscape.

    We can help you monitor and react to quickly-changing tax policy and assess the economic and fiscal impact.

    Where tax policies might create an impediment to your business that is unintended by policy makers, we can help you to collaborate – either solely, or as part of a broader grouping of companies who share a common objective – with government to:

    • Explain the impediment
    • Develop alternative policy choices which are logical and well thought out
    • Model the potential outcomes
    • Deliver an alternative choice to the government in a form with which policy makers can comfortably work

    We also help you address your global tax controversy, enforcement and disclosure needs.

    We focus on pre-filing controversy management to help you properly and consistently file your returns and prepare the relevant back-up documentation.

    Where a controversy has already occurred, our professionals leverage the network's collective knowledge of how tax authorities operate, and increasingly work together, to help resolve difficult or sensitive tax disputes. To ensure that continuous performance improvements are instigated after a controversy, we work with EY's other tax professionals to ensure that similar events are less likely to occur.

    Below you can access our views and analysis of some of the substantial policy and enforcement trends and issues at play today.

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  • Seizing the opportunity in Global Compliance and Reporting

    Global Compliance and Reporting (GCR) is at a tipping point, with risks on the rise. Many companies distribute responsibility for GCR processes throughout their organization, creating a patchwork. Local jurisdictions are rewriting regulations, focusing more intently on the collection of tax revenues and sharing more taxpayer information across borders.

    Due to the combination of evolving business models, transforming finance functions and an increasingly complex regulatory landscape, there are new opportunities to better optimize efficiency, control and value, to help mitigate risk and improve performance.

    What is Global Compliance and Reporting?

    GCR comprises the key elements of a company's finance and tax processes that prepare statutory financial and tax filings as required in countries around the world. These duties include:

    • Statutory accounting and reporting
    • Tax accounting and provisions
    • Income tax compliance
    • Indirect tax compliance
    • Governance and control of the above processes

    GCR activities reside in the middle of a broader set of record-to-report (R2R) processes. R2R is the intersection between any company's finance and tax departments and is used to capture, process and store information that is essential to statutory accounting, tax compliance and reporting. Any change to R2R processes, information, finance systems, roles and responsibilities will have a direct impact on GCR processes.

    Helping you meet the new GCR demands

    Fast changing compliance and reporting requirements are more demanding on tax and finance functions today than ever before. So how do you improve control and quality, manage risk, create efficiency and drive value?

    Our market-leading approach combines standard and efficient processes, highly effective tools and an extensive network of local tax and accounting subject matter professionals.

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  • Building effective supply chains

    As multinational companies seek to reach new markets and compete more effectively in mature markets, they are adapting and differentiating their supply chains. Companies’ operating models need to cater for efficiency and scale in mature markets, while having the flexibility and local ability to support growth in emerging markets. Consequently, driving true shareholder value requires an operating model that combines global and regionally differentiated processes, and integrates these with local striking power and operational excellence.

    Leading companies recognize the need for integrating tax in their business planning and decision processes

    Whether companies seek to enter new markets or drive efficiencies in mature markets, leading companies understand the complexities of the international tax systems. The impact of both direct taxes and indirect taxes needs to be carefully considered and integrated to drive the effectiveness of the operating model while complying with all applicable local and international tax laws and effectively manage all tax risks. Operating model effectiveness is becoming one of the cornerstones of successful competition and differentiation.

    Our approach

    The EY TESCM offering helps ensure you do just that. Our advisory and tax professionals operate as one team to assist our clients with developing and implementing operating model optimization where business needs and requirements are the driver while making sure that tax is an integrated part of the design of the operating model architecture.

  • Managing mobile workforce risk

    In today's globally integrated, tightly regulated and increasingly competitive business environment, one critical success factor stands out: people. It’s no wonder that leading companies are focusing their efforts on:

    • Attracting and retaining the right people
    • Global talent deployment and mobility
    • HR and payroll effectiveness
    • Risk, governance and compliance

    Managing the risks of mobile employees

    While optimizing the competitive advantage of your people has long been a core objective, a more recent set of trends in the tax landscape means that large companies with an internationally mobile workforce are at a higher risk of tax noncompliance and resulting controversy than ever before.

    Fortunately, an increasing number of organizations are currently either planning or embracing a wider process of change for their mobility teams.

    Unintended tax compliance obligations

    These travelers are increasingly creating unintended tax compliance obligations, and the resulting risks are not just personal. They are felt at the corporate level, with the corporate tax function often unaware of the extent of the spreading problem. Tax administrations are becoming increasingly aware of the issue, however, and are very effectively using new technology to identify where a tax obligation has arisen. In a rising tax enforcement landscape, this issue has significant potential to grow.

    Managing these risks should be a burning platform issue for multinational companies.

    Will your tax risks prompt a tax audit?

    What may start as a relatively simple personal income tax compliance issue can quickly create a ripple effect, with risks such as the creation of a permanent establishment, an employment tax audit or the payment of a significant related penalty all occurring at the corporate level.

    Companies, recognizing the spectrum of reputational, personal and financial risks related to tax, are making strong efforts to be compliant. There is an increasing acceptance that such issues are becoming increasingly urgent from both a reputational and a financial perspective.

    How we are helping companies

    Our Human Capital network embeds processes and technology that will help companies to identify and manage short-term business traveler-related risks before they occur. Where controversy has already arisen, our global Tax Controversy network can use our insights into the culture and processes and relationships with each key tax administration to remediate issues. With prior year issues being rapidly unearthed, and with tax administrations focusing on this issue more than ever before, the time to act is now.

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