Podcast: Episode 1 - Working from anywhere

Host Jonty Bloom, is joined by Oliver Boughton CFO, Iris Worldwide, Karen McGrory, BDO Partner, Global Employer Services, Vinesh Bharadwa, BDO Tax Partner, Martyne Pearson, BDO VAT Director to discuss the implications of remote working.

Speakers:

Speaker: Oliver Boughton, CFO, Iris Worldwide

Speaker: Karen McGrory,  Tax Partner, BDO 
Karen is a partner in the Global Employer services team, specialising in expatriate tax issues.

Speaker: Vinesh Bharadwa, Tax Partner, BDO
Vinesh is a partner in the Corporate and M&A team.

Speaker: Martyne Pearson, VAT Director. BDO
Martyne specialises in advising clients in the travel and consumer business sectors.


Summary

How has COVID-19 forced businesses to be more flexible?

Oliver Boughton admitted that at the beginning of the pandemic when everyone was sent to work from home, he was not sure exactly how it was going to pan out or whether it would be as efficient as being in the office. His team have been surprised at how well working remotely has worked. The business has to be open and flexible in order to retain and attract talent. It’s been noticed that Iris’s staff want to continue working remotely and flexibly, meaning working in different places within the same countries as well as working in different countries. 

Is flexibility here to stay if you want to keep talent?

Karen McGrory agrees that in order to retain talent businesses have to be much more flexible. Prior to COVID-19 many organisations were actually thinking about how they could work more flexibly but COVID-19 has accelerated this change. There are lots of different dynamics going on and different requirements from staff which need to be considered.

Karen thinks that overall there is going to be that need for flexibility, whether we are quite at that stage where we’re all going to embrace working from absolutely anywhere in the world, Karen is not sure. This is because there are issues regarding not just tax or social security, but societal concerns too. There have been many challenges thrown up by the pandemic, and lots of step change in how people are thinking. 

The tax implications of working from anywhere

Vinesh Bharadwa comments that there is a tax minefield to consider when it comes to working from anywhere. From a corporate tax perspective, the activities in another territory could result in the business/employer effectively having a tax presence in another territory.

Karen picked up on the employment tax implications; whenever you have an employee that is working in one place and then moves to work in a different location, you have to start thinking about immigration. Do they have the right to stay there? Do they have the right to work there? 

Martyne Pearson notes some of the VAT/indirect taxation implications; do I need to be registered for VAT in the local country? Do I have different reporting requirements than I had previously? Overall, there is a lot to think about on the tax implications of working from anywhere. 


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