Webinar Recap: Short-Term Business Visitors may be Temporary, but their Tax Impact can Linger

November 2017

Just 20 years ago, short-term business visitors (STBV) weren’t on the radar of many companies. Now, companies engaging in global expatriate services are well-aware of STBVs, and need to consider what measures should be taken to account for these individuals.

Who are STBVs? This term refers to individuals who make work trips to other countries. This could include a UK-based financial controller who travels to a client’s Miami-based subsidiary each quarter to oversee the financial statements of the U.S. business. Or a U.S.-based tech expert who travels to Ireland to oversee the development of a new software. According to the BDO/Santa Fe global mobility survey, the number of STBV assignments is anticipated to increase 30 percent in the next year. As STBVs become common in our interconnected world, the cost of not being able to detect STBVs in your business gets increasingly significant.

Some countries apply tax rules to STBVs in different ways, and have varying immigration requirements. In recent years, several countries including the U.K., Singapore and others have issued STBV-related updates in efforts to create clarity for employers. For STBVs visiting the U.S., in order to be set up on payroll, individuals must have a social security number—a clear hurdle for companies to navigate. In addition, STBVs must deal with state and local rules depending on the location of their temporary home. The myriad jurisdictions and regulations at play mean businesses need to ensure they have policies in place to track, record and ensure compliance for employees working overseas.

Over the next few years, it’s likely that cooperation between taxing authorities and immigration departments will only grow. Until then, it’s imperative to pay close attention to the tax impacts of STBVs, as the obligation is growing every year, and could lead to a significant tax burden for your business.

To learn more about navigating the tax considerations of short-term business visitors in a more nationalistic global environment, including key country updates, view the webinar podcast and handout materials here.

If you have specific questions, please contact presenters Andrew Kelly, andrew.kelly@bdo.co.uk and Peter Wuyts, peter.wuyts@bdo.be for assistance.