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While the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK has been preserved post-Brexit, businesses still need to be compliant when it comes to work and travel permission requirements for employees, says Doone O'Doherty. Now that the UK has officially left the EU, many employers have started to see travel and work restrictions apply to certain employees who, before Brexit, could have travelled and worked freely within the EU. Employers need to ensure compliance for their employees and indeed for their own organisations. Ireland is in a somewhat unique position insofar as the free movement of UK and Irish nationals between both countries has been retained under the Common Travel Area agreement. There may be an assumption that Brexit really has no immediate impact on the people agenda for Irish employers and, for many organisations, this is the case. For others, however, particularly those with UK or EU national employees, Brexit throws up a completely new conundrum, with concerns over immigration and global mobility becoming something that employers may need to navigate, often for the first time.  Work permission required   The bottom line is that, since 1 January, freedom of movement of UK and EU nationals between the UK and the rest of the EU has ended. If you have either UK national employees who need to travel to another EU member state, or EU national employees who need to travel to the UK, these individuals are now subject to potential work permission requirements. There may also be restrictions and time limits on the activities they can carry out as business travellers. Where once a UK national could simply move to another EU member state at short notice, and vice versa, attention and planning now need to be given to such travel arrangements. Not only does consideration need to be given to any new movement of people, EU nationals already resident in the UK will have needed to secure their right to live in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. Similarly, UK nationals resident in the EU will need to secure their status and regularise their position under the specific rules for that country. Thorough review needed  Businesses need to undertake a thorough review of their workforce and identify any frequent business travellers or those who are likely to be affected by immigration restrictions. This includes building potential immigration requirements and robust pre-travel processes into their Global Mobility Policies. Communicating with employees is also important to make them aware of any new pre-travel requirements or steps to secure settlement that they may need to undertake. Consider the potential cost impact of obtaining necessary immigration clearance. There are two aspects to consider: social security and the application of Irish PAYE rules to short-term business travellers. Social security  The Social Welfare Order 2020 came into effect on 1 January 2021. Its purpose is to ensure that the social security rights and entitlements of Irish and UK citizens under the Common Travel Area arrangements are maintained post-Brexit and that social security need only be paid in one jurisdiction. One key aspect is that it applies to Irish or UK citizens only, who may work in either one or both territories. Thankfully, supplementary provisions were included in a new protocol to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement on Social Security Coordination to ensure that EU or UK citizens who move between Member States will continue to be liable to pay social security contributions in one State at a time. Special provision is made for ‘commuters’, which provides that such individuals may be retained within their home country social security system. This is particularly welcome in the case of EU citizens living in the UK who commute or are posted to Ireland to work and who would not have been able to avail of the Social Security provisions above. Employers need to understand where their people work, their citizenship status and how to make the appropriate applications under the revised rules to the relevant social security authority. Irish PAYE and short-term business travellers  There is no change to the underlying tax rules in Ireland because of Brexit. However, there is likely to be increased short-term business travel between Ireland and the UK, largely due to our geographic proximity and the fact Ireland is the only English-speaking member of the EU.   One myth that often exists is the belief that, provided an individual spends less than 183 days in Ireland, there are no tax implications for their UK employer. This is far from the truth – Ireland has a comprehensive set of rules applicable to short-term business travellers/visitors (STBV) that can easily give rise to an obligation to operate Irish PAYE based on an individuals’ Irish workdays. Equally, it is possible to avail of some concessions in respect of STBVs whereby Irish PAYE does not need to be applied, but only if the appropriate due diligence is undertaken.  UK employers need to understand the travel patterns of their staff, the nature of the duties they are undertaking and the intended duration of those activities. Advice should be sought regarding the potential Irish PAYE (payroll withholding obligations) and whether there is a way to mitigate that obligation. Furthermore, the employer should implement a robust system of tracking an employee’s Irish workdays in order to mitigate any potential breaches. Doone O'Doherty is a Partner in People & Organisation at PwC.

Feb 26, 2021
Student Profile

What do you think about Brexit? How do you think the pandemic will affect your career? What do you think is the future of the profession? In every issue of The Bottom Line, we will ask students their thoughts on a particular topic. I anticipate the effects of the pandemic will change the way we work. Hailing from outside of Dublin, I’d like to think it is more feasible to live outside the capital and pursue a ‘hybrid’ work style with a mix of office and remote work. I don’t expect the demand for Chartered Accountants will dissipate and, as such, I can see a healthy increase in competition for roles both locally and further afield. I’m confident there are positives to be taken from the pandemic, and many of us who have successfully migrated to remote work are a testament to that. Kevin Lord, Audit Associate at EY The crisis has transformed the way in which we work and how we work.  Pre-COVID-19, the accountancy profession was in a transitional phase as it embraced new technologies. The pandemic has accelerated these changes. Interpreting  data and analysing data differently will allow accountants to foster a more proactive relationship with clients.  Almost a year on, it looks like hybrid work is likely to persist. I believe hybrid work models, if sufficiently managed, offer the best of both worlds. I enjoy the social and collaborative aspects of office interaction, and the better work-life balance that hybrid work brings. For me, it’s simple things like getting to football training on a Thursday night or walking the dog before work.  However, it may not all be positive. Remote work does create new challenges for both the employee and the organisation. In the long-term, some organisations may look at relocating operations or hiring remote talent to avail of cheaper labour.   Sean Brew, Audit & Advisory trainee at Baker Tilly Due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, many of us are wondering what job opportunities will await us in the future. The pandemic has impacted how the sector works forever. For those of us who have worked through this change, and gained most of our accountancy experience working from home, we are part of a group who have had to innovate how we complete our work, and discipline ourselves to meet deadlines from home. I remain optimistic about my future career, accountancy firms have continued to hire during this uncertainty, and we are gaining new skills by working through these challenging times. Sinead Henry, Trainee Accountant at Northern Ireland Audit Office  

Mar 01, 2021
Tax RoI

Fiona is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland and an AITI Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA). Fiona’s career started in the audit department of Crowe and she later transferred into their tax department. She then worked with KPMG before joining RBK in 2004. Fiona advises corporate and personal clients and specialises in corporate taxation and restructuring. She has a particular interest in international tax providing Irish tax advice for many international businesses and holds an Advanced Diploma in International Taxation. Fiona is a regular speaker at RBK client events and provides budgetary analysis at RBK’s annual Budget Briefing. We are delighted to feature Fiona in the first edition of My Tax Journey in 2021.  How has your work and home life changed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic? From a work perspective, I predominantly work remotely since March of last year. Moving from an environment where you had constant interaction with your colleagues to the virtual meeting world has been a big change and there is a real challenge in maintaining the connection with your colleagues, both professionally and socially.  We quickly moved to paperless files which is a positive move and one which will continue once we return to the office.  Clients have adapted well to our new way of working making the transition seamless in most cases.  Before coronavirus, I would not have been tech savvy but there has been a huge learning curve over the past year. On the home front I have taken on a new part-time role home-schooling my three children all of whom are in primary school.  This has been challenging but the support provided by the school and teachers has been amazing. On a positive, working from home has allowed me to spend more time with my children that I, as a full-time working mum, would not have otherwise had.  I’ve also lost my commute!  Time is precious in that regard.  What is the biggest tax and/or accounting challenge you are currently facing? Brexit has been a huge challenge for businesses over the past 6 months – from the uncertainty in the earlier days as to whether a deal would be achieved to the practical issues that businesses are encountering on a daily basis such as accounting issues which consume significant time and resources for businesses. COVID-19 has brought challenges for businesses. We have many clients in the retail and tourism sector who have seen their business reduce significantly. They face huge challenges managing cash flows and staff. COVID-19 has brought opportunities for other clients in expanding their business and we have been involved in structuring their new ventures from an accounting and taxation perspective. How has Brexit impacted the business community in your experience? Brexit has been challenging but it has also given companies an opportunity to re-assess their business model and explore new markets and products which they may not have done in the absence of Brexit. Many have been very innovative in their approach to Brexit and have tackled the challenges with careful planning and engaged with us as their professional advisers. What has changed for the better in the profession since you started working as a professional? Consistent with a lot of professions the game changer must be technology.  Whilst there have been many innovations in tax related technology over the years from Taxfind to ROS, the pace and pervasiveness of recent changes in technology is what really stands out for me and I think technology will continue to change the way we work as a profession. Being able to connect and work collaboratively with colleagues or clients in different offices in different countries at the touch of a button, extends the reach of the tax professional and makes the world of international tax a lot smaller. What is the most rewarding aspect of your role? The tax world is constantly changing and evolving on a domestic level and on an international level which can be challenging but is exciting and dynamic. There is a great sense of achievement and satisfaction in advising clients on structuring their business in a tax efficient manner and achieving their objectives. There is never a dull moment when working in tax (or home schooling!) What tax policy issue would you most wish the Government to tackle in 2021? Post Brexit and Covid, our economy will need to be stimulated. The government needs to provide further supports for our SME sector and in particular, our entrepreneurs. There is an opportunity to further enhance supports such as KEEP, EII and CGT Entrepreneur Relief. Remote working will become the new norm and supports should be put in place for businesses to allow them to upskill their employees and upgrade their technology.

Mar 01, 2021