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Tax Conference 2016

The 2016 Tax Conference took place on 21st and 22nd June at the East Midlands Conference Centre at the University of Nottingham. The presentations and documents can be downloaded below. 



Day 1 - Tuesday 21st June 2016

Plenary Sessions

Welcome & Introduction: Should We Stay or Should We Go?
Neil Scott (Aston University and Chair of the Tax Committee) and Amanda Darley (BUFDG)
Welcome and introduction – a preview of the conference.

The Art of Being Brilliant: Boom Bang-a-Bang
Darrell Woodman (The Art of Brilliance)
We live in a manic society where most people’s lives are on permanent fast-forward. The modern workplace is typified by a never ending regime of restructures and budget cuts. Uncertainty prevails. Customer expectations are rising. Legislation is tightening. You are probably going to be audited or inspected one day soon. Outside of work there are family pressures. And society. And the traffic. Oh, and don’t forget the weather! ‘The Art of Being Brilliant’ provides an antidote to the crazy world that typifies modern Britain. This session uses cutting edge research to explore how you can be you, brilliantly. The aim is to share some of the ‘secrets’ of Positive Psychology, focusing on learning new habits of thinking and behaviour that will sustain personal ‘brilliance’. It is about the ‘whole you’ and, as such, is applicable in and out of work. The ‘Brilliance’ team call it ‘the science of the bleedin’ obvious’…yet if it’s so obvious, why are so few people doing it?

RDEC and the Missing Tax: It’s the Final Countdown…
Ian Short and Graham Steele (KPMG)
As the window for making and reviewing RDEC claims starts to close, we examine common themes emerging from the claims, timescales for amendments, enhancing claims and what you can do with the tax that HMRC with-held on the claims.

New BUFDG and Charity Tax Group websites: Imagination rules the world
Amanda Darley (BUFDG) & John Hemming (The Wellcome Trust & Chairman of the Charity Tax Group)
Amanda and John will provide a quick rundown of the new functionality of both the BUFDG website (to be launched in the autumn) and the CTG website (launched in April) enabling you to access the information you need about specific tax issues affecting your university quickly and easily.

Engaging with Business: Save all your kisses for me
Harriet Latham & Damian Shirley (EY)
The government has always been keen for HEIs to engage with business, but with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and the need to maximise resources generally, this is more important than ever. Engaging with business poses a different set of challenges, risks and opportunities from business as usual. In this session, we will look at examples of how HEIs can manage those risks and seize opportunities.

VAT & Property Update: ‘Ooh-Aah…. Just a little bit’ of an update
Martin Scammell
While you enjoy a glass of wine, Martin will delight and entertain while covering developments in VAT on property and construction from the last 12 months, concentrating on matters and aspects relevant to the HE sector.


Breakout 1

An update of live issues in the world of VAT: And now we go live to Nottingham for the UK votes…
Sarah Anthony, Kerry Sykes & Gwen Wade (KPMG)
This session provides an update on current VAT issues in the sector. Will your partial exemption method be affected by FRS102? How should you respond to HMRC’s ‘clarification’ on Fuel and Power? Where are we with overseas agents? Do you have an eligible body?

Corporate Tax – a refresher/the basics: How to make corporation tax less taxing
Helen Knight (Deloitte)
This session will go back to basics – revisiting the corporate tax regime for universities including some of the common issues around analysing non-primary purpose and primary purpose activity and how this feeds into the tax computation. Helen will also cover some recent updates particularly impacting universities’ relationships with their subsidiaries , including clarification of the Gift Aid rules and expected changes on interest and loss relief.

Global mobility considerations & practicalities: All Kinds of Everything
Elaine Barber, Deborah Damment (University of Sheffield) & Helen Moore (University of Nottingham)
This session will be a discussion based presentation regarding the difficulties experienced by universities with global mobility compliance and how the Universities of Nottingham and Sheffield are addressing the problem. Delegates are invited to contribute to the discussion with a view to providing ideas and support to other universities on this issue.

India - an awareness session: HE goes to Bollywood
Julie Ann Charge (University of Salford), Edward Dixon & Kapil Dua (Sannam S4)
India continues to be an important source of high quality students for UK universities. More universities want to create sustainable partnerships with Indian institutions and are faced with tax implications when it comes to commercial relationships. But how well is the risk/reward equation being managed? How well is your risk footprint being managed? This session will briefly touch on the opportunity in India but focuses largely on equipping you with some useful pointers in order to maximise returns while managing risk as well as providing the University of Salford’s perspective on getting to grips with India.


Breakout 2

Medical/Veterinary reliefs, a refresher, update & discussion: Is there a doctor a la maison?
Amanda Darley (BUFDG) & John Hemming (The Wellcome Trust and Chairman of the Charity Tax Group)
John and Amanda will provide a reminder of the rules for these reliefs as well as discussing the outcome of communication with HMRC over the medical/veterinary VAT reliefs and discussing particular issues/items raised by the audience.

Tax considerations when setting up a subsidiary: Subsidiarity in practice
Deborah Damment (University of Sheffield) & Jo Lilly (University of Nottingham)
This session will cover the VAT and Corporation Tax implications of your institution setting up a new company. Jo and Deborah will go through the information you need to gather, pitfalls to look out for and options to consider, as well as time limits and practical guidance on registering for the taxes.

Global Mobility Framework update and roundtable discussion: A country far, far away
Lizzy Conder (University of London) & Ian Ross (North West Universities Purchasing Consortium)
Ian and Lizzy will explain the content and structure of the new Global Mobility Support Services Framework, which covers Legal Services; Taxation and Accountancy Services; International Payroll Services; Domiciliation Services; Relocation Services. The project schedule and duration of the framework, tender process and Tender Working Party membership will also be covered, as well as supplier market engagement.

An Update on Tax Risk Registers: Nul Points
Mick Verney & Gavin West (Smith Cooper)
Following on from last year’s Tax Risk Register session, a catch up and update on the approach being adopted by the sector and how it fits with the new HMRC approach to governance and controls following the demise of P11D dispensations. The session will include a brief re-cap of the purpose and advantages of having a risk register in place.


Breakout 3

VAT (or not) on Supplies of Staff: To supply or not to supply, VAT is the question
Carolyn Norfolk (PwC)
In the drive to do more with less, sharing staff either informally or formally is becoming more common across the sector and determining whether or not VAT is due on the salary of staff can be complex. There are a number of concessions available which, in the correct circumstances, can remove these arrangements from a charge to VAT, but determining whether these apply can be challenging. Carolyn will cover the concessions available, the conditions required to be met and practical guidance on Joint Employment Contracts, examining recent case law developments. The session will cover VAT and Employment Taxes.

Distance learning reconsidered: Playing with a straight (EU compliant) banana in the overseas market
Andy Jamieson & Ian Short (KPMG)
Distance learning is becoming an ever more popular method of delivering learning. At the same time, tax authorities are looking to collect tax from the digital services consumed in their country. In this session, Andy and Ian will consider when distance learning becomes a digital service, what factors might make it taxable and where.

Dealing with Grants, Stipends, Fellowships and Scholarships from the EU and Beyond: Pop goes the weasel
Anthony Bennett (Cobia)
Employee, Consultant, Researcher, Office Holder or Student? Whatever the terminology, have you considered the tax treatment of these individuals? Are there exemptions, and when do they apply? Learn what you should be looking for, where the major complications are, and what rules you should be applying in this area.

Union Customs Code and universities: Been around the world and I, I, I, I can’t find my entry
David Miller (The Customs People)
The Union Customs Code is now in force – how does it affect your university? What, if anything, do you need to review in order to remain compliant and to take advantage of the remaining reliefs?


Breakout 4

Property basics & VAT - a logical approach: An iron curtain has descended across the continent
Charlotte Middleton, John Rippon & Kerry Sykes (KPMG)
This session will cover the various VAT reliefs and opportunities available on the construction of buildings and other property transactions. Charlotte, John and Kerry will consider whether it is possible to take a systematic approach in the complex world of property transactions?

Corporation Tax & VAT in Research Lifecycles: Tour de France
Harriet Latham, Jennie Lowe & Kevin Sweeney (EY)
Research is a long game – and you don’t ever really know where you will end up when you head out. Harriet, Jennie and Kevin will look at the possible routes that research can take and consider the tax risks and opportunities that arise, as well as how you can manage them in an efficient way.

Guidance on Short Term Business Visitors: Bienvenue, wilkommen, benvenuto, välkommen
Anthony Bennett (Cobia)
Anthony will present useful guidance for universities, following discussions with HMRC, for receiving visitors to the UK in relation to PAYE, NIC, STBV Agreements and the Host Employer rules.

Playing the System: It’s all in the game
Chris Bridgeman (Queen Mary, University of London), James Sherbourne (University of Oxford) & Carol Varns (University of Sheffield)
Are you using your accounting system to your best advantage when it comes to coding VAT? Have you really thought about what it could do to assist users in your university to get the tax (and maybe even the Intrastat) right? Chris, James and Carol will provide some simple suggestions on how you could use your accounting system or other feeder systems to do some of the hard work. They will also initiate a discussion to share ideas and stimulate some free thinking around the issue.



Day 2 - Wednesday 22nd June 2016

Plenary Sessions

HMRC Update: Meet your Sector Relationship Manager
Ann Wilson Clark (HMRC)
HMRC’s University Sector Relationship Manager will update us on the team’s plans for the sector as well as looking at behaviour vs. motive with regard to penalties. There will also be an opportunity for questions from the audience.

Case Law Update: One VAT Directive, 28 countries – 28,000 interpretations
Chris Orchard (PwC)
This session will review recent VAT case law which has potential relevance to the sector.


Breakout 5

Group structures and the VAT grouping rules: An ever closer union
Kate Connolly (Deloitte) & Philip Hayes (University of Oxford)
This interactive session will explore the trend of universities entering into joint ventures, collaborations and partnerships and how VAT grouping can impact these structures, inviting attendees to share experiences and thoughts. Using real life examples and case studies Kate and Philip will discuss the common issues and potential pitfalls, whilst also highlighting scenarios where VAT grouping has made a real difference. Finally, they will pose the question of the potential impact of the VAT grouping consultation and whether Cost Sharing Groups could also be used to ease the VAT burden on these types of structures.

Bluffers guide to BEPS: Missed out on Euro 16? But did you qualify for BEPS?
Sandra Cox & John Monds (KPMG)
There is a lot of talk about BEPS. But what is it and who does it affect? For some larger universities, BEPS will have an immediate impact and they will need to act. For others the impact will be less obvious. Sandra and John will explain exactly what BEPS is, who it affects directly and what form this takes and how it might affect everyone indirectly.

Demystifying the new Apprenticeship Levy: What we are asking is for a very large amount of our own money back
James Hemphill & Sarah Pemberton (EY)
James and Sarah will take you through the key considerations when getting ready for the new Apprenticeship Levy to be enacted in April 2017. The session will also focus on the key mechanical points to successfully operate the payments under the Levy and will set out current best practice with respect to applying for and receiving payments from the Government. James and Sarah will also share with you their specific experience in what ‘good’ currently looks like and what announcements we may expect to hear from the Government before the implementation date of April 2017.

Tax issues when setting up or investing in China: How to avoid Kung Fu Panda-monium
David Field & Sally McKinlay (Grant Thornton)
China's tax system is continually evolving and this session will discuss the tax considerations ranging from establishing relationships and contacts in China, to attracting Chinese students to the UK, to setting up an entity in China and managing its ongoing compliance.


Breakout 6

VAT issues around the provision of conference facilities: Last Tango in Paris
Tony Jackson, Robert King (Smith & Williamson) & Jonathan Pearce (University of Warwick)
Tony and Jonathan will help you through some of the most confusing VAT aspects of running a conference business in a university group, and then Robert will join them for VAT and corporation tax questions from the audience.

Personal Service Companies, IR35, and employment status: Exercising the veto – when to say no to contractors
Paul Walker (BDO)
In this session, we firstly consider the history and evolution of IR35, taking an opportunity to consider employment status which has, historically, caused problems for engagers and requires careful consideration. To conclude, we turn our attention to the uncertainty surrounding HM Treasury's announcement in the Budget that public sector employers will, from April 2017, be required to consider and take appropriate action concerning off-payroll engagements.

What next for the tax and NIC treatment of Termination Payments?: Don’t call us, we’ll call EU
James Hemphill & Sarah Pemberton (EY)
James and Sarah will go through the existing rules on the tax and NIC treatment of all the items that can make up a termination payment and contrast these with the proposed changes to the tax and NIC treatment outlined in Budget 2016. James and Sarah will also highlight the potential opportunities for maximising the level of termination payment received by each employee.

What is a Tax Strategy?: Give them an inch and they’ll take a kilometre
Rhys Cartledge, Ben Powell & Jack Stoakes (Deloitte)
The Starbucks/Google/Amazon debate has led to a new era of tax transparency and focus on organisational tax strategies. New rules in 2017 will require many organisations to publish their tax strategy online. Is your university affected? And if not, shouldn’t it have a robust tax strategy anyway? And just precisely what IS a tax strategy and why do you need one? This session will explore all these questions and clear a path through the fancy words and rhetoric to help you understand how you can define and set your university’s path to a brighter tax future!


Breakout 7

The EU VAT Action Plan: The Muscles from Brussels
Jeff Hall & Richard Wallace (PwC)
Jeff and Richard will outline what the EU is proposing in its Action Plan for VAT, why this is being proposed, and will look at the potential impact this could have on UK universities.

Trading in the current climate: The Merchants of Venice (Double Session)
Aidan Sutton & Antony Timmins (PwC)
Universities have always been the classic example of the trading charity. However, now, more than ever, the sector needs to commercialise to survive and that can extend to commercialising the university’s own functions. In this context it’s important to know the tax rules around what is trading, what is primary purpose trading, and how and when to use a subsidiary, whether there is an element of mutual trade, how do we set up joint ventures and how it all fits in with VAT. Aidan and Antony will also cover some of the accounting issues around reserves and treatment of tax charges.

Update on changes to PAYE/NIC & payroll: Money, money, money
Caroline Jones (PwC)
There are many changes in payroll, employee and pension responsibilities facing universities over the next 12-18 months. Caroline will take you through the changes that payroll managers and others in the sector will need to know about to ensure that their institution meets its compliance obligations. There will also be a handy timeline document so that you can see at a glance when these changes take effect.

Basics of international tax forms and treaties etc: Paris, Rome, Maastricht…
Alison Ambrose & Jason Norris (Deloitte)
A session covering double tax treaties and how to start to interpret them, and the payments that are subject to with-holding tax (WHT) including the nuances seen around technical service fees. Alison and Jason will bring this to life with some practical examples and case studies and also cover the ways in which WHT may be mitigated and international tax forms such as Form W-8BENs, Indian PANs and Form 10Fs.


Breakout 8

VAT – Working with other public sector bodies: French Kissin’ in the NHS
Alastair McClelland (University of Edinburgh) & Laurie Pay (Deloitte)
Collaboration with other parties is becoming a more frequent occurrence. This session will include real life examples and look at the different VAT rules covering the various bodies within the education sector and more widely in the public sector (local authorities, NHS bodies and other charitable organisations). The session will provide practical tips to be aware of when working with these parties to help minimise any VAT issues.

The undeniable benefits of payrolling benefits: All aboard the gravy train – next stop Strasbourg!
Stephen Baker (Grant Thornton)
From April 2016 universities can begin payrolling the tax due on certain benefits provided to staff. This presentation looks critically at the new payrolling regime, examines what benefits can be payrolled and whether there is a future for the humble form P11D.

Keeping your tax house in order: The leaning tower of tax
David Boyd, Scott Craig & Shaun Young (Scott Moncrieff)
With the tax system becoming ever more complex, simply complying with all your tax obligations can be a challenge, it’s all too easy to make mistakes or misunderstand how the tax rules work and this can be costly. Focusing on VAT, Employment Taxes and Direct Tax, Scott, Shaun and David will explain the most common problem areas, and highlight easy targets for HMRC when they carry out compliance reviews. The session will consider these issues not just in the context of a typical university, but how they might impact on spin-out subsidiary companies. The session will provide practical information and advice on evidence retention and the process of an HMRC review and will highlight areas that could reduce exposure to challenge and even provide savings.

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