Working from (a holiday) home – tax challenges

09 February 2021

Gregory Price and Victoria Braid drafted an article for Bloomberg tax explaining why companies should be aware that the longer an employee works from abroad, in a situation that has become the “new normal” due to Covid-19, the higher the tax risks become.

With governments encouraging workers to stay away from the office to help limit the spread of Covid-19, many employers have found that remote working means employees logging on from further afield than the suburbs.

The imposition of various lockdowns and travel restrictions early in 2020 meant that some employees suddenly found themselves stuck in a jurisdiction where they did not usually work. Early in the pandemic, tax authorities made reassuring noises about the temporary nature of disrupted work patterns. A sympathetic outlook reasoned that companies ought not to become taxable overseas simply because employees were stuck in the wrong place.

This initial view was taken by tax authorities with a temporary disruption to normal working patterns in mind. Back in March 2020, many employers would have assumed that office working life would have resumed as normal by the autumn. That is not the position many countries find themselves in now, with many employers pushing a return to the office out to early 2021 and beyond.

More importantly, discussions surrounding working from home suggest that remote working will play an ongoing role in the lives of employees even when Covid-19 related disruption has ceased.

So we need to distinguish the pragmatic response taken earlier this year to tax risks in a time of crisis from the longer term trend of increased working away from the office.

Read the full article on Bloomberg Tax.

This article was first published on Bloomberg's Daily Tax Report.