BUFDG Tax Conference 2024

11th June 2024 - 13th June 2024
Online - MS Teams


BUFDG Tax Conference 2024

DAY ONE - Tuesday, 11 June

9.00am to 10.30am – The Welcome Plenary – BUFDG, Margaret Daher and Sunil Tanna (KPMG) and Darren Xiberras, Chief Financial Officer (Cardiff University)

The BUFDG tax team, Andrea and Julia, welcome the members to this years’ tax conference, highlighting some of the fantastic sessions coming up, plus an update on what BUFDG have been up to. They will also present a guide on using the website for researching or ‘how to find what you need’, demonstrating search functionality and accessing content in the easiest way.

The main part of the session will be spent in discussing financial pressures in the sector, alongside the importance of tax when implementing new systems (e.g. ERS). We’ll be joined by Darren Xiberras, Chief Financial Officer of the University of Cardiff to discuss the pressures the university currently face, leading to discussions on why ‘tax’ may not be as high up the senior agenda as we would like it (and what can/can’t to do about it). KPMG will join us to discuss Ahead in the Cloud any why tax should be a significant consideration during any ERP implementations.

10.45am to 12.00pm – Breakout One – You have a choice between:

·        Employment Tax and Global Mobility roundup – Eleanor Austin and Davyd Fisher (Grant Thornton)

In our first session concentrating on people taxes, Grant Thornton will be providing an update or round-up of the latest employment tax and global mobility changes and issues universities need to be aware of.

·        UK VAT Update – Laurie Paye and Kate Connolly (Deloitte) Please note this session will not be recorded due to Deloitte internal policy

In our first session concentrating on VAT, Deloitte will be providing an update and round-up of the latest UK VAT changes and issues universities need to be aware of.

1.00pm to 2.15pm – Breakout Two – take your choice between:

·        Payrolling of Benefits: ‘Now and Next’ – Susan Ball and David Field (RSM)

Join Susan, Partner and David, Director at RSM as they explain how payrolling of benefits works, what you can and should be doing now, and what to expect in the future as HMRC roll out ‘mandatory payrolling of benefits’ from April 2026.

·        VAT and Property update – Martin Scammell

We welcome back Martin Scammell to the BUFDG tax conference for an update on all things VAT and property.

·        Transfer Pricing update – Louise Gannon and Kirsty Rockall (Grant Thornton)

Join Louise and Kirsty as they strive to help you understand when you need to think about Transfer Pricing and why it matters.

2.30pm to 3.45pm – Breakout Three – your choice between:

·        Feedback and thoughts from HMRC Employer Duties reviews – with Caroline Jones (BDO) and Julia Ascott (BUFDG)

Over the past 18 months, HMRC have undertook at number of Employer Duties reviews within the HE sector. Caroline Jones from BDO has advised a number of universities during these reviews and Julia Ascott from BUFDG has supported members, and spoken with HMRC. They will share their feedback and thoughts to help other members prepare.

·        Imports and Exports – Anthony Drozdowski and Danny Robinson (KPMG), and Simon Twells (University of Warwick)

Anthony and Danny will look at the mysteries of import VAT, plus provide an update on what is happening in the wider world of Customs. Simon Twells from the University of Warwick will join this session to provide his views on the current state of play.

·        Global Mobility UK easements and appendices – Jas Hundal and Alexander Grishin (Vialto)

The session will cover various different options offered by HMRC to operate payroll on a non standard basis to allow universities to manage academia and other university staff from a UK perspective more simply or easily while ensuring full compliance. It will include technical background on each option available, for example s690, foreign tax credit relief at source, Appendix 4 and Appendix 8, as well as practical aspects and case study specific for the HE sector.

Day Two – Wednesday, 12 June

9.00am to 10.30am – Breakout Four – choose between:

·        Employment Status, IR35 and the Off-Payroll Working rules – Caroline Jones (BDO) and Rebecca Seeley Harris (Re:Legal Consulting)

Caroline and Rebecca are well known experts in their fields, as well as experts in the Higher Education sector. We welcome them back to continue their mission to support and inform us all on the tricky subject of employment status. In this session, they will start with the basics, e.g. why do we need to look at someone’s employment status, what’s the difference between sole traders and personal service companies, what are the different indicators of employment or self-employment, what information should I get to help me make a decision, where can I get more help.

·        Advisor online learning update – Maximilian Kompart and Adnan Patel (KPMG)

This session will explore the planned place of supply changes for digitally performed services across the EU and highlight the implications for UK universities, covering:

o   The changes to the place of supply rules

o   Whether UK universities can access the education exemption across EU Member States

o   VAT registration requirements where the exemption cannot be accessed

o   The implications for input tax recovery in the UK and overseas

o   Practical guidance on monitoring exposure

·        Global Mobility Overseas Working policies – Marie Green (Vialto) and Anne Sinclair (Kings College London)

The session will cover what to consider when looking to draft and implement global mobility policies within your university. How to ensure they are fit for purpose and achieve best success with them. Providing practical hints and tips of dos and don'ts and what based on experience does and doesn't work.

10.45am to 12.00pm – The Laughology Plenary – People Communication & Influence (replaces HMRC cancelled session)

Join BUFDG as they host Laura Drury from Laughology who will deliver a session on emotions, tone, pitch and communication to give you a greater awareness of behaviours that can be used in business, relationships and life.

Connecting with people is a vital skill for effective leadership. People who master it gain the keys to success and power. But just how do the best communicators become highly-skilled influencers with the ability to win hearts and minds?

This fascinating keynote reveals the secrets of human communication and gives tips and techniques you can use to help you become a master communicator. You will discover how verbal and non-verbal communication can be used to influence others and learn about the small changes you can make to help you connect better with others.

1.00pm to 2.15pm – Breakout Five – take your choice between:

·        Volunteers and research participants – Caroline Jones and Paul Mooney (BDO) and Harriet Latham (University of Glasgow)

The tax position of volunteers and research participants continues to cause frustrations amongst academics/researchers who can’t understand why you may be restricting access and professional support staff who have to try to figure out whether a genuine volunteer arrangement is in place or is it something a little more complex which could make them workers and/or taxable as employees. In this session, BDO will try to cut through the noise and help build a practical process to follow when you are looking into this thorny subject, with the assistance of Harriet Latham from the University of Glasgow, who has recently reviewed this area and will share her experiences.

·        Business/Non Business Partial Exemption Framework – Kerry Sykes (Big for Tax) and Andrea Marshall (BUFDG)

There is little guidance on how universities should treat non-business transactions. This is a risk for both universities and HMRC alike. HMRC have now agreed that we can create an appendix to The Partial Exemption Framework for Higher Education dealing which specifically covers non-business activity. This session covers what we are proposing to include in that appendix and how it will affect universities.

·        Corporation Tax Update – Peter Chapman and Courtney Hargreaves (KPMG)

KPMG will join us to discuss some of the wider Corporate Tax issues currently facing the sector (and further afield), plus giving us an update on the recent consultation on charitable donations.

2.30pm to 3.45pm – Breakout Six – your choice between:

·        Visiting academics and researchers, will anyone agree – Paul Moreels and Anne-Marie Boden (KPMG)

When an academic/researchers visits your university and has a set view on what they should receive and how they should be taxed on it can be difficult if you disagree. Especially as this may be supported by the funding body paperwork. Like any other employment status case, although the legislation is clear that certain payments are taxable and certain are not, how these individuals should be considered is less clear and can lead to further confusion. Paul and Anne-Marie from KPMG hear all sorts of stories about visiting academics and researchers and will share a simplified breakdown of what you need to consider and how to approach these cases.

·        Back to Basics: VAT – Jennifer Lee (PwC)

In this session the PwC team will provide their "take" of the following issues:

          Grant income vs consideration

          Is it closely related to education?

          Medical equipment & zero rating

          Imports & exports

          Capital expenditure and key considerations

·        What tax engines can do for you – Jun Miyake (Ryan)

Jun Miyake, Principal, Tax Technology Consulting, at Ryan, will cover what tax engines are, when a tax engine might be suitable for your organization and the practical steps involved in implementing a tax engine.  He will also cover the types of resources needed during and after the project as well as the key considerations to ensure a successful deployment.

4.00pm to 5.00m – THE Quiz of the Year – Andrea Marshall (BUFDG)

Join Andrea (The Quizmaster) and Julia (Official Score Tallier) at Andrea’s annual quiz – a family friendly (and very informal) quiz to see who will be crowned the coveted BUFDG Tax Quizzer of the Year.

Day Three – Thursday, 13 June

9.00am to 10.30am – Breakout Seven – choose between:

·        Stipends, bursaries and scholarship income (again) – Paul Moreels and Anne-Marie Boden (KPMG) and Mel Green (Lancaster University)

Whilst little has changed around the legislation and guidance from HMRC on scholarship income (or stipends or bursaries, or whatever you may refer to them in your University!), how they are used by universities continues to evolve. Consequently the position is not getting any easier, with confusing and complex individual arrangements, different requirements and expectations as well as funding issues meaning that the tax treatment may not be as straight forward as you would expect.

Paul Moreels and Anne-Marie from KPMG have spoken with many universities, as well as HMRC and UKRI, and will share their insight as well as the views of the other stakeholders on how these payments should operate. He will also discuss some of the individual challenges that need to be considered as well as highlighting areas of best practices and where to start. They will also invite you to discuss any current issues you are facing.   Mel Green will also be on hand to share her practical experience of the issue and how it has been approached within Lancaster University to help bring the challenges to life.

·        Research and VAT/CT – Kerry Sykes (Big for Tax) and Harriet Latham (University of Glasgow)

This session covers the VAT and corporation tax rules for research income, including those areas which are straight forward and those which are trickier than a loose eel in your T-shirt. We will talk about how HMRC apply rules which might be unexpected, how to work out when there is a supply and the ever present concern of VAT on collaborations.

·        What to think about if you’re new to the sector – Carol Varns (University of Sheffield), Michelle Lewis (University of Worcester) and Jeff Kirkham (University of Bristol)

If this is your first tax conference, you’re new to the higher education sector, or being welcomed back after a break, or would just like a bit of a refresher, this is the session for you. A member-only workshop where Carol, Michelle and Jeff will talk you through what needs to be on your to do list, top tips on what has helped or hindered them in the past on VAT, Employment Taxes and Corporate Tax, and how to look through the trees to find the wood.

10.45am to 12.00pm – Breakout Eight – what will you choose:

·        Expenses and benefits: can they be sustainable – Caroline Rai (PwC)

Join Caroline as she talks through the various expenses and benefits common throughout the higher education sector, and discusses whether we can have expense policies and procedures that promote and align with university’s sustainability policies, with one university who is doing just that. Caroline is joined by Sion Pickering, the University of Edinburgh’s Sustainable Business & Fair Trade Programme Manager who will outline the journey they have been on.

·        Imports – David Miller (The Customs People) and Stephanie Fricker (University of Bristol)

David and Steph join us at the tax conference to share some of the import issues they've come across in the post-Brexit world.

·        How well do you work with others? -  Karel Thomas, Julia Ascott, Joni Rhodes, Rachel Ward, Ashley Shelbrooke (all BUFDG) and Emma Brookes (UHR)

Another member-only session looking how we can effectively work with other teams in a more collaborative way, without risking a breakdown of communication or increasing risks to the university. Essentially, helping you answer the question, “How do I get the other department to understand what I’m saying”. BUFDG and UHR are collaborative workers and we’ll put our various university ‘hats’ on to discuss what works and what doesn’t, plus where the respective pressure points are. We are joined by:

-   Karel Thomas, wearing her FDs/CFOs hat

-   Joni Rhodes, wearing her research hat

-   Rachel Ward, wearing her DFD hat

-   Ashley Shelbrooke, wearing his procurement hat

-   Emma Brookes, wearing her HR hat, and

-   Julia Ascott, wearing her cone tax hat

Join this session to share your stories of effective and non-effective methods of working with teams that don’t speak the language of tax. How can we understand others to ensure the tax aspects can feed into larger projects without being the nay sayers or blockers we are often portrayed as.

1.00pm to 2.15pm – Breakout Nine – take your choice between:

·        How do you triage Global Mobility – Susan Brown and Claire Jopson (KPMG)

You’ve discovered an employee in Nigeria, another team have just engaged 3 contractors working full time on your behalf in Singapore, then there are the whole team of researchers in California and a letter from the Belgian authorities saying you owe them social security as an employee has tried to access their health system. Where do you start? Susan Brown and Clare Jopson are here to give you their top tips on how to effectively triage your global mobility issues, what should probably take precedence and what your next steps are.

·        Online learning update – Jennifer Lee (PwC) and Chris Bridgeman (Kings College London)

Jennifer and Chris give us an update on their experience of triaging online learning, sharing their experiences on how to decide which countries to review and which need to go through a VAT/GST registration process.

·        Tax automation and system upgrades – Chris Rowe and Amit Dev (BDO) and Neil Turner (University of Manchester)

Join Chris, Amit and Neil as they share the ‘optimum’ systems upgrade project stages, common pitfalls and how to potentially avoid them, and discuss sticking with ‘standard’ system configuration Vs bespoking. Neil will share some key learnings from recent (aborted) systems upgrade and Chris and Amit will explain how automation can be leveraged, effectively, to complete the ‘last mile’ of a tax process, including a short demo on automation, from Knime.

2.30pm to 3.15pm – The Closing Plenary and Awards Ceremony

It’s the wrap up from Andrea and Julia, plus what you’ve all been waiting for – who will scoop the awards? Click here if you haven’t already submitted your nominations.

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