BUFDG Tax Conference 2023

13th June 2023 - 15th June 2023
Online - Hopin



Tuesday 13th June


The welcome session from Andrea and Julia will take you through hints and tips for the online platform to help you get the most out of your attendance, followed with a brief overview of the last 12 months in the BUFDG tax team.


How can you do a good job in the face of constantly changing priorities and insufficient resources? Research by economists, psychologists, and neuroscientists has shown that certain techniques can boost mental resilience and productivity. In this practical and sometimes counterintuitive session, you will discover how to stop unproductive worry and use productive worry to get things done. You will also learn science-backed methods such as reappraisal, affect labelling, and defusion for staying motivated and performing at your best.



Take 15 to grab a quick drink.



Breakout 1 A - Customs Update
David Miller - the Customs People
- Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
This update session will cover:
a. CDS considerations now its bedded in for imports
b. Forthcoming CDS considerations for exports
c. Current thinking on Outward Processing
d. Customs matters arising from 2023 budget (albeit it’ll be 3 months old by then)
e. CPC updates including current thinking on VAT exemption catchall CPC

Breakout 1 B - Year-end Reporting
Julia Ascott BUFDG and Caroline Jones- BDO
 - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
“It’s the most wonderful time of the [tax] year!”
• Focus on end of tax year employer reporting – including P11Ds, payrolling of benefits in kind, PAYE Settlement Agreements and Taxed Award Schemes
• Common pitfalls in the process and how to ensure robust controls are in place
• Considerations before payroll BIKs
• Implications for lower paid employees with some awards, i.e. interaction with universal tax credits

Breakout 1 C - VAT Update
Gerry Myton - HW Fisher
- Knowledge level required: Intermediate/Advanced
Gerry Myton, Partner and Head of Indirect Tax at HW Fisher will give a VAT update on areas such as:
• New penalty regime
• Changes to Northern Ireland protocol
• Changes to options to tax
• Business/Non-Business Update
• Refresher on collaborations and barter agreements
• Partial Exemption Special Method
• Any relevant case updates

Breakout 1 D - Remote Work Challenge
Jason Norris - Deloitte
GLOBAL MOBILITY - Knowledge level required: Intermediate 
Navigating the International Remote Work Challenge
A look at employee driven remote work, and the impact of HE organisations allowing non-UK working for lecturers and staff – perhaps as part of a holiday during non-term time, or as part of a wider working pattern. The session focus on how to consider guardrails and limitations which facilitate international remote work so that a consistent policy approach can be taken.



Dr Rob Yeung will explain how neuroscience is showing the benefits of mindfulness for stress reduction as well as improved performance, before taking you through a couple of mindfulness techniques. 

The session (lasting 20 minutes) has been pre-recorded and will be repeated each lunchtime throughout the Conference.



Breakout 2A - Back to Basics: Imports
David Miller - the Customs People
CUSTOMS - Knowledge level required: Basic
David Miller will provide an update on the range of issues that impact on the UK HE sector when importing or exporting goods

Breakout 2B - CEST
Rebecca Seeley Harris - Re: Legal Consulting
EMPLOYMENT TAX - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
Covering the basics of the Check Employment Status of Tax (CEST) tool and exploring the questions that cause particular concern.

Breakout 2C - Whose supply is it anyway?
Andrew Pick and Maximilian Kompart - KPMG
VAT - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
Complex supply chains involving multiple parties
“Collaborations, joint ventures, profit sharing agreements”; these are some of the terms that are becoming more common for universities, driven by objectives and disruption in the sector, including:
• Growth (domestic and international),
• The emergence of ‘specialist’ third parties offering ‘simple’ solutions to enter new markets
• Online and distance learning changing the way degree education is being delivered
• Innovative funding solutions for new developments
• Eligible body status for parties ‘connected’ with universities
We will discuss some of the more (and less) common scenarios we have seen in the sector, common pitfalls and misconceptions, and the best way to evaluate a scenario to determine the correct VAT position.
This will include an overview of the agency VAT principles and a discussion of the issues and recent developments following SAE education.

Breakout 2D - Mobility Brand Matters
Qing Miao and Daniel Perkins - Vialto
GLOBAL MOBILITY - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
International working in the HE sector is no different from the private sector - it involves important topics like talent, reward, DE&I, remote & hybrid working, etc. At the heart of the experience, communication is the key. How do you create a culture of engagement and empowerment across mobility? What's the right experience for your brand? We will talk about brand, well-being, experience and communication for international working and how universities can create their own mobility brand to best achieve their strategy and attract and retain talent.



Time to refresh in readiness for today's final session.



Breakout 3A - Distance Learning
Claire Hamlin and Katrina Gogarty - Grant Thornton
INTERNATIONAL TAX - Knowledge level required: Basic
Distance learning and indirect tax – risk areas and practical considerations
We will cover off what a University should consider when delivering distance learning from a VAT/GST perspective. We will highlight recent changes and high risk countries and suggest strategies for Universities to keep on top of their obligations.

Breakout 3B - Payroll - not just a monthly process
Paul Moreels and Natalie Shingler - KPMG
EMPLOYMENT TAX - Knowledge level required: Beginner/Intermediate
Payroll – More than just a monthly process! Most payrolls are stretched and struggle with delivering business as usual i.e. making sure everybody gets paid on time! How is NMW and holiday pay compliance being managed?
Significant reliance is placed on payroll departments to ensure that NMW and holiday pay checks are carried out. However due to the way in which pay elements are set up in payroll and how different worker types are determined, the basic checks that are carried out in payroll are not sufficient to ensure compliance and there is a risk that breaches in NMW and underpaid holiday pay are building up without being known. With significant monetary penalties for breach of NMW and the reputational risks associated with both NMW and holiday pay it is important to ensure that the right level of checks are being carried out. How do you do this?

Breakout 3C - Tax Engines
Emily-Rose Jones - KPMG and Wendy McFarlane - University of St Andrews
VAT - Knowledge level required: All
Tax Engines - Making good decisions simple
What is a tax engine? Why do I want one? Do I even want one?
Many HEIs are working with ERP systems that are creaking at the seams with the need to update to a more useable, user-friendly system. As a result of the introduction of MTD, there is a greater understanding of the need for good quality tax data straight from the system. As such, it has become easier to get tax onto the agenda as a requirement for any new ERP, but what does that mean for in-house tax teams and their advisers?
Topics to be covered:
• What is a tax engine?
• What things do I need to pre-plan?
• What to look for in ERP implementation?
• Plan for the perfect and work out where you are willing to compromise!

Breakout 3D - Hybrid working - UK and overseas
Lee Knight and Chris Gore - RSM
GLOBAL MOBILITY & EMPLOYMENT TAX - Knowledge level required:
Hybrid working/UK and overseas – tax and social security areas to consider


Wednesday 14th June


We welcome back the Higher Education team from HMRC who will feedback on various subjects, including their team, the current Employer Duties reviews as well as their focus for the next 12 months.



A short break to top up your coffee ready for the next session



Breakout 4A - Back to basics - global working
Davyd Fisher and Eleanor Austin - Grant Thornton
GLOBAL MOBILITY - Knowledge level required: Basic
The session will cover common scenarios we see individuals working internationally (e.g. holding multiple engagements with Universities internationally, working at partner Universities abroad, delivering courses overseas, remote workers), the basic UK employment tax and social security principles, complications that arise due to international tax / social security position (e.g. the requirement to register as an employer overseas, multi-state workers), and practical examples.

Breakout 4B - Distance Learning
Jennifer Lee and Guy Nicholls - PwC
INTERNATIONAL TAX/VAT - Knowledge level required: Intermediate
Distance Learning ITX
The management of VAT/GST registrations for students resident overseas.

Breakout 4C - VAT Registrations
Laurie Pay and Kate Connolly - Deloitte
VAT - Knowledge level required: Basic
VAT registrations: process, tips, opportunities and challenges
A back to basics session which will cover a range of topics affecting single and group VAT registrations. For example: factors to help you decide which type of registration you need; making registrations efficient; dealing with the impact of any HMRC delays and other considerations such as timing, partial exemption, claims and liabilities, or options to tax.



Dr Rob Yeung will explain how neuroscience is showing the benefits of mindfulness for stress reduction as well as improved performance, before taking you through a couple of mindfulness techniques.

The session (lasting 20 minutes) has been pre-recorded and will be repeated each lunchtime throughout the Conference.



Breakout 5A - HMRC Reviews
Caroline Jones and Paul Mooney - BDO
EMPLOYMENT TAX - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
HMRC reviews – what should we expect and how to prepare
The session will cover HMRC’s approach to PAYE Compliance reviews and what you can do to prepare including:
• HMRC’s current areas of interest
• We’ve had a letter or call notifying us of a review, what should we do?
• General Compliance review or focussed on one topic?
• What are you likely to be asked as part of initial enquiries?
• Who should be involved?
• Evidence required
• Conclusion

Breakout 5B - The One Stop Shop Experience
Liz Maher - Centurion VAT and Andrew Thompson - BCC Accountants
INTERNATIONAL TAX - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
Understanding the One Stop Shop option to account for VAT on EU trading with practical insight on its operation as well as a look ahead on its EU evolution.

Breakout 5C - Liaising with HMRC
Laurie Pay and Kate Connolly - Deloitte
VAT - Knowledge level required: Intermediate
Liaising and negotiating with HMRC: complex matters and disputes
Last year Kate and Laurie did a popular session covering tips for corresponding with HMRC on a range of topics. This session now builds on that and will cover more complex correspondence or interactions which involve disputes such as: how to present your position in the clearest way, types of disputes and options to pursue, factors to consider when working out your next steps, negotiating with one or more departments of HMRC, legal options and when is it the end of the road?

Breakout 5D - CERN
Marie Green and Laura Mee - Vialto and Lewis Turner - Imperial
GLOBAL MOBILITY - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
Having employees working in CERN - what do you need to know to ensure you are compliant
This session will provide an overview of the different possible categories employees at CERN may fall into from a tax and social security perspective, and will outline what this means in terms of tax, social security, payroll and employer considerations. We will provide an opportunity to share via facilitated discussion what different universities are doing to ensure they are getting it right for their employees. We will be joined by representatives from Imperial College who will share their experiences.



Time to refresh in readiness for today's final session.



Breakout 6A - Salary sacrifice and pensions
Susan Ball and Charlie Barnes - RSM
EMPLOYMENT TAX - Knowledge level required: Basic
RSM will take you through the tax and legal considerations of operating salary sacrifice with a particular focus on pensions.

Breakout 6B - Special procedures
Andrew Marsden and Helen Walker - Grant Thornton
CUSTOMS - Knowledge level required: Intermediate
A deeper dive into using HMRC’s special procedures for Customs Duty
Following last year’s session we will do a deeper dive into how universities can use HMRC’s special procedures for Customs Duty to suspend import VAT and Customs Duties. We will consider some of the more practical aspects and the recent changes arising from litigation.

Breakout 6C - Cultural reliefs
Douglas Tailby and Roshan Das - Grant Thornton
CORPORATE TAX - Knowledge level required: Basic
Back to basics – Understanding whether your University might by entitled to Tax Credits (Cultural reliefs)
Theatre, Orchestra, and Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax reliefs have been available to Universities for several years, however in recent years, due to an increase in the rates of relief available they have become more attractive. Following the recent budget, which confirmed the temporary higher rates would be available for another two years from April 2023, now might be a good time to see whether your University could take advantage of these tax reliefs. Our specialists, who currently support several Universities with their tax relief claims will talk you through the key principles behind these reliefs, including eligibility criteria and the challenges Universities face in obtaining the data behind them.

Breakout 6D - Disguised overseas workers
Robin Bailey, Patrick Crookes and Andrew Engaldo - Mazars
GLOBAL MOBILITY & EMPLOYMENT TAX - Knowledge level required: Intermediate/Advanced
Disguised employees working overseas - the contractor tax trap
Introduction to the issue and why this is a challenge
• Back to basics on IR35 rules and self-employed vs employed etc – when do they apply
• Offshore intermediaries’ rules
• IR35 and self-employed vs employed type rules overseas – why we cannot apply UK rules
• Deep dive into rules in a selection of countries (countries TBC)
• Comparison to UK rules
Take aways
• Cannot apply UK rules, albeit they need to be considered if the contractor still has UK duties
• Need for a separate employed vs employed test for each country – to be devised and applied
• Check existing agreements and seek advice



The entertainment is for those of you that chose this option at the time of booking your conference place.  You will have received a separate joining link for the entertainment.  If you have any queries or have not received your link, please contact


Thursday 15th June


Breakout 7A - Outbound commuters
Robin Bailey, Harpal Devgun and Melissa Platt - Mazars
GLOBAL MOBILITY - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
UK outbound commuters "gone but not forgotten" - residual UK tax and NIC issues
What the session will cover:
• NIC and UK tax issues for UK outbound commuters on overseas shadow payrolls with residual UK duties
• Tracking UK days
• Social security – 25% test in the EU issues (and other employments) + application of
SSA’s with no clear multistate worker provisions and ROW countries
• PAYE – practicalities of operating section 690 codes
• NT codes – risk of this approach?
• Pension requirements x 2 countries
• Risk of doing nothing & HMRC expectations on policy and tracking
• DTR issues – no equivalent of NOFTCR
• Loan issues – tracking, agreements and P11D reporting + overseas equivalents
• Tax Return support to be provided – cost vs EE welfare
• Practical tips to manage this
• Technology tools vs diaries
• Limitation of UK duties?
• Loan agreements
• Take aways
• Track
• Establish the rules/position
• Lay down parameters
• Policy and process
• Loan agreements

Breakout 7B - Transfer Pricing
Kirsty Rockall and Asma Afzal - Grant Thornton
CORPORATION TAX/VAT - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
Transfer Pricing – Approaching Complex Transactions
Further to the recent time to talk sessions regarding the transfer pricing obligations for Universities with over £750m of turnover and the questionnaire which we developed for BUFDG members. The session would cover how larger Universities, who have complex supply chains and a higher volume of international activity should apply transfer pricing policies to their new transactions / new contracts.

Breakout 7C - Closely related supplies
Kerry Sykes - Big For Tax
VAT - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
A look at what can be treated as an exempt closely related supply and what recent (and some older) developments in case law might mean.

Breakout 7D - Altyrx
Gregory Hill and Charlotte Middleton - KPMG
VAT - Knowledge level required: All
Automation of complex university VAT processes using Alteryx and best practice use of analytics to review and validate VAT transactional data
The session will cover how to automate university-specific VAT issues (including the VAT return itself) using technology (Alteryx). We will use a live university example for this to demonstrate the art of the possible and how practically you can introduce more efficiencies and risk controls. Our session will also cover a best practice overview of how universities can use data analytics to validate their VAT data. We have developed a suite of 100+ analytics tests which can be used on an ongoing basis to review transactional data before tax returns are submitted. We hope that the session will provide an overview of how technology can be used and best practice approach to leveraging it during the compliance process.



A short break to top up your coffee ready for the next session.



Breakout 8A - Volunteers
Paul Moreels and Anne-Marie Boden - KPMG
EMPLOYMENT TAX - Knowledge level required: Intermediate
When is a volunteer not a volunteer? Do you pay volunteers, do they receive vouchers. How do you treat payments and reimbursements?
Within Universities there are very many forms of volunteers, each receiveing a different type of payment. This session will explore the different types of volunteer, the payments made to them and how they are treated for tax purposes. With different societies giving updated advice with regard to their researcher programmes and fellowships what does this mean for Universities continued compliance? How can you reduce administration in this area and what have others found successful.

Breakout 8B - Permanent Establishments
Millie Crosse and Suzanne Taylor - KPMG
INTERNATIONAL TAX - Knowledge level required: Intermediate
PE or no PE? That is the question
A walk through the guidance paper on permanent establishment available on the Members only section of the BUFDG website.
• Guidance on the principles underpinning what constitutes a Permanent Establishment (PE).
• Red flags that point to a higher risk area where professional advice may be needed
• What information is needed to be collated to get further advice - a practical next step
• Countries where we typically see greater attention from the tax authorities or which have particularly complex tax regimes to navigate, based on our experience advising our clients in the HE sector.

Breakout 8C - Business non-Business update
Kerry Sykes - Big for Tax and Andrea Marshall - BUFDG
VAT - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
Update on business/non-business
Following a number of cases, HMRC have updated their guidance on non-business activity and have also started to talk to BUFDG about how non-business is treated in the sector. This session covers the treatment of grants in BNB calculations and provides an update on HMRC’s latest thinking.

Breakout 8D - Remote workers - social security
Laura Hutton and Daida Hadzic - KPMG
GLOBAL MOBILITY - Knowledge level required: All
"Remote Workers" and "Work from Anywhere" are still a hot topic - Social Security and the EU Posted Worker Directive in a post pandemic world
Universities continue to assess their international strategy and global workforce, and analyse potential risks and design processes and procedures to ensure compliance with new regulations. These regulations include Social Security and the EU Posted Worker Directive.

This session will give an overview of the general principles for Social Security for remote workers, upcoming changes to the 'no-impact' policy introduced to help address issues arising from the pandemic and the impact on displaced individuals contributions, and potential new rules to be introduced recognising the increase in flexibility of working arrangements for employees working remotely in a country which is different to the country where they hold their employment contract.

The session will help you understand the general Posted Worker Directive rules on the posting of workers, essential to ensure the rules are correctly and consistently applied, and to help you be better able to properly plan the activity of your workforce. We will cover - What is a posted worker?, - What are the rights of a posted worker?, - What are the registration requirements?



Dr Rob Yeung will explain how neuroscience is showing the benefits of mindfulness for stress reduction as well as improved performance, before taking you through a couple of mindfulness techniques.

The session (lasting 20 minutes) has been pre-recorded and will be repeated each lunchtime throughout the Conference.



Breakout 9A - USS
Marie Green and Nasima Sadique - Vialto
GLOBAL MOBILITY - Knowledge level required: Basic/Intermediate
The elephant in the room - pensions and your international employees: What do you need to consider?
Are employees who are working overseas eligible for USS or TPS? What are the tax and social security considerations both in the UK and overseas ? Are there requirements as the employer to register overseas for other local pensions? We cover this and more in our session which looks at everything you need to consider from a pension perspective as a university with employees working outside of the UK.

Breakout 9B - India
Sarah Anthony, Peter Chapman and Bhuwan Rudra - KPMG
INTERNATIONAL TAX - Knowledge level required: Intermediate
India - what should I be worried about now?
Collaboration: Key tax issues to be considered while collaborating with Indian educational institutions/ corporates. There’s been a growth in this activity post Covid.
Online taxation: Discussion on the recent amendment in Budget 2023 & its impact and interplay with Equalisation Levy. This topic has assumed importance again in light of the recent OIDAR amendment in Budget 2023.
Compliance: A brief overview of necessary tax compliances required to be carried & the need to be compliant owing to the significant penal/ prosecution cost. Based on our recent experience, we have observed that the Indian tax authorities are adopting various mechanisms with tracing the income flowing out of India and demanding an explanation on the reasons for non-compliances in terms of non-withholding of taxes, non-filing of tax return etc.

Breakout 9C - Energy savings
Liz Maher and Louise Gray - Centurion VAT
VAT - Knowledge level required: Basic
Energy saving VAT rules
An introduction to the current VAT reliefs that apply to Energy Saving Materials with insight into areas of challenge from HMRC and the recently closed VAT Consultation.

Breakout 9D - Joint Ventures
Iain Sanderson and Jennifer Lee - PwC
VAT/CORPORATE TAX - Knowledge level required: Intermediate
Structures and Pitfalls arising from the taxing of joint ventures



Time to refresh in readiness for today's final session.



Each of the sessions you attend will leave you with three (or maybe more) key takeaways. This final session will summarise the key takeaways for each tax category so you can prioritise your ‘to do’ list over the coming months.

The conference will end, as ever, with the popular Taxi awards ceremony where we can all rejoice in the absurd and ridiculous before celebrating those individuals who have supported the sector.


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