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One minute with... Vishal Chopra

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What’s keeping you busy at work?

Having recently joined KPMG, a lot of my time recently has been spent getting to know my new team and my new clients. I’m speaking to lots of businesses who are adapting to an increasingly permanent way of their teams working from home and the tax challenges this can create. From a tax perspective, there is always lots to talk about, from announcements made in the recent Scottish and UK Budgets, as well as the future of tax and what impact businesses will see from BEPS 2.0, digitising tax, and the tax reforms to be introduced under the Biden presidency.

If you could make one change to tax, what would it be?

In recent months the UK has changed its position on DAC6 with significantly reduced reporting requirements; however, the operation of the rules across the EU are creating a myriad of reporting regimes that UK businesses are struggling to grapple with. This leads to an administrative burden for organisations who in some cases can find themselves with significant financial penalties for unintentional non-compliance with rules that differ from country to country. There is an opportunity here to simplify the regime across the EU to make the rules more targeted and better understood, for example by harmonising the type of taxes covered by the regime, the thresholds that apply, and the reporting process.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

The importance of maintaining a commercial outlook: it can often be the differentiator between a good adviser and a great adviser.

Are there any rules that are causing a particular problem?

Many businesses are currently working through the complexities of operating in a post-Brexit world. At the time of writing, HMRC has reaffirmed its view that importers need to be the owner of the goods on import into the UK in order to recover any import VAT due. Where anyone other than the owner acts as importer, there is a risk that HMRC will deny the recovery. This impacts a range of sectors and the issue has been exacerbated by the fact that, due to the UK’s exit from the EU, the ownership criteria now extends to goods arriving from the EU as well as non-EU countries.

Has a recent tax case caught your eye?

HMRC v Development Securities plc [2020] EWCA Civ 1705 was recently heard in the Court of Appeal and considered whether wholly owned Jersey-incorporated subsidiary companies were resident in the UK for corporation tax purposes. The court overturned the previous Upper Tribunal decision, ruling that the subsidiaries were in fact centrally managed and controlled, and therefore UK resident, at material times. Whilst the decision may well be appealed, it is clear that residence remains an area of focus for HMRC and taxpayers should manage this carefully.

What should we look out for this year?

The OECD public consultation on the pillar one (profit reallocation) and pillar two (global anti base erosion) blueprints has attracted views from a wide range of stakeholders and highlights the level of complexity and administrative burden involved in the proposals. Thankfully, there is a commitment to continue to simplify for taxpayers and tax administrations, and the involvement of the new Biden administration will also play a key role in shaping this going forwards and it is encouraging that new US administration has reportedly moved away from previous ‘safe harbour’ demands. We are already spending a lot of time supporting businesses to understand how the proposals could affect them, as well as providing insights to aide discussions at board level. We are likely to see the OECD move towards a consensus position in the summer.

You might not know this about me...

I’m a huge American Football fan and before the pandemic I regularly travelled to London to see some of the games played there. A trip to the Superbowl is most definitely on the bucket list. 

Issue: 1526
Categories: One minute with