The UK has announced that it will introduce a new tax from April 2019 which will apply to payments of royalties and certain other payments, such as franchise fees, between members of international groups, where there is a link between the payments and the UK. The tax is to be imposed by way of a deemed withholding on the payer, even if the payer is based outside the UK.
This measure is part of the UK’s wider response to the challenges it sees with the taxation of the digital economy. However this new tax is not restricted to just the digital economy – and will apply to those businesses with high value intellectual property or intangible assets (for example, brands) held offshore.
The UK Government has indicated in their Position Paper on “corporate tax and the digital economy” that they are considering further measures to ensure that digital companies are taxed appropriately. Businesses should consider whether their existing arrangements are still appropriate in the light of possible future changes.