Specialist Service

International tax

Doing business outside an enterprise’s home country is no longer confined to giant multinationals.

Today, businesses of almost every size often need to broaden their customer base and supply chain to thrive in an increasingly internationally competitive environment. Technology has transformed cross border communications. Now everyone has ready access to international markets and suppliers.

Local presence

Some businesses will just wish to sell to customers located abroad. Others will offer composite services – perhaps providing additional facilities such as training, sales support or maintenance. For tax purposes, it’s important to be clear about the scope and remit of any overseas presence and whether this constitutes a representative office, place of business, permanent establishment, branch or such like. These factors are important in determining liability to local corporate, payroll and sales taxes (VAT in the UK).

Local reporting and disclosure

The local reporting and filing obligations need to be taken into account in determining the most appropriate form for the local presence. For example, a company which establishes an overseas branch may find that it is obliged to have its accounts translated for filing on the public record in that overseas country.

International structuring

We assist clients – both businesses and individuals – in structuring their global operations to maximise tax efficiency bearing in mind the interaction of UK and overseas taxes. Such structures may include suitable locations for a holding company, ownership of UK investment property by foreign residents, finance companies and ownership of intellectual property.


Our team advises on everything in the UK from the basics of compliance, including the requirement to register, through to complex VAT planning.

The international tax team can also provide assistance with queries relating to excise, inland customs, import and export procedures and formalities.

Expatriate tax

Employers and those seconded often struggle to sort out how income should be taxed in each country, and to deal with the paperwork for tax, social security and pensions. We can minimise disruption to the business and highlighting opportunities to save ongoing costs.


For those overseas businesses looking to operate in the UK, we set up and run payrolls to ensure that HM Revenue & Customs authorise the correct deductions.

Company formation and company secretarial

We can assist with setting up UK companies or overseas companies, trusts and foundations as part of our tax advisory service. Our membership of AGN gives us global reach and covers most of the commercial centres around the world.

Can we help?

Our team of international tax specialists can help you decide what form of local presence is right for your business, and ensure you are aware of and help you comply with your local filing obligations.

Careful tax planning can often lower the overall tax burden and also manage and reduce the risk of additional liabilities. We can help you ensure your international structure runs smoothly – for example by assisting with VAT returns, co-ordinating your overseas payroll or supporting your overseas employees so that they can get on with their job rather than floundering in local tax and social security regulations.

We are also a member of AGN International, a global association of separate and independent accounting and advisory businesses. This gives us gives us direct access to practical business advice globally, within a structure of trusted relationships that is designed to deliver high standards at an affordable cost; an antidote to the complexity and cost of some global providers.

If you are looking to expand your business by trading overseas, please contact one of our experts shown on this page for an initial chat about how we can help.

Specific advice should be obtained before taking action, or refraining from taking action, on any of the subjects covered above. 

“Shipleys has helped the business by providing an understanding of the pluses and minuses of the structural options available and assisting with implementing the decisions.”

Tom Greene
Managing Director, Identity Direct Ltd

How Can We Help?

Want easier ways to manage your accounts? Got a tricky question about tax? Looking to grow your business? Get in touch and our team of experts will help.
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