No. The legislation permits reduced tax payment applications in order that the withholding point can be moved to a particular point in a chain of payment or to enable an individual's tax to be based on their net profit at normal UK rates.
If the net profit is found to be nil there will be no tax withheld. There is also a de minimis provision which removes the requirement to withhold from payers.
Like most countries the UK is entitled to tax on any income arising there; and like many countries (including the United States), money due is collected from non-resident entertainers through a withholding tax. One of the popular misconceptions about withholding tax is that any tax levied is in addition to tax paid in the person's home country. This is not so. The UK has Double Taxation Agreements with over 100 countries to prevent double taxation. When an entertainer or sports person pays UK tax on income he will be given a certificate confirming the level of tax paid. This certificate can be used to support any claim to foreign tax credit in the home country. In general, assuming the entertainer or sports person has sufficient tax liability in his country of residence, it will be possible to claim credit for the whole of the UK tax deducted.
The present rate of UK withholding tax is 20 per cent of all gross income (including cash per diems and indirect expenses paid by the payer) arising from work in the UK. Normal UK rates (at present 2010-11), a basic rate of 20 per cent, a higher rate of 40 per cent and an additional rate of 50 per cent on taxable earnings above £150,000) can only be levied on net income after the year end (5 April) or by special arrangements made with the Foreign Entertainers Unit (FEU) in the year of an entertainer's or sports person's performance. As these rates are applied to income after percentage commissions and other expenses, the effective rate on the gross can never be even close to 40 per cent and would be approximately 20.5 per cent for 2010-11 where, say, the gross was £100,000 and commissions/deductions were 30 per cent and no Personal Allowances were due. Also note that the UK tax year runs from April 6 to April 5 and consequently, if an activity straddles two tax years, say starting in March and completing in April, the tax is apportioned to the two tax years.
Not necessarily. There are two basic possibilities:
a) If an entertainer or sports person accepts a flat rate withholding tax deduction of 20 per cent from his UK income he will have to review the situation at the end of the tax year. The UK tax year is not a calendar year. It is 12 months starting with 6 April in one year and ending with 5 April the following year. The withholding tax deducted may be about the same as the final UK liability calculated at the rates already mentioned. However, it is more likely that the withholding tax deducted will either be too much or not enough. If it is too much, the entertainer or sports person can claim repayment of the excess after the end of the UK tax year by submitting a claim to the FEU. However, if the tax withheld is not enough, the entertainer or sports person has a statutory obligation to notify HMRC that additional tax is due. The notification must be received by HMRC no later than 5 October after the end of the UK tax year in which the liability arose. The requirement to notify chargeability is an annual obligation. Failure to comply with this obligation can result in a penalty being charged.
b) As indicated, there is no need to wait until the end of the UK tax year to review the position. The taxpayer or his accountant or lawyer or the payer on his behalf can make an application to the FEU shortly before the UK activity takes place. This should take the form of a projection of UK income and expenditure showing the anticipated net income subject to UK tax. Once this projection has been reviewed and any problem areas resolved, the production company will be informed by the FEU of the level of withholding tax to deduct. Assuming all UK income and expenditure has been correctly taken into account in that application, the tax deducted will be equivalent to the overall liability for the year and there will be no need for a final filing requirement. (See Reduced Tax Payment Applications)
In theory yes but there are some situations - when nil profit is agreed with the Unit when tax will not be due.