Comparing Apples and Kiwis – An unexpectedly fruitful endeavour when discussing the pandemic´s effects on transnational taxpayers
13 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 21, 2021
The pandemic and subsequent state actions have greatly impeded cross-border working and the situation for non-resident workers through various lock-down measures, closures of workplaces, and most significantly the closure of borders have worsened the situation considerably. As a result, many individuals who have commuted across borders have been forced to stay at home in their residence state, or in a worst-case scenario: in the foreign source state awaiting the possibility to return to their home, while attempting to maintain their work from distance. Not only has this caused inconvenience for the workers themselves, but it has also instigated a series of relatively unexpected consequences for taxation and social security. Discussions on, for instance, the possibility for some workers to constitute a permanent establishment (PE), in which state the work is currently being performed and whether the individual fulfils the domestic tax provisions of tax domicile arose as the pandemic prolonged. Domestic tax administrations as well as international organisations such as the OECD found themselves interpreting existing provisions and issuing guidance with the intention of establishing some legal certainty and predictability in this precarious situation.
This paper does not aim to describe, nor analyse, cross-border working comprehensively, but instead to illustrate how the situation for two specific categories of cross-border workers have been impacted by the pandemic: 1. Swedes who work in Denmark and commute daily between the two countries, and 2. New Zealanders who have moved to Australia.
Keywords: Tax, Cross-border work, Non-resident workers, Covid-19, Lock-down, Legal certainty
JEL Classification: K34, I18, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation