IT hub Poland added to UK’s covid-unsafe list

Poland has been added to the countries Brits cannot travel to without self-isolating on their return to the UK, but there may be an extra uncertainty over tax status for those travelling to the IT-rich country.

In fact, unlike Spain which has clarified its residency test amid covid-19, Poland is yet to give a “clear indication” of whether days spent in quarantine count towards the 183-day rule for Brits, says Access Financial.

“While some countries sharing common borders, like the Netherlands and Belgium, have come to mutual arrangements guaranteeing the absence of extra taxes, this is not the case for [Poland and the UK],” says the firm’s Nik Papageorgiou.

'Financial burden'

The overseas contracting expert was referring to the fact that when working in one country but living in another, contractors commuting across the border daily from home to work (and vice-versa), are taxed in the country of work.

Before the pandemic, and even when ‘tele’ or home-working, the contractor would still be taxed in the work-country, provided that they do not exceed a set limit of days (which varies per country.)

“But in the Covid-19 era,” says Papageorgiou, “some governments have decided to abolish this limitation in days until the end of 2020, at least, in order not to add any financial burden to cross-border workers. Whether that happens between the UK and Poland remains to be seen.”

'IT talent source'

Turkey was also removed from the UK’s safe travel corridors list at the same time of Poland’s removal, Saturday October 3rd.

But unlike Poland -- and Denmark which was removed from the safe list late last month, Turkey tends to be only of “moderate importance to IT contractors” as an overseas work hub.

“Poland is a different story,” Access Financial added. “It is a country, from where IT talent is being sourced and sent to the rest of Europe, and to the UK more specifically.”

'Shouldn't change the big picture'

Asked to give guidance to contractors, the firm further advised: “New contractors flying in from Poland, need to know that [since Saturday] they have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in the UK, which also means that the clients expecting them would need to be aware of this fact.

“However, this should not change the big picture, as these 14 days can be spent on teleworking before they start the actual on-site work.

“On the other hand, new contractors arriving in their own car from Poland, would not need to respect the self-isolation period, unless they make a stop on the way and collect new passengers or mix with other people.”

The advice comes as transport minister Grant Shapps said the government had launched a taskforce to report in November on plans to shorten the travel quarantine period, currently remaining in place for countries not on the ‘exempt’ list and with a duration of 14 days.

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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