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Short-term Postings, Business Trips and Training: Even More Complicated Administration

Posting is not only a case of an employee working on a specific project abroad, but also when attending few-days long business meeting, conferences, training, negotiating business transactions, conducting sales or marketing activities, auditing clients, even exploring business opportunities. In the case of such short visits, the same administrative duties are necessary and failure to do so may result in severe penalties.

Judit Jancsa-Pék, Senior advisor, Partner, LeitnerLeitner.

Under the Community Regulation currently in force, a worker may be insured in one state only, generally in that state where he physically carries out his work. Several factors influence where, how and at what level the contributions are to be paid. One of these is whether the worker is employed or self-employed abroad, posted as an expatriate to work abroad, or works in more than one country at the same time in parallel, or potentially commutes daily or weekly between two countries. To determine the nature of working abroad, all the relevant criteria should be examined, which is just how the supervisory authority will assess the situation as a whole.

However, postings are subject to special rules, as the employee may remain insured in the county of sender if the conditions are fulfilled. Such simplification for posting applies when an employer established in the territory of one EU member state sends a worker to the territory of another member state in order to work there on his behalf. The expected duration of work should not exceed 24 months. If a worker is considered to be a posted worker on the basis of the above, he or she will not be subject to the obligation to pay contributions in the foreign country by virtue of a special certificate (A1).

As the current EU Regulation does not distinguish between short-term jobs or visits and long-term postings, similar rules apply. So such short visits are actually the equivalent of a posting of less than 24 months. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to obtain an A1 certificate before starting a business trip to avoid any legal consequences. If lacking the necessary documents, the employee will automatically be obliged to pay contributions in the host state; thus the failure to obtain the documents may result in severe tax, social security consequences and even fines, the extent of which will depend on the domestic law of the member state concerned. Moreover, in our experience, this includes cases where the employer sends the worker to different member states on a daily basis, which requires separate A1 forms per destination.

Nevertheless, in the meantime the European Commission has launched a review of the EU Coordination Regulation. The amendments aim to settle these practical problems in a reassuring and clear manner, so the concept of business travel would be included specifically in the EU rules. This would include temporary activities related to the employer’s business interests such as referred above. Although the European Parliament’s draft legislative resolution has already been finalized following the approval of the European Council, no final agreement has yet been reached between the three institutions so that the content of the report may yet be amended, but the good news is that simplification is imminent!

LeitnerLeitner has comprehensive knowledge of the legal and tax environment of countries in the region. With the help of our experts you can get high quality advice and practical help on taxation and administrative aspects of posting and expatriation of your colleagues.

And now we are offering readers a special opportunity. Be our guest at our free workshop on March 17 to learn more about administration, taxation and social security issues for postings and employing expats, with a focus on actual and new legislation. For more information and registration, email budapest.office@leitnerleitner.com.