Outsourcing—general tax issues
Outsourcing—general tax issues

The following Tax guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Outsourcing—general tax issues
  • What is outsourcing?
  • Do any specific tax rules apply to outsourcing arrangements?
  • Outsourcing structures
  • Choice of structure—tax considerations
  • Setting up outsourcing arrangements
  • Operating outsourcing arrangements

What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing is an arrangement whereby one company provides services to another company that could be, or usually have been, provided in-house. Outsourcing arrangements are often implemented with the aim of reducing operating costs for the recipient company, but there are other reasons for outsourcing which will be specific to the business in question. By way of example, it is common for banks and insurance companies to outsource back-office functions which can be provided by companies specialising in these services and thus benefit from economies of scale.

For more detailed information on outsourcing from a commercial (non-tax) perspective, see: Outsourcing agreements—overview.

Do any specific tax rules apply to outsourcing arrangements?

There are no specific laws, including tax laws, applicable to outsourcing arrangements and no technical legal meaning of the term. Consequently, each outsourcing arrangement will be specific to its own particular facts and will raise a different mix of legal, commercial and, in some cases, regulatory issues.

Tax issues on both setting up and operating the outsourcing arrangement need to be considered to ensure that:

  1. the arrangements do in fact realise the desired cost savings once any tax costs are factored into the arrangements

  2. taxes are administered and paid as necessary, and

  3. the structure is as tax efficient as possible and, in particular, there is no tax 'leakage'

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