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U.K. Election and Taxes • C Corp Conversion • Gig Work Defense

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This is a weekend roundup of Bloomberg Tax Insights, which are written by practitioners featuring expert analysis on current issues in tax practice and policy. The articles featured here represent just a handful of the many Insights published each week. For a full archive of articles, browse by jurisdiction at Daily Tax Report, Daily Tax Report: State, and Daily Tax Report: International.

This week we look at what the U.K. election means for taxes, private equity fund entity choice, California’s new worker classification law, multilateral v. unilateral digital taxation, and good deeds with opportunity funds. We’ll hear from:

Paul Falvey of BDO U.K. on what the election means for U.K. taxes

Jeremy Swan, Jonathan R. Collett, and Robert Richardt of CohnReznick LLP on private equity C Corp conversion

Christopher Karachale and Nancy Dollar of Hanson Bridgett LLP on a potential defense to the California classification law

Duncan Edwards of BritishAmerican Business on unilateral v. multilateral digital services tax solutions

Christopher Hanewald of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP on finding the good in opportunity zones

Boris Johnson, U.K. prime minister, delivers a speech outside No. 10 Downing St. in London on Friday, Dec. 13, following the general election.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The Conservative Party has won the 2019 general election. Paul Falvey of BDO U.K. discusses what this means for U.K. taxes. How bold will the new government be? Read: What the Election Result Means for U.K. Taxes

Since enactment of the 2017 tax law, some large private equity funds have converted from publicly traded partnerships to C corporations. Jeremy Swan, Jonathan R. Collett, and Robert Richardt of CohnReznick LLP look at whether conversion makes sense for middle-market funds. Read: What Middle-Market Private Equity Funds Should Know About C-Corp Conversions

California’s new worker classification law—intended to restrict the classification of workers as independent contractors—goes into effect on Jan. 1. Christopher Karachale and Nancy Dollar of Hanson Bridgett LLP analyze a potential defense raised by technology platform companies, which argue they are third-party payment intermediaries and not employers. Read: IRS Form 1099-K in the Technology Platform Defense to California AB 5

Several countries have enacted or proposed a digital services tax on such firms as Google and Apple. Duncan Edwards of BritishAmerican Business says these unilateral measures are the wrong solution to a genuine problem and stresses the need to pursue a multilateral agreement. Read: Taxing the 21st Century Economy—A Multilateral Approach?

The opportunity zone program has fans and critics. Many of those fans are among the affluent and their advisers. While the program has received some deserved criticism as a way to make the wealthy wealthier, it is also a significant opportunity for local nonprofits, economic development organizations, and local governments to shape an incomplete program into something transformational, writes Christopher Hanewald of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP. Read: Impact Investing and Finding the Good in Opportunity Zones

From the Archive

Bloomberg Tax contributors have stayed on top of the twisted tale of Brexit from the beginning.

With the U.K.’s departure from the EU having been postponed for a third time, until Jan. 31, 2020, James Ross, of McDermott Will & Emery, considered whether the Brexit fog is now finally about to lift.

Clive Jie-A-Joen and Monique van Herksen listed some transfer pricing aspects companies may want to consider while they are making (last-minute) Brexit-triggered decisions.

Beyond Tax

What’s happening outside the world of tax?

Litigators can learn about good legal writing from a recent New York Times review giving zero stars to Brooklyn’s Peter Luger Steak House. Boies Schiller Flexner LLP’s Evan North says litigators who contend with audiences ranging from neutral to hostile should take the same approach as the review and catch and release all but the most compelling legal arguments. Read: What a Peter Luger Steak House Review Can Teach Lawyers About Effective Legal Writing

The global growth of cryptocurrency paves the way for an expanding legal practice around regulatory and investigations work. FTI Consulting’s Steve McNew has seen the growth first hand and examines the most common types of legal cases, illicit activities, and other issues emerging around cryptocurrency. Read: Crypto Advancements Stir Legal Work in Investigations, Asset Tracing

Decades after their debut, MS Word and email are still used by law firms for contract management. Olga V. Mack, CEO of ParleyPro, explores the opportunities contract management software (CMS) can bring to law firms and legal departments willing to understand its core technologies enabling real-time access, artificial intelligence, and blockchain capabilities. Read: Beyond MS Word—Three Technologies Transforming Contract Management

Law firms need to protect against cyber attacks. OpenText legal and data experts offer steps to take and warn a key concern is that a breach may violate the professional and ethical obligations lawyers have to protect privileged client information from unwanted access and disclosure. Read: Four Steps Law Firms Should Take to Reduce Cybersecurity Risks

Jane Fogarty, vice president and global counsel at SYNNEX Corp., explains why it’s important to listen to and address whistleblower complaints, especially for global companies. She walks through some decisions SYNNEX made when upgrading its internal review program. Read: How a Global Company Embraces Internal Whistleblowers

The director of the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, Lisa Osofsky, has made clear her goal of increasing U.S.-U.K. cooperation in investigating and prosecuting complex international financial crimes. Timothy J. Coley, counsel with Buckley LLP, says increased cooperation between the SFO and U.S. law enforcement agencies like the Justice Department and the SEC’s Division of Enforcement would be mutually beneficial. Read: Stronger Transatlantic Cooperation Could Be Boon for DOJ, Ailing U.K. Serious Fraud Office

Public comments on proposed CFIUS regulations are in, and final regulations must take effect by Feb. 13, 2020. Kirkland & Ellis attorneys look at the issues raised by industry trade groups, foreign government agencies, and law firms about their potential breadth, perceived ambiguities, and gaps, and highlight areas where more clarification and guidance is needed. Read: Proposed CFIUS Regs Draw Questions on Foreign Investment Definitions, Enforcement

Exclusive Content for Bloomberg Tax Subscribers

(*Note: Your Bloomberg Tax login will be required to read the following content.)

Kim Blanchard of Weil, Gotshal & Manges looks at whether treating a domestic partnership as an aggregate causes small U.S. partners to become subject to the passive foreign investment company (PFIC) regime.

The weekend roundup of Bloomberg Tax Insights will take a break for the holidays and return Jan. 4.

Bloomberg Tax Insights articles are written by experienced practitioners, academics, and policy experts discussing developments and current issues in taxation. To contribute please contact Erin McManus at emcmanus@bloombergtax.com.

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Workers

Need for greater clarity in Labour Codes to accommodate gig workers: Industry

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While the pandemic and onset of technology has created new opportunities of employment such as work from home, part time employment, contract workers, and gig workers, it has also provided opportunities to women and students to reap the benefits of the digital wave. However, as we find new job opportunities on the rise, the traditional avenues have been severely affected by the pandemic. In this regard, it will be critical to have a coherent and well thought out Labour Code.

The new Labour Codes have a unique opportunity to foster recovery. It is imperative to find balance and provide accommodative support to the new forms of employment. The labour codes need to recognize small contract labourers and businesses and make provisions for them.

Lack of uniformity and varied regulations at the state level have had an impact on other aspects of employment as well. These variations are disruptive to businesses with operations across various states and may result in workload disparity and deterioration in quality of the production. The rules skirt over the realities of the digital economy and seek to transpose legacy regulation and limitation on growth. In line with this, Mr. Kazim Rizvi, Founding Director, The Dialogue, was of the opinion that, “Businesses, especially small organisations and startups, are still coming out of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The labour laws, if implemented in the current form, will not only increase the pressure and compliance burden on the companies but also affect their financial output. The role of gig workers is vital in this new economy, and provisions must be made towards giving them adequate compensation and recognition.”

The Panelists highlighted some key focus areas such as flexibility in work hours, need for clarity in the definition of core activity, social security for the gig workers and taking into account emerging job models that need consideration to help guide the discourse towards an enabling framework. Centre, state and other stakeholders have to work together in order to ensure that maximum benefits are accrued to the gig workers while being mindful that businesses are not overburdened. Given the subject matter these codes regulate, there is a constant need of dialogue among the stakeholders to improve the legislation while securing the workforce.

Speaking on this, Mr. Ram Rastogi, Digital Payments Strategist, stressed that, “The e-commerce platforms have revenue-sharing arrangements with the people on their platforms. Thus, there needs to be a differentiation for people working full-time and people working in flexible models. Labour codes shouldn’t deter industries that are performing well and consider a performance-based pay model.”

He further stated, “Gig workers do the most hard work and make only a small fraction of what permanent workers make. Policymakers should think about them before coming out with the codes and should encourage state governments to work on policies for them.”

Suchita Dutta, Executive Director, India Staffing Federation, “Formal Contract work and employment is growing in India. It is helping people pick up new skills and become more industry relevant. While Formal contract labour is well protected for social security and all applicable labour laws including wages, the Gig workers still find the similar format of protection. To realise the full potential of the labour codes, there needs to be continuous dialogue across the sectors to tap the maximum impact for the benefit of gig workers.”

Avik Biswas, Partner, Indus Law, “The gig economy workers, for the first time, has been statutorily recognized in India. While the objective of the Codes vis-à-vis the gig economy can be predicted given the way several international regulations on this subject has been structured, we are however still at a stage where a lot more clarity is required on the operative parts of the regulations and how they would substantively affect both companies and workers alike. The obvious way forward appears to be the necessity of a constant dialogue and consultation between the government, employers and other relevant stakeholders.”

There is a need for the government to acknowledge the various types of workforces across different sectors. The one-size-fits-all approach may not work since the codes haven’t taken into account rising digital industries such as e-commerce. Additionally, this code might be exclusionary in nature to the small businesses and gig workers in the country especially in states like Maharashtra where people receive work on contractual basis. Hence, it is essential to examine the grey areas in the codes and rework the same.

Published on: Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 08:26 PM IST

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Singapore looks into more protection for gig workers

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An advisory committee expects to provide recommendations that require legislative change by the second half of next year.

A newly formed committee in Singapore will be looking into more protection for gig workers, in the areas of retirement and housing adequacy, work injury financial protection and bargaining power.

The advisory committee expects to be done with the work by the second half of 2022, with a possible end goal of putting out recommendations that require legislative change, said Senior Minister of State for Manpower Koh Poh Koon. 

“It could well be a set of tripartite guidelines, for example, to guide either workers or platform operators on what is the expected behaviour… It may well be other things that require legislative changes to bring into effect; some of the measures that need to be secured and guarded by law to give adequate legal protection,” he said, reports the Business Times. 

“Or it could well be something that we leave to the union, for example, to have the flexibility to negotiate with the platform operators, because the situation can evolve; platform business models can change as well, so we do not want everything to be a one-size-fits-all.”

READ: Singapore urges SMEs to adapt, build workforce for post-pandemic

The committee is focused on three groups of gig workers: delivery workers, private-hire car drivers and taxi drivers. It comprises industry experts, academics and government representatives, and is headed by Goh Swee Chen, chairperson of the Institute for Human Resource Professionals.

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Help gig workers get social security benefits: Plea in SC | India News

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NEW DELHI: A petition has been filed seeking intervention of the Supreme Court in helping secure social security benefits for gig workers engaged by Uber, Ola Cabs, Swiggy, Zomato and other app based service providers.
The petition, jointly filed by a registered union and a federation of trade unions representing app-based transport and delivery workers, and two individual drivers who have worked with Ola Cabs and Uber, alleged that denial of social security like pension and health insurance to them is violation of their right to life and right against forced labour. “The present petition is being filed raising questions of the great public and constitutional importance namely whether the ‘Right to Social Security’ is a guaranteed fundamental right for all working people- whether employed in the formal or informal sectors,” the petition, settled by senior advocate Indira Jaising, said.
“It is the case of the Petitioners herein who are known as gig workers and platform workers that they are in an employment relationship with the aggregators and hence covered by the definition of ‘workman’ within the meaning of all the applicable social security legislations including: The Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923; The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; The Employee’s State Insurance Act, 1948; Employee’s Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952; The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961; The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 and ‘Unorganised Workers’ Social Welfare Security Act, 2008’,” it said.
The petition seeking SC’s direction to Centre said the mere fact that their employers call themselves “aggregators” and enter into so-called “partnership agreements” does not take away from the fact that there exists a relationship of employer and employee between them “At present these workers are not being provided the benefit of social security under any of the labour legislations. This defeats the very purpose of the social- welfare legislations, which seek to ensure social security-a facet the right to work and livelihood on decent conditions of work under Article 21 of the Constitution,” it said.
“These legislations have been enacted pursuant to the Directive Principles of State Policy with a view to ensuring basic human dignity to the workers. The inaction on part of the State in ensuring social security to the “gig workers” and “platform workers” notwithstanding the existence of the said laws, is the clearest violation of Article 21 apart from a violation of Article 14 and Article 23 of the Constitution.



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