Meet the Expert is our series of blogs where we share more about the team behind our innovative software and managed services. As a global organisation with tax experts across all regions, our dedicated team are often the first to know about new regulatory changes, ensuring you stay compliant.
We spoke to Beverleigh Gunner, Compliance Services Manager – IPT at Sovos to find out more about how the IPT compliance team help customers with their IPT submissions.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I’m one of the Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) compliance services managers. That means I look after a team who process data and submit tax declarations for our customers on a day-to-day basis.
Part of my role also involves relationship management such as dealing with customers’ queries, making sure they’re meeting their filing deadlines, and generally happy with the service we provide. I occasionally assist the finance team with invoice related queries as it helps to have someone involved who has an established relationship with a customer.
As I work so closely with customers, I’ve also contributed to the development of our IPT Portal software. With insight into customer queries and their requirements I can provide feedback from their perspective and ensure it’s as useful a resource as possible for them.
What is your team responsible for and how do they help customers?
We’re responsible for making sure tax returns are submitted in the countries that they’ve been allocated. We take the IPT data provided by our customers, review it and present a summary of tax due. If there are country specific reporting responsibilities, the data is reviewed according to our knowledge and submitted in a timely manner.
Currently my team manages 140+ customers. This includes insurers that have set up Brexit entities alongside their original entities. The most interesting aspect for me is working through complexities with my customers on prepayments and tax obligations.
What is Sovos IPT Portal?
When the pandemic happened there was an increased need to move from paper processes to digital systems. Our IPT Portal is a secure, GDPR compliant online solution where customers can upload their data for tax returns, download completed tax returns and message their Sovos team with any queries they have.
We’re always looking to improve our solutions and I’m working closely with the development team on new features for Portal.
What are the most common processes that your team help customers with?
Knowing what tax rate to apply to very specific classes of business. My team speak with our customers to delve deeper and ensure they’re applying the correct class of business.
We have a mix of customers from established insurers to new start-ups, so the queries vary. Most tend to deal with very specific classes of insurance or are multiple portfolio businesses. The broad range of expertise in the team means we can provide guidance to a wide range of insurers operating in multiple territories.
For example, in France there are several different taxes depending on which type of fire risk you write and what exactly is being covered. It could be covering a building that has business interruption or covering an outside risk or a terrorism risk. It varies and involves significant detail, so my team are on hand to research, provide information and support.
What would be your top tip for customers when submitting IPT returns?
It’s about collating all the information needed accurately. Many insurers work with third parties and the policy information they collate might not always include everything required.
There’s stricter reporting now in Spain and Portugal and the level of detail required includes individuals’ tax ID numbers. Ensuring that third parties can collate and provide this information would help our customers settle their liabilities a little easier.
If that information isn’t available, it makes it harder for the customers because they don’t have the information to report the tax properly.
I’d also suggest signing up to our tax alerts and webinars to keep up to date with the latest IPT updates. And of course, the team are always available for any queries, no matter how specific.
Get in touch about the benefits a managed service provider can offer to ease your IPT compliance burden.