Meet the Expert: Elliot Shulver, Consulting Manager at Sovos

January 31, 2021

Meet the Expert is a series of blogs to 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 always keeping abreast of the latest regulation changes to ensure our customers stay compliant.

We spoke to Elliot Shulver, Consulting Manager at Sovos for his top tips and advice for IPT clients.

What is your role and what does it involve?

I’ve worked at Sovos for a number of years. I’ve recently had a change in role, moving my focus from Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) compliance work to focus solely on IPT consultancy projects, regulation and updating our award-winning software.

Essentially, I assist with any queries that are outside of the Managed Services Team’s remit, especially non-European queries. These might be about tax liability in a country an insurer is considering writing business in or simply advice and guidance about recent market changes.

My role also involves regulatory analysis of the Sovos databases to ensure the solutions used by our compliance team to generate tax returns and check client data are updated to reflect any upcoming changes.

What are the most common IPT queries that Sovos deals with?

The most common questions are about location of risk, mostly the more complicated ones.

Insurers also want to know about premium allocation and whether or not they’re liable for any taxes.

We’re always busy with global queries. As insurers consolidate and offer global products, we’ve seen more questions around writing global policies – for example, if fiscal representation or a local presence is required.

Any upcoming regulation changes we should be aware of?

There are plenty of changes but those that stand out include:

  • Portugal reporting – the new stamp duty requirements are effective from January 2021 with the first filings in February 2021 for January liabilities
  • From 1 January 2021 Spain increased its IPT rate from 6% to 8%, with no transitional provisions
  • France has announced that electric cars are exempt from IPT for the next two years
  • Germany will be introducing mandatory online filing from 2022

Any advice on how to keep on top of IPT?

My number one piece of advice would be to fully understand what the submission process requires to ensure you have enough information to settle returns and reports.

The level of detail required for many submissions can cause problems, especially if the insurer uses brokers or intermediaries that might only provide premium amounts and not realise that reporting could require a tax ID or address for certain tax authorities. It’s important to make the entire filing chain aware of what needs to be reported to ensure everything is easily accessible to avoid any delays or fines.

Reporting is only going to become more granular. Other countries are very likely to follow Spain and Portugal’s lead as they observe the benefits that these two countries are realising from tax digitisation.

Why do people choose Sovos to help with their IPT requirements?

We have more than 75 people working in our IPT department so have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help with any queries an insurer has. It can offer real peace of mind to know that a dedicated team is on hand and many of our customers opt for our managed services to make everything easier, more efficient and to ensure compliance.

We also have strong global partnerships and established relationships with tax authorities. This can be a real help to insurers, especially those operating cross-border or those looking to start writing in new territories.

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Sovos was built to solve the complexities of the digital transformation of tax, with complete, connected offerings for tax determination, continuous transaction controls, tax reporting and more. Sovos customers include half the Fortune 500, as well as businesses of every size operating in more than 70 countries. The company’s SaaS products and proprietary Sovos S1 Platform integrate with a wide variety of business applications and government compliance processes. Sovos has employees throughout the Americas and Europe, and is owned by Hg and TA Associates.
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