I work for a small company based in the UK, which is now part of large EU group. We are very autonomous. We have just had an internal audit (2 weeks) of HQ personnel on-site. In my view, they added nothing productive to our business, this inspection was purely to ensure that we were complying with the group policies and procedures, as such it is for the HQ's benefit not ours. I can fully understand the HMRC's view that if people to come to do productive work then tax may be due. However when people come to inspect us I would argue that no valuable work is done.
Similarly, if they send a person over to us for instruction on their procedures / training, I would argue that this too is not valuable work for the UK company. It is merely compliance with the groups procedures.
Am I correct in not classing these as a short-term business visit and so no PAYE is due?