An employee is likely to see an offer of an international assignment as a vote of confidence from an employer and an opportunity for career advancement. However, there are a number of questions the mobile employee should ask of his or her employer prior to accepting the international assignment, especially when it comes to questions related to regulatory requirements (e.g., immigration, tax compliance) and compensation and benefits issues in both the employee’s Home and Host countries.
It may seem counterintuitive to a US citizen or permanent resident (i.e., a green card holder) who has just taken a new international job, that most will still be required to file US federal income tax returns after relocating. In addition to filing income tax returns, mobile employees may also have other filing obligations including estate or gift tax returns, estimated tax payments, and foreign bank account reports.
Employers are increasingly turning to mobile employees to fulfill their international staffing needs, but many companies fail to understand the complexity, costs, and compliance obligations that result from cross-border employment. The following are common mobility tax mistakes we encounter the most that are made by employers with mobile employees and tips for avoiding them.
A mobile employee moving from their Home country to an overseas location usually discovers fairly quickly that their tax situation has become far more complex as a result of the move. If the employee is moving from a low-tax location to a country with a high income tax, that employee may be facing a major increase in tax liability as a result of the move. Additionally, the mobile employee may encounter tax issues related to the sale or rental of their home, moving expenses for state reporting purposes, state residency issues, and a number of other issues they may not be prepared to handle on their own.