Are you satisfied with the level of responsiveness from your current global mobility tax provider? Do you have access to a team of seasoned professionals who are well-versed in the latest mobility tax trends? Are you receiving clear and actionable advice in a timely manner? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, it may be time to consider switching to a new mobility tax provider.
When considering a change in mobility tax providers, there are several factors to consider before making a decision—but transition difficulties should not be one of them. There could be any number of reasons you are thinking about making a change in providers. To make this process easier, our team has compiled valuable information to help you assess your needs and guide you through the necessary steps to transition seamlessly from your current provider.
Reasons to look for a new global mobility tax provider
There are many reasons why a company may be considering a change in global mobility tax providers. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Delays in receiving responses to questions or services
- Receiving generic advice that does not provide clear guidance on how to proceed
- Junior staff members allocated to your team who don’t have the experience in dealing with complex mobility tax issues
While a change in mobility tax service providers may be necessary, it is also likely to raise questions as to how difficult the transition will be. Will changing providers interfere with my company’s day-to-day operations? Will it affect my company’s mobile employees? How long will it take to make the switch?
These are all valid questions that should be addressed before engaging with a new global mobility tax provider.
If you’re looking for additional information on switching providers, our e-book, "The Definitive Guide to Evaluating Mobility Tax Providers", will help you narrow your search and provide you with additional guidance in choosing the right provider for your company.
How to prepare for the switch to a new global mobility tax provider
Once you have determined that it makes sense to engage with a new provider, there are several steps you should take to ensure a smooth transition—steps that will save you, your mobile employees, and your new provider time and unnecessary headaches down the road.
Take stock of your company’s current mobile workforce.
- Do you have employees on short- or long-term assignments?
- Do you have any business travelers, remote workers, or commuters?
- Have any employees been permanently transferred?
- How many mobile employees do you currently have and where are they located?
- Do you know of future locations where you anticipate a mobile workforce?
Determining the answers to these questions will help your new provider get up to speed on your current program so they are ready to provide all necessary services from day one.
Examine the mobility policies you currently have in place and share them with your new provider. This will help them understand your program so they can identify any potential issues and cost saving opportunities.
Review employee assignment letters. Gather any assignment letters you have that outline the details of the assignments and the benefits being provided to mobile employees and give copies to your new provider.
Inform your new provider of any unique situations faced by the company or your mobile employees. Such situations could include specific employees that require VIP or “high-touch” services or bonuses and equity compensation that is regularly provided by the company.
What to expect when transitioning to a new global mobility tax provider
Your new provider should make every effort to ensure that the switch is as smooth as possible and will usually start things off with an introductory meeting. This meeting addresses the logistics of the switch and allows for members of the provider’s team to meet your program managers with whom they will be working. This also gives your program managers the opportunity to ask questions or raise any areas of concern.
Before the transition begins, we recommend your company arrange a video call between you, your previous mobility tax provider, and your new provider to discuss how the transition process will go and any consent forms that are needed. This call should be used to set expectations and timelines for the transition in general and the process that will be needed to facilitate the transfer of information.
Your company’s mobile employees should also be given the opportunity to speak with the new provider so they are kept informed of what they can expect from the process, the transition timeframe of when everything will happen, and how to get answers to any questions they have. These conversations will help reduce stress for you and your mobile employees and can alleviate the number of phone calls and emails from mobile employees who may be confused by the transition process.
Consistent and open lines of communication between you and your new provider is key to not only a successful transition, but also key for a successful partnership and program moving forward. Often, this takes the form of regular video calls to discuss the current state of the company’s mobility tax program and ensure that new issues are being addressed. These calls can also be a good time to get your other strategic vendors such as your relocation management company, immigration firm, and payroll provider on the phone with you and your mobility tax firm, so together you can discuss ways to enhance and strengthen your mobility program.
Ensuring a smooth transition for your mobile employees
After your mobile employees have been introduced to your new mobility tax services provider, there are additional steps that should be taken to ensure that the switch is not difficult or stressful for them. The first is to have the employees sign consent forms so the new provider can easily gather the necessary tax information from your previous provider and share that information with any foreign offices. It is important to confirm in advance with your previous provider that the consent language is sufficient for their purposes to allow for the release of your employee’s personal information.
We also recommend that mobile employees have the necessary documents in the event it is not shared by the prior provider, such as prior year tax returns, travel calendar information, and any other paperwork needed for tax return preparation. This ensures the mobile employees have their important information on hand if the new provider determines that something is missing or that more information is needed to implement new tax strategies to benefit the employee or company.
Your new mobility tax provider should make every effort to minimize the impact and burden the transition may have on you, your mobile employees, and your company. By being proactive in your approach and by following some of the guidelines identified above, you can ensure a smooth process.
Still concerned about transition issues? Consider a partial transition.
Transitioning to a new mobility tax provider can be a daunting task for program managers, key stakeholders, and even mobile employees who may not see the need for a change. Sometimes, it may make sense to undertake a partial transition as such a transition can sometimes provide most or all of the benefits needed without causing undue stress.
Here are a few examples of a partial transition:
- Consider bringing on a new provider for a "second opinion" on key issues only. This can provide a fresh perspective without disrupting the entire program.
- Have a new provider work only on new mobility initiatives. For instance, if you plan to expand the scope of services (such as for business traveler services or assisting with the trailing equity obligations for mobile employees), consider having only the new scope of work sent to a new provider.
- Send only new mobile employee cases to the new provider. If you are concerned that switching mobility providers will create unnecessary challenges for your existing mobile employees, consider having the new provider take on new mobile employee cases only.
Don't let the challenges of transitioning to a new global mobility tax provider hold you back from finding a partner that best meets your mobility needs. If your current mobility tax provider is not offering everything you want or need, now is the time to look for a new one.
GTN is a mobility tax provider focused on providing our clients with personal attention, responsive advice, and highly experienced team members who provide actionable insights. Schedule a call with our team to learn more about how we help manage and simplify mobility programs.