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Navigating Tax Busy Season: A Comprehensive Guide for Mobility Managers


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Tax season can be a challenging time for mobility managers who are responsible for ensuring their globally mobile employees navigate the tax filing processes seamlessly. With complex international tax laws and filings, it's crucial that both employers and employees stay informed and be proactive when it comes to global mobility tax compliance.

To help you and your mobile employees tackle the unique challenges of tax busy season, we’ve curated this 5-part guide full of valuable resources. In the guide, we cover key steps and best practices to optimize your mobility program, evaluate your vendor needs, and equip your employees with the tools and knowledge required for stress-free tax filing.

Evaluate your mobility program

You've laid the groundwork for your company's mobility program, now it's time to dive deeper and consider everything involved in sending an employee on an international assignment.

Download our comprehensive Mobility Program Evaluation Checklist to help you make informed decisions at each step of an international assignment and determine when it's best to bring additional vendors into your mobility ecosystem for support.

This checklist will aid you in:

  • Thoroughly assessing the questions you need to answer before an assignment begins.
  • Walking step-by-step through all the key considerations at each phase of an international assignment.
  • Evaluating when you should leverage the expertise of an outside vendor for assistance.

Designed specifically for HR and mobility program managers, this checklist serves as an invaluable resource for assessing your organization's internal capabilities and capacity to determine when the use of external vendors is warranted to support successful execution of your mobility program.


Create a framework for global expansion

Is your company going global for the first time or rapidly expanding to support business growth? As your organization expands, it's important to start off on the right foot when it comes to tax and legal obligations.

Our guide on the 3 Key Steps for Global Expansion Success covers the basics required to administer and support a globally mobile workforce. It outlines critical actions in three key areas:

Establishing Policies

  • Determine needed assignment types (long-term, short-term, permanent transfers, remote workers).
  • Define the compensation and benefits philosophy for each assignment structure.
  • Decide on the level of tax support for each assignment type.

Formalizing Payroll

  • Evaluate cross-border payroll complexities.
  • Establish processes for payments, tracking, and reporting.
  • Set up year-end summary reporting for tax filing.

Selecting Vendors

  • Find partners to help with immigration, cross-cultural training, taxes, payroll, relocation.
  • Look for collaborators who minimize redundancies and reduce costs.
  • Check references and existing company relationships to find the right fit.

With the proper framework, you can avoid pitfalls as you grow globally.


Choose the right assignment structure for your mobile employees

As companies seek to adopt the best assignment structure for their business and employees, there is an opportunity to examine the costs associated with running a mobility program and explore innovative solutions. While non-traditional structures such as remote and hybrid work are more prevalent than ever, interest still remains in both short and long-term assignments.

Selecting the right assignment structure for your mobile employees is key to tax and cost optimization. And understanding the differences will help you choose the structure that makes the most sense based on your program goals and employee needs.

To help, we’ve compiled an overview of the pros and cons of different assignment types which takes a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of traditional assignment types and permanent transfers.


Build a strong foundation for your mobility tax program

Managing global employees comes with many obstacles, but when you add tax into the mix, the situation goes well beyond complex. To combat potential issues, it’s important to establish a strong and lasting mobility tax program—one that ensures your mobile employees are prepared before, during, and after their assignments.

Our infographic, The Foundational Steps to Establishing a Mobility Tax Program, will walk you through:

  • Understanding short, long, and permanent travel assignments.
  • Appropriate tax documents and policies.
  • Planning for Host country tax situations.
  • Ways to avoid pitfalls and reduce costs.


With the right foundation in place, you’ll be equipped to handle tax filing and obligations as your mobility program grows.

Equip your mobile employees for tax season

Now that you’re prepared as a mobility manager, it’s time to equip your mobile employees and help them prepare for tax season.

To help them understand their tax obligations and ensure a smooth filing process, we’ve curated a resource library.

This collection of guides, articles, checklists, and eBooks will give your employees everything they need to tackle taxes, including:

  • US tax guidance for mobile employees
  • Steps for navigating US tax filings as an expat
  • Tax information to share with their tax preparer


Planning ahead to conquer tax season

Managing a global workforce presents complex challenges when it comes to payroll, tax compliance, and cost optimization. With strategic preparation, education, and the use of valuable resources, mobility managers can establish effective processes.

While taxes for global employees will always require careful attention, being proactive can set you, your employees, and your company up for success. The resources covered in this guide represent an excellent starting point for mobility managers looking to enhance their international assignment tax processes. With robust preparation and education, global companies can master tax season each year, no matter how far their talent travels.

Navigating global mobility taxes can be complex, but you don't have to tackle it alone. Our team of experts is here to help with your international assignment tax and payroll needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and map out a plan to conquer this tax season.

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Author: Eric Loff

With more than 25 years of global tax experience, Eric serves as the President of GTN. He is known for leading by example and finding the strengths in others, improving communication so all participants are engaged in a project, and serving as a bridge between a company and its expat employees. As a specialist on managing international assignment programs and the related tax, human resource, and payroll matters, he serves as a frequent speaker on global mobility topics. +1.763.252.0642 | 
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