In 2020, a leading e-commerce business began receiving remote work requests from employees on a regular basis. The company quickly realized they didn’t have appropriate policies, processes, or bandwidth in place to handle the requests. Unsure of where to start, they reached out to GTN for assistance. GTN worked alongside the company to build a global remote work policy and automated approval process that not only ensured employee and employer tax compliance, but also maintained a strong company culture and positive employee experience.
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For many companies, the new workforce norm has shifted to virtual and remote employees. However, for several businesses, there remains a need to have employees working in-person on multiple projects across the country or around the world. Business travel, while still not up to pre-pandemic levels, is making its way back as a standard way of working.
While typical mobile workforce structures such as permanent and long-term assignments are generally managed through a defined HR or mobility function, management of short-term business travel tends to be less defined. Yet, understanding and actively managing the tax risks of short-term business travelers can greatly reduce costs and a variety of risks for both your organization and business travelers. Therefore, developing a structure to oversee this area is imperative.
As the future of work continues to evolve, providing a “positive employee experience” is top of mind for companies. While some organizations have gone back to in-office working arrangements, many have retained a full or partial remote workforce culture. These businesses see the provision of a flexible workplace as critical to not only retaining key employees, but also in recruiting top talent to fill essential job duties. And while this incentive is a benefit for the employee and employer, there are important duty of care responsibilities that need to be considered when you have a remote workforce.
With today’s ability to work from anywhere, understanding and staying on top of the reporting and ongoing US filing requirements can be difficult. However, for employees working outside of their typical Home location, not only understanding these requirements but being diligent in adhering to them is especially important. Taxpayers are often surprised by the tax filing obligations and are often not prepared to handle the detailed reporting requirements. For US citizens, permanent residents working outside of the US, and citizens of other countries who become tax residents of the US, there is a specific annual filing requirement related to any non-US financial accounts held.
Imagine this: you are sitting at your desk working to finalize the weekly status update. In walks the president of the company and says, “In order to increase our business, we are expanding overseas. I would like to send Jane Smith to Germany for three years. How soon can you make this happen?”
I’ll bet the questions that race through your mind are the same as every other HR manager tasked with sending employees internationally for the first time:
- Where do I start?
- What do I need to consider?
- What processes need to be in place?
The provision of long-term incentives, such as stock options and other equity compensation, to employees who work in multiple locations has always been challenging. Because not all jurisdictions treat equity income in the same manner for tax purposes, companies can face many uncertainties when trying to understand their reporting and withholding obligations. Mobile employees can face complex tax filings and even double taxation.