Category Archives: Expatriates

Postings and discussions about expatriate programs and policies

Two Tax Planning Strategies to Reduce Expatriate Costs

Eric Loff – Global Tax Network

The tax cost of an international assignment can be significant and companies struggle to find ways to manage these costs.  This article outlines two straightforward strategies for reducing the tax costs of your expatriate program.

Where do those excess taxes come from anyway?
Excess tax costs associated with an international assignment include the actual taxes paid by the employer on behalf of the employee which exceed the employee’s tax burden as calculated under the company’s tax equalization policy. But don’t worry. There are a variety of tax planning techniques that can reduce these excess tax costs. Two common ones are:

  • Paying benefits-in-kind in lieu of cash payments
  • Proper timing of the assignment

Read on to learn how these tax savings strategies work. Continue reading

Expatriate Orientation – Why, What, When?

Jennifer Stein – Global Tax Network

When individuals relocate, they are bombarded with many changes at once. You may hear the phrase: So much to do, so little time. They may be tempted to skip part or all of the relocation process. Here we’ll discuss three questions related to orientation meetings.

  • Why do we need to provide international assignees with orientation meetings?
  • What should be covered during the orientation meetings with an international assignee?
  • When should this information be provided to the international assignee?

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Expatriate Assignment Checklist Part 1 – Assessment, Selection and Approval

Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

If you are an international HR practitioner, then you have probably had to deal with long-term international assignments.  They can be complex, with many different people involved, both internal resources and external suppliers and vendors.

One of the best ways to ensure all the necessary steps are followed is to use checklists.  These are simple yet extremely useful devices that will help you stay on track with your international assignees.  A recommended approach is to develop a checklist for each of the common assignment stages or events that occur, including:

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Expat Lump Sums – Trap or Panacea?

Mary Lou Stockton – Global Tax Network

A US company sends an employee on assignment to the UK.  The company informs the employee that they will pay X amount for his UK housing.  The employee wants to spend more, because he wants a larger, nicer flat.  He feels the allowance is not enough for the type of flat he wants considering his family needs, including the fact that his wife wanted to live near other Americans.  

The HR Director works with the business manager to determine whether the company would pay more in this case.  The employee is told that he will have to reimburse the company for excess housing cost through payroll.  The employee contends that he should get a tax deduction on his hypo tax for the excess housing that he funded.  The issue went to the tax accountant and finally to the company VP for resolution.  The VP asks why he is being asked to resolve assignment allowance issues and tells HR that they should “handle it”.  The HR Director considers transferring to something less complicated, like nuclear engineering or cell biology.

It does seem expats take a disproportionate percentage of HR’s available time, and require much more administration than one would expect.  The trend in HR today is towards “self-service”.  Why do we need such detailed and centralized control of assignment expenses and allowances?  

Why can’t I just give assignees some extra money to handle the costs of an international assignment?

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10 Killer Reasons to Attend the North East Totally Expat Show

The International HR Forum is proud to be a Partner Organization for the upcoming North East Totally Expat Show on 3 April in New York.  The event is just three weeks away! It will be the largest global mobility event ever held in New York.  So, if you are in the New York Metro area, or if you are able to travel, register now!

Here are 10 killer reasons why you should register today: Continue reading

NY Totally Expat Show

Warren Heaps – Birches Group LLC

Have you heard about the Totally Expat Show sponsored by the Forum for Expatriate Management? This group has hosted several very successful exhibitions designed for global mobility professionals.

This year, the International HR Forum will be represented at the New York Show on April 3rd.  Birches Group LLC will have a booth in the Exhibition Hall — stop by and introduce yourself as one of our loyal readers.

Check out the details on our NY Totally Expat Show page.

When you register, please be sure to mention you saw the event on the International HR Forum!  And if you want to, leave a comment if you will be there, so we can look for you.

New York Totally Expat Show – April 3, 2012

Join us at the New York Totally Expat Show on 3 April

The Forum for Expatriate Management’s Totally Expat Show will be returning to New York on 3 April 2012. We will also be visiting Chicago for our Mid West Show on 1 June 2012.

  •  North East USA at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York on 3rd April 2012 – Register to Attend
  • Mid West USA at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Chicago on 1st June 2012 – Register to Attend

The International HR Forum is a proud partner organization of The Forum for Expatriate Management, and Birches Group LLC will be attending the New York Totally Expat Show on 3 April 2012. Do come along and visit us. With over 500  attendees, this is likely to be the biggest Global Mobility event  ever held in New York.

These truly unique global mobility events will include a major exhibition with a large number of leading service providers and a rolling program of seminars (which will be certified by HRCI for GPHR credits).

Entry is entirely FREE for corporate HR professionals.  Just  Register to Attend!

Service Providers can attend for just $290 for FEM Members ($350 for non-Members). Just Register to Attend!

Topics to be covered are listed below.  For full descriptions of the topics, see the seminar program.   Additional speakers and topics will be announced shortly.

  • Meet the Experts – Global Immigration Compliance Trends
    Experts from Fragomen and other leading specialists
  • Latest Trends in Global Mobility Policy and Practices
    Debra Frost, Vice President, Client Services, Cartus
    William Sheridan, Vice President, National Foreign Trade Council
  • Business Process Automation in Global Mobility
    Mark Rabe, VP Business Development, Equus Software
  • US Reporting Requirements for Foreign Assets – What Global Mobility Managers need to know
    Beth Penfold and Katrina Haynes, Grant Thornton
  • An Overview for Companies new to Expatriation
    Pat Jurgens, Director of Tax for AIRINC
  • Emerging Trends in Global Mobility Transformation
    Glen Collins, Senior Manager, International Executive Services, KPMG
  •  Technology and Global Mobility – The Next Generation
    Frank Patitucci, CEO NuCompass Mobility
  • Strategic Intercultural Support: Insuring the ROI on the International Assignment
    Dean Foster, President and founder, DFA Intercultural Global Solutions
  • Is Cross Cultural Training really worth it?
    Diane McGreal, Director Berlitz Global Leadership Training, Americas Region
  •  Spousal assistance : overview of best practices based on a global sampling of 200 multinational corporations
    Alain Verstandig, President and Denise Michelle Starrett, Senior Consultant NET EXPAT Inc
  • Managing the Global Mobility Function
    Brian Friedman, Founder and CEO, Forum for Expatriate Management

Register to Attend!

 Just these Corporate Attendees

AIG * Amphenol TCS * Associated Press * AXA Equitable * Axiom Law * BNP Paribas * Boehringer Ingelheim * Bunge Limited * Citibank * Citicorp * Coach * Columbia University * Corning Incorporated * Covance Inc. * Criteo * D&B * Deloitte * Discovery Communications * Dragados USA * DSM Services USA * Fidessa corporation * Foot Locker Inc. * Harris * HSBC * IBM * ING Financial Services * Ingersoll Rand Company * JPMorgan Chase * KPMG LLP * Marsh & McLennan Companies * MetLife * Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP * Morgan Stanley * Nielsen * Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation * NYSE Euronext * NYU * PTC * Ralph Lauren * Resources Global Professionals * Sikorsky Aircraft Corporate * Sony Music Entertainment * Teach For All * Terex Corporation * The Hershey Company * The NPD Group Inc. * The Royal Bank of Scotland * Tiffany * Towers Watson * Toys’R’Us * UNDP * Unilever * United Technologies Corporation * White & Case LLP * William J. Clinton Foundation *

Equalization or Protection – A Taxing Question

Guest Author:
Jennifer Stein – Global Tax Network

[Editor’s Note:  We are happy to welcome Jen Stein as a Guest Author.  Jen is the Managing Director of the Global Tax Network Chicago office.  She has more than 15 years of experience in expat and foreign national tax preparation and consulting, starting her career with Arthur Andersen, and then Ernst & Young, where she served for over 14 years.]

Taxes are one of the most complicated and expensive aspects of an international assignment.  To control these costs, most companies utilize a tax policy as part of their international assignment process.  The two most common approaches are tax equalization and tax protection.  How do you decide if one of them is right for your company? Let’s start with some definitions.

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Relocation Mistakes of a First-Time Trailing Spouse

Guest Author:
Rachel Yates –

[Editor’s Note:  We are very excited to share with you the assignee’s spouse perspective on international relocation, from someone who has lived through five such moves.  Rachel Yates edits a website, Defining Moves, devoted to assisting relocating families around the world. ]

Ten years ago, my partner was offered his first international relocation to Kenya. We saw it as an opportunity for adventure, travel and fun, and with that in mind, I made every mistake in the book. With hindsight, I had watched too many period dramas; in my mind, relocation was going to fall somewhere between Out of Africa and Downton Abbey. The reality was far less glamorous, and involved me spending the first six months sobbing, wondering what on earth I had done. So where did I go so badly wrong?

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How to Make Cross-Cultural Training Effective

Guest Author:
Nathalie-Michèle Sylvain – Transitaré

[Editor’s Note:  It is with pleasure we welcome Nathalie-Michèle Sylvain as a Guest Author. Nathalie-Michèle is based in Montreal, Canada, where she specializes in candidate and family assessment, expatriate support and intercultural management training. She regularly participates in global conferences and has been an invited speaker for cross-cultural topics at some of these conferences as well as at Canadian universities.]

A lot is said about cross-cultural training for international assignments. Some argue that it is very important and should be done prior to departure, others claim in should be done at the host country and others still doubt the value of cross-cultural training all together. But we tend to forget that the effectiveness of a cross-cultural training depends more on its content than on its timing. So what makes a good and effective cross-cultural training program?

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