Global mobility

Global Mobility is a complex area but we can help simplify this, whether you have an established international network or you are looking to expand internationally for the first time.

Our Global Mobility team focuses on client relationships to get the best results. Whilst acknowledging the value of technology and its benefits, we also value getting to know our clients and their business.

As businesses search out new markets, people embrace working in other countries and experiencing different cultures, the talent pool opens up and employers have access to an increasingly wide range of potential employees. However, it is crucial that the business understands the options available to structure an international workforce – whether employing people locally or sending more senior individuals to work with the business in a different country for a period.

Various issues can also arise for employees on a personal level. Employees need to focus on the job at hand without worrying about any relocation issues. However, whether a traditional assignment, business travel or cross-border commuting, there will be potential tax, social security and corporate issues. Our team will step in to assist employers and employees with a range of services. These include:

Assignment planning – Assignment length and the way various payments are made can affect tax and social security costs. With the right advice, a business can achieve the most desirable outcome.

Policy design for long and short-term assignments – As a business grows it is important to have policies in place to ensure fair treatment of internationally mobile staff. A policy document is a useful reference point for what needs to be included in an assignment. It can also be used as a guide for answering questions raised by individuals regarding salary and benefits, relocation support etc and outlining who is liable for compliance with local tax regulations for example.

Workshops for in-house tax and HR teams – We design bespoke training for staff who might be dealing with internationally mobile employees for the first time or to update team members on changes to legislation and their implication for your business. We use our extensive experience to engage with teams and guide them through new requirements, such as implementing a Short Term Business Visitors’ policy.

Non-resident directors – An often overlooked but complex area in the UK is the tax and social security obligations for a UK company with non-resident directors who attend board meetings etc in the UK. We can offer insight and guidance in this area to help ensure compliance.

Short Term Business Visitors – It is a common misconception that an individual must be ‘in country’ for 183 days before triggering a tax presence. Even if tax is not due, the tax authorities may still expect some form of agreement, a record kept of all business visitors from overseas group companies and an annual report submitted. Without complying with the specific rules around treaty/non-treaty countries and business travel, a business may find itself the subject of an enquiry and a payroll failure.

International commuters – The new approach to work/life balance sees increasing numbers of people living in one country and working in another either as part of their permanent role or for ad hoc projects. This kind of travel will have tax and social security implications in both the country of residence and the country of work. Every scenario will be different, and we use the extensive PKF Global network and our knowledge to ensure compliance.

Advice on home and host country tax and social security obligations (employee and employer) – Working internationally often triggers either payroll obligations, registration obligations or the need for an agreement with the respective tax authorities to ensure compliance. We will help ensure that both employer and employee obligations are taken care of. There are often different types of payroll(s) required for different kinds of assignment. We are able to offer advice on the best type of payroll and also deal with the day to day running of the payroll if required.

Tax Equalisation – When sending individuals overseas to work, companies often use ‘tax equalisation’ to ensure that the person is no better or worse off than if they had remained working in their home country. Tax equalisation also serves to prevent employees favouring one assignment country over another so they pay lower or no tax. This can be expensive for companies and it is important that the correct mechanisms are in place to support the business.

Tax and social security compliance – The importance of an employee understanding their tax and social security obligations in their new country of work, whilst also understanding their trailing obligations in their home country, should not be underestimated. Departure and arrival meetings help prevent costly mistakes (such as bringing money into the host country from the home country only to find it has to be declared on the tax return) and gives the individual an opportunity to ask questions about their personal position.

Global Mobility is an ever-changing environment – as moving and working between countries becomes more of a feature of many roles – and country authorities seek new channels to raise revenue and work towards greater transparency.

It is vital to seek advice early – so that you plan international working in the most cost-effective way from a tax and social security perspective and ensure a solid platform from which to grow your business.