Global Mobility Risks – Tax and Immigration Regulation And Compliance
In many ways, the world in which we live is smaller than it has ever been. Advances in instanteous communication and high-speed transportation have allowed businesses to expand their operations to far-flung locations around the world. Of course, these locations need to be staffed by skilled, reliable employees, which often necessitates re-locating employees to new countries, whether for a short-term assignment or a lengthier stay.
But while global mobility is indeed more important than ever, companies like yours still face serious legal and regulatory hurdles. We live in a world of nation-states, after all, and every country has set its own rules for regulating the hiring and re-location practices of foreign companies. And these countries are not shy about enforcing their rules.
More than ever, keeping track of your mobile employees and the tax and immigration burdens associated with them is absolutely vital. A failure to do so can expose your company to significant legal consequences, which can include heavy fines and restrictions on your ability to operate within a given country.
Traditionally, many companies tried to keep track of these obligations through Excel spreadsheets or other jerry-rigged solutions. But time and time again we have seen that these methods fall short. You need a more dedicated, systematic solution. Equus Software offers a range of solutions that enable you to manage every step of the re-location process while also keeping track of the legal obligations associated with every re-located mobile employee.
Staying on the Right Side of the Laws – All of Them
Consider the following scenario. Your company has branch offices in multiple European countries, including the United Kingdom. Previously, all of these countries operated under European Union common regulations – different countries had their own laws, of course, but the existence of the EU regulatory apparatus provided a measure of stability and predictability.
But political tides can change quickly, as we've seen with stunning clarity in recent years. The UK's decision to leave the European Union will have dramatic, far-reaching consequences for any international companies operating within the UK and the EU. And we cannot rule out the possibility that other European countries will decide to follow the UK's lead.
Or consider a hypothetical a little closer to home. You're a North American company based in the US but with offices in Mexico and Canada. You have American citizens working in both countries. How will the tax and immigration burdens associated with those employees change if the United States withdraws from NAFTA? And will those burdens change even further if the US negotiates new, bi-lateral treaties with one or both of Canada and Mexico?
These concerns aren't theoretical. The British supermarket giant Tesco was fined £115,000 for employing foreign students who were working for Tesco in violation of their visa terms. Even if that specific scenario isn't relevant to your company's operations, it's a good indication of just how seriously countries take their rules regarding foreign workers.
In the current environment, there is really no substitute for a well-defined compliance framework in which a comprehensive accounting of your traveling, and re-located employees and their assignments are combined with a similarly thorough listing of your tax and immigration obligations in the relevant countries. When it comes to these issues, “winging it” is not a solution.
Equus Software's tools give you the ability to build that framework for your company and ensure you are meeting all of your legal obligations. Our PinPoint Travel Calendar helps you keep track of your re-located mobile employees, as well as all of your tax and immigration obligations. We can ensure your company maintains the necessary, systematic approach to compliance.
Fines and operational interruptions can cut into your bottom line and cause you to miss out on business opportunities. A small initial investment in compliance software can pay huge dividends down the road.
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To learn more about Equus Software's global mobility solutions and to start a conversation about finding the product or service that's right for your company, please contact us online.