Industry Articles

A Buyer Value Option with A ‘Sunset Clause?’

As organizations and transferees confront the realities of a slow and uneven housing market recovery, including longer home marketing times and negative equity positions, attaching a “sunset clause” to buyer value option programs can help manage the risks inherent in these properties languishing on the market.

VAT 101 – an Introduction to the Value Added Tax Affecting Relocation Services

VAT or “value added tax” is charged on goods and services purchased by relocation companies and their clients. Many believe that VAT is applicable only in Europe when in fact this tax is common throughout the world. Currently, approximately 145 countries in the world have implemented a VAT or GST system, and the OECD has been known to say that “the spread of Value Added Tax has been the most important development in taxation over the last half-century” (OECD—International VAT/GST Guidelines. Centre for tax policy and administration—February 2006). Because VAT may have a significant financial impact on your business, regardless of its location or whether you are the client or service provider, it is important that managers in the relocation industry have a good un­der­standing of what VAT is in order to avoid any unnecessary costs. Click here to read the Worldwide ERC® introduction to VAT taxes.

Hot Trends in Global Mobility: Compliance (It’s the New Black)

Corporate compliance is becoming one of the trendiest mobility-related topics on the speaking and writing circuit lately. In the past few years, every relocation conference that I’ve attended has included multiple sessions on compliance, and it seems impossible to open a magazine or journal aimed at the relocation industry without reading articles on compliance. This article will focus on immigration compliance in particular, with reference to other areas to watch.

Managing Relocation in a Changing Corporate Environment

With the advent of outsourcing the relocation function and the downsizing that has occurred in Corporate America during the past decade, the full-time, experienced, corporate relocation manager has, in many cases, become an endangered species. Instead, relocation companies today are, more often than not, dealing with HR generalists wearing many hats and sometimes doing two or more jobs. As such, when normal day-to-day issues arise that are common in any relocation program requiring problem resolution, the interaction between the relocation company and the internal HR generalist can be less than satisfactory—sometimes it even could be characterized as strained. This is because old-style relationships that were predicated on relocation experience often are not there today. In other words, we are speaking very different languages.

The Effect of Restructuring on Foreign National Employees

Dealing with immigration issues before finalizing a restructuring is not only good for employee morale, but it also ensures compliance with regulations. In private practice, we have worked with many companies that have undergone changes without considering the potential affect on the foreign national population. This is incredibly frustrating for the employees. As outside immigration lawyers, we often hear about the restructuring after the fact, and then we have to scramble to rectify any avoidable complications. Naturally, this costs the company more money than if we had been involved at the outset, or at least before the ink dried on the deal.

Down, But Not Out

How are HR and relocation professionals finding ways to cut costs in order to ride out the recession? It’s no secret that The Great Recession has forced companies to make some serious cuts. From scaling back hiring to freezing salaries, it seems almost every facet of business has slowed — including relocations. When trying to cut costs, it’s hard for employers to get around paying for big-ticket items such as housing or schooling for children. Click here to see what Joe Benevides, former senior vice president at Paragon Relocation, and others say is the best way to tackle cost-cutting.

Approaches to Home Valuation

As housing values in the U.S. continue to decline, accurate home valuation is becoming difficult to properly determine. Many organizations offering a guaranteed buyout provision are realizing a disparity between the broker market analysis (BMA), appraised value, and eventual sales price, resulting in frustrations on the part of both the Company and employee as assessments of value “catch up” to the reality of the market. Home valuation is not an exact science. Different methodologies, including the use of mortgage appraisals, broker market analyses, and relocation appraisals may all be available during the course of one corporate transfer. It is important to understand what the primary goal behind each method as to avoid confusion.

Managing Home Leave

Expatriate reward is a critical issue when companies are planning and implementing a successful assignment. It can be complicated to balance expectations of reward and then design and promote the benefits to an internationally diverse workforce. This report aims to provide tips to make reward and benefits meet the needs of the assignee and their employer.

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