CapRelo Blog

April Relocation Survey

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Apr 20, 2017

Thinking about changing your relocation program or just curious about what other organizations are doing? Each month, we'll feature a short survey and share our findings along with the next survey the following month. Below are the results for last month's survey and this month's survey questions.

March Survey Results

1. Does your company have a program in place to track business travelers for immigration and tax compliance?

Yes: 50%
No: 50%

2. From which sources do you collect data to track your company's business travelers? (Choose all that apply)

Travel providers: 34%
Expense reports: 67%
Manual tracking spreadsheets: 0%
Direct booking information: 0%
Hotel corporate accounts: 0%
Rental car information: 0%
Unsure: 0%
N/A: 0%
Other: 0% 

3. What challenges do you face regarding business travel management? (Choose all that apply)

Identifying high-risk travelers: 0%
Engaging in duplicate processes: 0%
Consolidating data: 75%
Persuading employees to actively participate in the tracking process: 25%
Unsure: 0%
N/A: 0%
Other (please specify): 50%

  • Consistent corporate ownership of the task
  • Convincing the organization that this is important
  • Track and create a policy


This month's survey addresses Rotational Assignments.  

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Topics: global mobility, rotational assignments

March Relocation Survey

Posted by Amy Mergler on Fri, Mar 17, 2017

Thinking about changing your relocation program or just curious about what other organizations are doing? Each month, we'll feature a short survey and share our findings along with the next survey the following month. Below are the results for last month's survey and this month's survey questions.

February Survey Results

1. What are your biggest employee relocation costs? (Choose all that apply)

Real Estate: 60%
Household Goods: 100%
Tax Gross-Up: 20%
Family Expenses: 20%
Temporary Living: 40%
Miscellaneous Expenses: 0%

2. Which employee relocation budget challenges does your company face? (Choose all that apply)

Uncertainty of the number of employees needing relocation services: 60%
Predicting the number and type of exceptions to your relocation policy: 40%
Inflationary factors that may increase costs: 0%
Policies with home selling assistance involve timing uncertainties and potential shortfalls in selling prices: 20% 

3. What measures has your company undertaken to control employee relocation costs? (Choose all that apply)

Set clear policy parameters: 40%
Established reimbursement maximums: 0%
Changed the method of expense reimbursement: 0%
Minimized policy exceptions: 40%
Reduced temporary housing duration and house hunting trips: 40%
Used core/flex relocation packages: 0%
Established tiered relocation packages: 100%
Used technology to track/manage relocation expenses: 0%


This month's survey addresses Business Traveler Management and Tracking.  

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Topics: global mobility, business travlers, business traveler management

Exclusive Webinar - Managing Relocation Costs: Tips and Tricks of the Trade

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Oct 20, 2016

Managing Relocation Costs Webinar

Assignments are critical to your success in the global marketplace. You must get the right talent, in the right place, at the right time. But how can you do that without breaking the bank?

Please join our lively discussion on Wednesday, October 26th at 2:00 pm with relocation experts who are on the front lines of the industry as they share tips and tricks to help you manage costs while still executing a successful relocation program in our WERC Learning Zone Webinar: Managing Relocation Costs: Tips and Tricks of the Trade.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Why regular policy reviews are critical
  • Pros and cons of two top policies
  • 8 alternate assignment types
  • 11 great cost-saving ideas
  • Hidden costs that could derail your program

Webinar presenters:

Angela Tan, CRP, GMS-T
Director, Client Development

Laura Wilkins, CRP, GMS
Global Assignment Manager


CapRelo presents this free, exclusive webinar through the WERC Learning Zone so you can learn more about creating a successful global relocation policy. This webinar is good for one CRP and/or GMS credit.

Register today for our October 26th Learning Zone Webinar: Managing Relocation Costs: Tips and Tricks of the Trade

Topics: caprelo webinars, WorldwideERC, Relocation Services, global mobility, global relocation

Stop By To See Us At The WERC Global Workforce Symposium!

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Sep 29, 2016




Worldwide ERC® Global Workforce Symposium

When: October 5th - 7th 

Where: Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, D.C. 

Attendees: Dan Keating, Pete Larkin, Tracey Scott, John Travers and Scott Williamson

Next week, the Worldwide ERC® will be hosting its annual Global Workforce Symposium in Washington D.C. This year, WERC will be Reimagining Mobility to build on existing knowledge and experience to discover new ways to manage global assignments and strengthen global mobility strategy.

This year's symposium will feature:

  • Over 125 exhibiting companies in the Marketplace.
  • Concurrent educational sessions in four learning tracks, covering Compliance, Strategic, Practical and Government topics.
  • Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award recipient, Mick Ebeling will discuss creating "Technology for the Sake of Humanity" in his keynote address.
  • A Global Thought Leaders Dialogue hosted by WERC CEO Peggy Smith, where global leaders will examine the current state of workforce mobility and talent management and provide their thoughts on transforming the future.
  • GMS® and Strategic Talent Mobility training.
  • Networking opportunities.

We will be in the Marketplace and would love to talk to you about getting your key talent into the right place at the right time. Come see us at Booth #803 and enter to win an Amazon Echo or a Washington D.C. helicopter tour! 

Request a

Topics: WorldwideERC, CapRelo Employees, global mobility

9 Measures to Control Global Assignment Costs

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Sep 15, 2016

country_signs.jpgRecently, many companies have reduced, frozen or eliminated their relocation programs in an effort to save costs. However, to remain competitive, companies still need to place the best talent at the appropriate locations, and often that talent isn't available without a global transfer. In these instances, the proper management and oversight of relocation costs becomes imperative.

Learn more about managing global relocation costs with our free article.

How Can You Control Your Relocation Costs?

First, it's essential to actively manage expense packages. Though some companies prefer to set a standard relocation package across the board, when you're working with key talent, it's usually much more effective to be flexible. By compromising on certain points, you can keep your top talent happy and eliminate the risk of losing them in the relocation process.

With that flexibility scenario in mind, it's important to remember that no two global relocations are identical. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, whenever you're presented with a one-size-fits-all solution, you may wish to weigh it against some custom-fit solutions that take the bigger picture into consideration and can save on expenses in the long run. In addition, the measures listed below have proven to be effective in managing and reducing global relocation costs.

  1. Regulate cost-of-living allowances. There's often a significant difference between the costs of living in originating and host countries. Set allowances that are applicable to their respective locations, and recalculate cost-of-living subsidies regularly to reflect financial fluctuations in the host country's economy.
  2. Reevaluate host country housing allowance. It's reasonable for transferees to expect housing allowances in their host countries, but oftentimes the allowances represent high standards of living based on out-of-date data. To control these expenses, employ more conservative housing standards to determine host-housing allowances. Another approach is to set allowances that match home values in the localities transferees will be living and working. Also, review and adjust allowances each quarter to account for local real estate value and currency fluctuations.
  3. Avoid total lease payment. Unless absolutely necessary in light of the competitive environment, avoid providing zero-cost housing to transferees. Determine reasonable housing contributions that employees are responsible for. For some temporary positions, such as highly mobile postings managing the global rollouts of products and services, zero-cost housing may be the only way to keep employees productive. But in most corporate relocations, when transferees are accompanied by their families as well as household goods, a fair employee contribution to housing is usually expected.
  4. Employ a host-based salary system. By paying transferees salaries that are comparable to those of professionals in similar positions in the host countries, US-headquartered companies can save a lot of money without disadvantaging transferees. This way, transferees can maintain their standard of living in their new environments.
  5. Lower house-hunting trip reimbursements. It’s reasonable to reimburse transferees’ house-hunting trips to the host location, but international airfare, transportation at the location, as well as lodging and food can be expensive. Limit these costs by capping monetary reimbursement or reducing reimbursement levels for these trips. In many circumstances, when there’s flexibility based upon the transferees' needs, there will be opportunities to shorten or negate some costs associated with house-hunting trips.
  6. Reassess the costs of language training, cultural training services, home-finding and familiarization trips. Though these services are often crucial to a transferee’s successful relocation, there may be more cost-effective ways of providing them. Do some research and compare providers to see where and how you can cut these costs. Oftentimes, these providers offer different packages and levels of service. To assist you in making both responsible and cost-effective decisions, however, bear in mind service quality benchmarks that take into account client satisfaction. Rule of thumb: The best deal on paper isn’t always the best deal in practice.
  7. Utilize junior-level employees. According to a Worldwide ERC white paper, almost a quarter of companies predict the number of overseas developmental or trainee assignments to grow. That presents the opportunity to increase the ratio of trainee transferees vs. senior transferees when possible. Many trainees are willing to accept reduced relocation packages in exchange for gaining global experience and career growth opportunities.
  8. Cut hardship compensation and bonuses. Financial reimbursement on real estate losses, bonuses on fast home sales and additional compensation pertaining to host-country quality of life issues can all add up. Analyze these elements of your relocation package to see if you can cut or eliminate costs. Don’t forget the option of capping bonuses as a whole; so once a cumulative amount has been reached on bonuses, no further costs to the company accrue.
  9. Review your relocation program for other places to make adjustments and cut costs. There are likely to be numerous other aspects in your relocation package where you can make minor adjustments without negatively affecting transferees. For each possible adjustment, analyze how it will impact the relocation process and make your decision in accordance with its impact on the transferee’s happiness and productivity.

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Topics: Corporate Relocation Costs, international relocation expenses, global mobility, global relocation

Global Mobility: Ways to Help Your Employees to Assimilate

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Jul 14, 2016

business-man-with-globe.jpgGlobal Relocations present unique challenges that your HR team, and your employees, do not encounter during a domestic relocation. When you help your employees assimilate to the new culture in the weeks prior to, and during, a global relocation, you will ensure a faster return to full productivity in the office, greater productivity in the long run and increased employee retention. What can you do to help make a global relocation as smooth as a move within the States?

Learn more about managing global relocations with our free guide. 

How Can You Help Your Transferees Assimilate to the New Culture?

  • Multiple Trips Abroad: 
    Help your employees (and their families) connect with local networking organizations, sports clubs and the like, made up of both locals and expatriates. Find similarities to home, while also helping employees and their families embrace the new culture prior to their global relocation.

  • Foreign Language & Cross-Cultural Training:
    Providing lessons on the local language and cross-cultural training will not only help your transferees acclimate more quickly and become more productive in the office, it can also make them happier following the move, which improves retention.

  • Educate Your Employees on Laws Affecting Expatriates:
    Health care laws that recently went into effect may help reduce costs for employees living and working abroad. Let employees know about other positive changes and benefits they may experience as a result of their global relocation, too.

  • Assist with Paperwork:
    Help your transferee navigate the confusing maze of paperwork that comes with a global relocation, including obtaining visas and registering children in their new school.

A global relocation is more complex than a domestic transfer, but by providing tools to assist your employees and their families adjust to the new culture, you can help ensure a successful relocation and faster return to productivity for your transferee.

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Topics: expatriate employees, language training, global mobility, trailing spouse syndrome,, global relocation

Controlling Global Relocation Costs

Posted by Jim Retzer on Thu, Jun 09, 2016

Aditi-Sharma-Jan-2015-relocation-destination-shutterstock.jpgCompanies that provide global relocation assistance for their employees can expect the usual concerns from their transferees, including selecting a mover, providing help with selling a home, support in the new location, and so on. With a global relocation, however, there are additional concerns like visas, international taxes, housing allowances and replicating previous living standards as closely as possible.

Learn more about managing global relocations in our free eBook.

Typical Global Relocation Services

In addition to the few listed above, other typical services during a global relocation include:

  • Assistance with managing relocation expenses
  • Household goods moving
  • Destination and arrival support services
  • Spousal support and counseling
  • Cross-cultural training and language classes
  • Locating quality schools for accompanying children
  • Ongoing support while becoming oriented to day-to-day life in the new location
  • Security for employees and their families
  • Personal transportation, including car purchasing, leases or company drivers

Strategies to Control Global Relocation Expenses

All these services are important, but they also increase the complexity and cost of global relocations. Here are several strategies you can employ to help control your global relocation expenses.

  1. Establish a fair ceiling for housing and related costs for transferees, making sure to account for the area’s monetary and real estate market fluctuations.
  2. Consider the length of the relocation. The longer the transferee with stay in the new location, the more the compensation rates should be in line with those of the host country. However, it is important to keep in mind that compensation should not fall significantly below what was previously earned; no employee wants to lose money as a result of a transfer.
  3. Get quotes from several relocation management companies, if you decide to use one. Determine what services are available and check customer ratings to assist your decision making.
  4. Carefully estimate the cash and other out-of-pocket expenses and resources needed for a transfer. Underestimating is one of the most common mistakes made – be sure to prepare a list of actual and anticipated expenses in advance.

A comprehensive global relocation policy will keep many factors within your control, but other factors affecting cost – the value of overseas real estate or global monetary fluctuations, for example – are not. If you allow for surprises when planning your transfer budget, you will be better prepared to get your transferees off to a good start in their new locations.

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Topics: Corporate Relocation Costs, global mobility, global relocation

Global Mobility Policies Must Reflect the Changing Face of the Family

Posted by Amy Mergler on Wed, May 11, 2016

paper-family.jpgNot that many years ago, companies planning on relocating their married employees had few concerns beyond helping the family move. Traditionally speaking, the “family” consisted of the employee (usually a man), his wife (usually non-working) and kids (and maybe a pet or two). Even if the employee’s wife had a job, it was expected she would relinquish it to follow her husband to his new location.

By 2016, much has changed in the relocation landscape: the presence of dual-career couples, broader definitions of what constitutes a “family” as well as “cultural clashes” caused by traditional norms bumping up against a company’s 21 st Century needs can be particularly troublesome for HR managers and others making relocation policy. How do companies strike a balance finding solutions that keep things running smoothly?

Learn more about relocating employees with families in our free article.

Accommodating the Needs of Dual-Career Families

Women have more opportunities for advancing careers than at any other time in history. Spouses who have moved ahead in careers are understandably reluctant to jump ship and tag along to the next destination. The result can be a “split-family” situation — where the transferee goes it alone and the spouse and family stay behind.

The Family Redefined

The family no longer consists of mom, dad and one or more kids. Single-parent families and other non-traditional families are on the rise, underscoring the need to be flexible in crafting relocation policies.

Relocating same-sex couples may face barriers to immigration or entry due to the refusal of some countries to recognize these partnerships. Personal safety concerns in unfriendly nations may also arise for same-sex unions.

One law firm reports that single parents face a different set of challenges: relocation may affect child support, visitation or other parental rights. Savvy managers may wish to enlist legal help in drafting policies to include and accommodate thee considerations.

The Last Word

If your company hasn’t reviewed its relocation policies lately, it may be time for some updating. Some companies have successfully accommodated employees’ families either in the form of a tiered plan or offering an assignee a choice in benefits. Building these family challenges into relocation policies will help smooth the transition for all concerned, as well as promote better employee retention and enhanced productivity in the new location.

Relocating Employees with Families

Topics: Family Relocation, global mobility

CapRelo Announces the Opening of a New Global Relocation Center

Posted by Amy Mergler on Tue, Feb 23, 2016

CapRelo, together with our sister company, JK Moving Services, is pleased to announce the opening of a downtown Washington, DC office location. The newly established Global Relocation Center broadens CapRelo's geographic infrastructure, through which CapRelo and JK will continue to deliver our highly acclaimed services. In addition, the Center provides our DC-based corporate and government customers with ready access to our relocation professionals.

According to Charles Kuhn, Chairman, CapRelo, and President & CEO, JK Moving Services, "The opening of our Washington, DC office is an important step in the strategic growth of our enterprise. Establishing the Global Relocation Center was vital to our customers, both domestically and globally."

Kuhn further noted, "Our expansion plan includes developing a larger headquarters campus, which means increased capabilities to continue providing the high level of service our customers have come to appreciate from our enterprise." According to Kuhn, the plans include constructing a 500,000 square foot facility near Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Virginia to house new corporate administrative offices and state of the art storage facilities.

The Global Relocation Center is located at 1101 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005, and includes a staff of multinational, multilingual relocation professionals, with capacity to accommodate additional, planned growth.


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Topics: CapRelo, global mobility

Tax Considerations for Relocating Canadian Employees to the U.S.

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Feb 04, 2016


In today’s labor market, talent mobility is becoming increasingly important. First, there’s a growing necessity for companies to function at a global level. Thanks to continuously improving communications technology, organizations are collaborating with partners and breaking into markets overseas. As a result, there are more relocation opportunities for employees to gain international experience.

Second, millennials – who’ve grown up in this hyperconnected world – expect to be given opportunities to work overseas. Whereas international assignments used to be reserved for highly experienced employees, nowadays, international transferees are often at the beginning of their careers. And though they’re likely to possess fewer assets than more seasoned employees, it’s nevertheless critical to be aware of the tax implications of relocating to a different country.

This is especially important for Canadian employees relocating to the United States. Both countries have a number of tax laws that can have a significant impact on the amount of taxes an employee has to pay on income and assets. In some cases, employees might even be subject to double taxation. That’s why it’s imperative that employers work with their employees to determine the best course of action ahead of time.

Keep the following considerations in mind:

  1. Tax residency. Canada levies income tax based on residency, so employees who retain their primary residency in Canada are likely to have to pay income taxes. The U.S., however, levies taxes on a citizen’s or resident’s worldwide income. The complication here is that the U.S. might consider someone a permanent resident based on the substantial presence test (SPT). This means it’s possible that an employee could be subject to double taxation, which can be extremely costly—even when you keep in mind that U.S. taxes are typically much lower than Canadian ones.
  2. Departure tax.When an employee leaves Canada and takes up permanent residency in the U.S., or when the SPT deems that employee to be a permanent resident of the U.S., he or she is no longer subject to income tax in Canada. However, assets the employee retains in Canada will still be taxed. These assets include: dividends, annuity payments, royalties and rental payments, amongst others. Real estate and registered retirement savings plans are exempt.
  3. U.S. estate tax. If an employee becomes a permanent resident of the U.S., he or she is subject to U.S. estate tax, which is levied on all of a resident’s worldwide assets if they amount to more than 5.43 million U.S. dollars and their assets in the U.S. if they’re valued at a minimum of $60,000 U.S. dollars. Again, if the employee retains assets in Canada, this could result in a double taxation situation.

It’s clear that when tax time rolls around, transferees could face complicated and expensive situations that could very well affect their engagement with their employer. To prevent this and ensure companies retain their people, employers are advised to provide proper assistance in terms of accounting and estate planning to all of their transferees.

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Although this written communication may address tax issues, it is not a covered opinion as described in Circular 230.  Therefore, to ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments), unless expressly stated otherwise, was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matter(s) addressed herein.

Topics: tax impact of relocation, relocation taxes, global mobility, international relocation

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