CapRelo Blog

January 2018 Mobility Survey

Posted by Amy Mergler on Wed, Jan 31, 2018

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 of the previous month's survey. 

Below are the results for October's survey and this month's survey questions.

December Survey Results

1. Does your company process mobility-related tax matters in-house or do you out-source?

In-House: 67%
Out-Source: 34%
Don't Know: 0%

2. What is your top challenge associated with mobility-related tax matters? (Choose all that apply)

Calculating/handling tax gross-up: 67% 
Keeping current on changes to tax laws: 100%
Payroll taxes and withholding: 34%
Tax reporting/forms: 67%
Other (please specify): 0%

3. If your company provides tax gross-up as a benefit to your transferees, which method do you use for calculating gross-up?

Flat Method: 0%
Supplemental/Inverse Method: 34%
Marginal/Inverse Method: 0%
Unknown: 67%
Do Not Offer Tax Gross-Up: 0%


This month's survey addresses executive talent mobility programs.  


Create your own user feedback survey

Topics: relocation packages, employee relocation

Upcoming Mobility Shows and Events - February 2018

Posted by Amy Mergler on Tue, Jan 30, 2018


We will be attending and/or sponsoring the following upcoming events. If you’re attending, look for us and say hi, because it's a great opportunity for us to stay abreast of the latest global mobility trends, as well as develop and strengthen trusted partnerships. 


Corporate Relocation Council of Chicago Meeting & Annual charity Auction

Date: February 8

Location: McDonald's Hamburger University, Oak Brook, IL

Attendee: Christopher Bloedel

The CRC event will include roundtable and educational sessions, a Jenga tournament and a silent charity auction benefitting Chicago Run and Kaleidoscope.

For more information about the event and to register, click here


Forum for Expatriate Management Boston Chapter Meeting

Date: February 8

Location: KPMG, Boston, MA

Attendee: Pete Larkin

The February FEM Boston chapter meeting will update attendees on immigration and expatriate taxes for 2018, with commentary on recent U.S. immigration policy and tax reform changes and how companies are responding to the changes.

Click here to learn more and register.


Minnesota Employee Relocation council 34th Annual Conference 

Date: February 13

Location: McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Attendee: Christopher Bloedel

The 34th annual MERC conference will bring together mobility industry professionals for educational sessions, networking and a mini golf tournament to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

Find more information and register for the conference here.


Bay Area Mobility Management 2018 Annual Mobility Conference 

Date: February 15

Location: Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, San Francisco, CA

Attendee: Patrick Cacho

The 2018 BAMM mobility conference will focus on the top challenges facing the mobility industry, including tax reform, diversity, global program management and immigration changes. Attendees will learn the latest relocation trends, solutions and strategies and can network with more than 500 BAMM Service & Corporate Members.

Click here to learn more and to register.


Greater Pittsburgh Relocation Council February Meeting

Date: February 15

Location: Revel + Roost, Pittsburgh, PA

Attendee: Pete Larkin

The GPRC meeting will discuss tax reform issues for mobility and the impacts of the new law.

Register for the meeting here.


Wisconsin Employee Relocation Council February Breakfast Meeting 

Date: February 21

Location: TBD

Attendee: Christopher Bloedel

Details are not yet available for this event.

Click here to look for updated information about the event.


If you can’t attend, please be sure to follow CapRelo on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Topics: CapRelo Employees

Core-Flex Policy Basics

Posted by Amy Mergler on Fri, Jan 19, 2018

Be Flexible sign with clouds and sky background.jpegWith an increase in global mobility, organizations are looking for ways to create flexible and affordable relocation packages. In fact, recent research shows that 88 percent of companies are incorporating aspects of core-flex policies into their mobility programs. But what are core-flex policies exactly, and how can they benefit both employees and employers?

What is a Core-Flex Policy?

A core-flex policy is a corporate mobility policy that consists of two core components. The first component comprises relocation benefits that all transferees need: travel costs, household goods transportation and other benefits that the company may consider critical. The second component includes a range of services that can be added depending on the individual’s needs, such as spousal and family support, home sale and purchase assistance, pet care and transportation, administrative and tax support, immigration services, language and cultural support, etc.

Advantages of a Core-Flex Policy

For organizations of all sizes, core-flex policies offer advantages over lump sum allowances and full-service mobility packages. There’s the potential for cost savings because both the core components and flexible service options can be designed to contain costs. Individual packages can be customized to specific employees’ needs, resulting in accurate expense allocation for every transferee.

Let’s say, for example, that a company needs to relocate two equally ranked managers to a new manufacturing plant. One is married with three children; the other is single. Due to the different makeup of their households, the first manager needs more benefits than the second to relocate successfully. With a core-flex policy, the employer has the flexibility to allocate more services and funds to the first manager’s relocation while still providing the second manager with all the services he or she needs—yet at a much lower cost.

By their very nature, core-flex policies reduce policy exceptions. When a company has well thought-out core and flex components, it becomes easier to ensure sufficient relocation support for the myriad of different transferee needs.

A core-flex policy is also a powerful recruitment tool. Millennials and Gen Z workers are among the most mobile generations in the workforce – and they want to be valued as employees. Customizable mobility packages – as opposed to a one-size-fits-all solution – align with their preferences and go a long way to attracting and retaining top talent.

All of this together empowers HR and hiring managers because they know exactly what level of support they can offer to employees and candidates without having to wait for additional authorization. This contributes to faster, more efficient processes, and fosters employee engagement.

Disadvantages of a Core-Flex Policy

There are also several disadvantages to a core-flex policy. First, it requires a more complex administration than strictly defined policies. While every transferee receives the core components, managing and accurately documenting the flex policy components in each case involves a lengthier, more complicated process.

Core-flex policies can also be more time consuming to design and support than other types of policies. HR teams will typically need to do more research when developing core-flex policies to be sure that the two components offered either match or exceed what the competition is offering. Failure to do so could result in the loss of top talent to the competition.

In addition, time is required during the implementation of the plan to do a needs assessment for each employee. Without doing these assessments there is a significant risk of not providing the best benefits to the employee or in overspending for unnecessary services.

Finally, another important drawback is the possibility for dissatisfaction among employees. If an employee learns that a coworker received a benefit that they didn't, there's the potential for resentment, which could lead to diminished employee engagement and possibly, attrition. There is also an increased likelihood for exception requests and negotiation. A well-designed and properly executed core-flex policy with clear policy language regarding flex options, management and intention, can reduce these problems.

Guide to Core-Flex Policies

Topics: global mobility, core-flex policies, talent mobility

Mobility and the 2018 U.S. Tax Reform Bill

Posted by Jim Retzer on Fri, Jan 12, 2018

CapRelo has been closely following the changes to the U.S. tax laws and advising clients on the best ways to adjust policies. The IRS is currently reviewing the changes to determine how to implement them, and we will update this information when the IRS finalizes and confirms their implementation plans.

The new U.S. tax bill passed through Congress and has been signed into law by the President. Below are some of the key impacts on mobility:

  • All van line expenses (HHG) and final move expenses will now be taxable.
    • This means there is no more 50 mile test, 39 week test or 1 year rule.
  • Supplemental rate will change, but the IRS has yet to clarify the change, and other tax brackets will change as well.
    • Gross up calculations and withholding from payments may be impacted.
  • Elimination of itemized deduction and personal exemptions phase-outs.
    • Employees receiving lump sum payments as well as other paid relocation benefits may be impacted.
  • State/local income and property tax deductions will be capped at $10,000.
    • State/local amounts in excess of $10,000 will be considered taxable and subject to gross up.

We welcome the opportunity to consult with you about the tax changes and how you can adjust your global mobility program and benefits. Give us a call at 703-260-3323 or visit

*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: relocation taxes, corporate relocation company, mobility and taxes

Upcoming Relocation Shows and Events - January 2018

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Dec 28, 2017


We will be attending and/or sponsoring the following upcoming events. If you’re attending, look for us and say hi, because it's a great opportunity for us to stay abreast of the latest global relocation trends, as well as develop and strengthen trusted partnerships. 


Global Business News Corporate Policy Roundtable

Date: January 18

Location: Quicken Loans, Scottsdale, AZ

Attendee: Patrick Cacho

The Global Business News roundtable event will discuss workforce trends and talent acquisition.

For more information about the event, click here. 


Southern California Relocation Council 2018 Kick-Off Meeting 

Date: January 25

Location: TBD

Attendee: Patrick Cacho

The SCRC kick-off meeting will feature Worldwide ERC CEO Peggy Smith and a silent auction.

Click here to look for updated information about the event.


Global Business News XponentialX 

Date: January 31

Location: Wells Fargo, San Francisco, CA

Attendee: Patrick Cacho

The XponentialX event will include a keynote address on global HR and international talent mobility and panel and roundtable discussions on a variety of topics, including immigration compliance, innovative expense management, workforce trends and maintaining a human connection in the digital era.

Find more information here.


If you can’t attend, please be sure to follow CapRelo on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Topics: CapRelo Employees

December Mobility Survey

Posted by Amy Mergler on Tue, Dec 26, 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 of the previous month's survey. 

Below are the results for October's survey and this month's survey questions.

October Survey Results

1. Does your company measure employee engagement for your relocated employees?

Yes: 0%
No: 34%
Don't Know: 67%

2. How does your company measure engagement? (Choose all that apply)

Employee Engagement Surveys: 0% 
Observation of Day-to-Day Employee-Management Interactions: 0%
One-on-One Employee Meetings: 67%
Stay/Exit Interviews: 34%
Employee Net Promoter Score: 0%
Unsure: 34%
Other (please specify): 0%

3. Which of the following have you implemented in your talent mobility program to address employee engagement? (Choose all that apply)

Developed mobility policies that are employee friendly while staying within corporate budgets: 34%
Developing mobility solutions that align with your company's culture and workforce as part of your regular benefits program: 34%
Engaged actively with employees' family members to offer support and assistance: 34%
Worked out tax issues before relocations take place: 67%
Unsure: 0%
Other (please specify): 0%


This month's survey addresses mobility and taxes.  


Create your own user feedback survey

Topics: relocation packages, calculating tax gross up, relocation taxes, employee relocation

What Are the Risk Areas of Business Travel?

Posted by Amy Mergler on Wed, Dec 13, 2017

business traveler.pngThe time and financial constraints associated with rotational or long-term assignments are pressuring many companies to solve their need for global talent mobility with short-term business travel. However, according to research by BAL Corporate Immigration, more than 80 percent of companies do not have formal policies in place to manage, support and monitor their traveling employees. If your company plans to use business travel as a global mobility option, it would make sense to have the global mobility team or a global mobility management company manage this function for compliance and efficiency. A lack of management and oversight places individual employees and companies at risk in the following areas:


Every country has its own visa requirements and restrictions. These specify how long business travelers may stay and what types of activities they may engage in when traveling on specific visa types. For example, a company may issue a business visitor visa that permits stays of up to 30 days for conferences, meetings and training. In general, a breach of these restrictions consists of extending a visit without renewing a visa or engaging in business activities that could be construed as gainful employment or providing services that directly benefit a client company. Unfortunately, managers and employees aren’t always informed about visa restrictions. This can result in ad hoc extensions of short-term visits or business travelers unwittingly participating in business activities that are prohibited.

It’s important to understand the precise conditions for each visa and each country. Especially since an increasing number of countries are tightening border controls, keeping accurate records is key to avoiding penalties for both individuals and employers.

Tax Compliance

Business travel can have significant consequences for tax compliance. The duration of an employee’s visit, the types of professional activities in which he or she engages during that visit and factors pertaining to remuneration need to be assessed to determine whether there’s a reporting requirement in the host country. If so, does this reporting requirement pertain to the employee, the employer or both?

Additionally, employers must be aware of the tax implications of and what creates a Permanent Establishment (PE) in a host country. Tests for determining whether a PE exists will vary by country, but generally the type of work performed and the length of time operating in the host country will be taken into account. It’s important to research and understand the host country’s Permanent Establishment laws to ensure compliance and minimize tax liability risk.

The international tax regulation and compliance landscape is complex. Moreover, considering current political changes in the U.S. and Europe, tax regulation and compliance are likely to keep developing for the foreseeable future. Employers need to ensure they’re always up to date on taxation thresholds and international treaties so they can take action to comply with reporting requirements for their employees and the corporation.


Many managers assume that sending employees overseas has no impact on those workers’ salaries. However, this can be a potential pitfall for both the company and its workforce. Depending on a business traveler’s visa and the length of the stay in the host country, payroll could very well be affected. Employers might have to assume the payroll obligations of the host country, for example by meeting local taxation and social security obligations.

Navigating payroll for business travelers can become an incredibly complicated matter for HR departments to manage.


Most companies establish some form of tracking for business travelers. This is intended to provide legal, HR, payroll and accounting departments with the information necessary to meet immigration, tax reporting and payroll requirements. Tracking data about flights, hotel bookings, rental cars and business expenses charged to a corporate credit card is generally considered to be a normal business practice that doesn’t affect a business traveler’s privacy. However, other tracking methods, such as GPS tracking data and/or collecting data from employee-owned devices can be construed as an infringement on an employee’s right to privacy. This is particularly important in areas like Europe, where individuals enjoy more privacy protection than in the U.S. However, even some U.S. companies find their need to track data conflicting with their corporate privacy policies.


Safety for the business traveler has also become a major concern, as we see rising numbers of terror threats, natural disasters, diseases and other potential dangers. It’s essential for employers to ensure their traveling employees’ safety and well-being. The employer must know where every traveling employee is at all times, and be able to reach them. This can be done by itinerary or by using GPS tracking technology.


Base Erosion and Profit Sharing (BEPS) is a tax planning strategy used by multinational companies where they report or shift profits or income to low-tax or no-tax locations to avoid paying taxes elsewhere. Currently, there is a focus on tax rules and regulations to ensure that profits are taxed where economic activities generating the profits are performed. This has translated into a need for employers to not only track business travelers from a safety perspective, but also from a “purpose perspective.” For example, if an employee traveled to a different country for training, when no profit was generated, there would be no tax liability; however a sales employee traveling to finalize the signing of a new contract may result in the company being required to pay tax on the contract in the country of signing.

Download Our Guide to Managing Business Travelers

Topics: business travlers, business traveler management

Upcoming Relocation Shows and Events - December

Posted by Amy Mergler on Fri, Dec 01, 2017


We will be attending and/or sponsoring the following upcoming events. If you’re attending, look for us and say hi, because it's a great opportunity for us to stay abreast of the latest global relocation trends, as well as develop and strengthen trusted partnerships. 


Bay Area Mobility Management 2017 Annual Holiday Celebration

Date: December 1

Location: Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, CA

Attendee: Patrick Cacho

The BAMM annual holiday celebration will include networking and a silent auction to benefit local charities.


Wisconsin Employee Relocation Council Annual Holiday Lunch Meeting 

Date: December 5

Location: Maggiano's, Wauwatosa, WI

Attendee: Christopher Bloedel

The WiERC holiday lunch will include a tax update and peer discussion on recent trends. This season, the WiERC is teaming with two local families to Adopt a Family. 

Learn more and register for the meeting here.


DC SHRM 2017 Holiday Happy Hour 

Date: December 5

Location: La Tasca, Washington, DC

Attendee: Jean Marotta

The DC chapter of SHRM will ring in the holiday season with a Holiday Happy Hour, including hors d'oeuvres and raffle door prize.

For more information and to register, click here.


WHRMA International Annual Holiday Meeting & Luncheon 

Date: December 5

Location: Gaucho Grill, White Plains, NY

Attendee: Pete Larkin

The WHRMA annual holiday meeting and luncheon will discuss "Mobility: Through the Looking Glass" with keynote speaker, Andrew Walker, Global Mobility Leader, Ernst & Young LLP.


Portland Relocation Council Winter meeting

Date: December 6

Location: World Forestry Center's Miller Hall, Portland, OR

Attendee: Patrick Cacho

The PRC encourages attendees to wear your favorite holiday sweater - prizes will be awarded! In addition to an industry update, panel discussion and "Relocation Dating Game," the PRC winter meeting will include opportunities to support PRC's non-profit partner, JOIN in Portland. 

Find more information and register for the event here.


Greater Cincinnati Relocation Council Quarterly Meeting

Date: December 7

Location: Embassy Suites by Hilton, Cincinnati-Rivercenter, Covington, KY

Attendee: Christopher Bloedel

CapRelo's Christopher Bloedel will be speaking on the panel discussion, "Service Delivery Model - Insource, Outsource or Both?" at the GCRC quarterly meeting. The GCRC will also be collecting donations to benefit Matthew 25: Ministries.

Click here for more information and to register.



Dates: December 11 (Social Event) and December 12 (Meeting)

Social Event: Jefferson Hotel Rotunda, Richmond, VA
Meeting: Hilton Richmond Downtown, Richmond, VA

Attendee: Jean Marotta

The GRRC fall meeting will feature industry updates, a corporate panel, benchmarking session and keynote address by Gian Paul Gonzalez. Separate registration is required for each event.

Learn more about the events and register here.



Dates: December 12 (Mingle) and December 13 (Meeting)

Mingle: Ritz Carlton, Pentagon City, Arlington, VA (Lounge Bar Area)
Meeting: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Washington, DC

Attendee: Jean Marotta

The GWERC meeting will include guest speakers, industry and association panel updates and elections for new GWERC Board Directors. Additionally, attendees can bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys4Tots

Click here for more information about the events and to register.


Dulles SHRM Holiday Party & Dinner Meeting

Date: December 12

Location: Hidden Creek Country Club, Reston, VA

Attendee: Jean Marotta

Register for the event here.


Forum for Expatriate Management Connecticut Chapter MEETING

Date: December 13

Location: KPMG, Stamford, CT

Attendee: Pete Larkin

FEM Connecticut's chapter meeting will focus on the impact of U.S. tax reform on individuals and global mobility programs and will be followed by its annual holiday reception.

For more information and to register, click here.


If you can’t attend, please be sure to follow CapRelo on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Topics: CapRelo Employees

Maternity and Paternity Leave Laws Around the World [2017]

Posted by CapRelo on Wed, Nov 29, 2017

Having a baby and welcoming that new life to the world is a joy for parents. But being able to step away from work to care for the baby can vary significantly depending on your job and where you live. Being that CapRelo is a global mobility company that helps companies and individuals relocate throughout the world, we wanted to take a look at the family leave laws on a global scale.

We felt this was particularly an important subject to cover as this impacts many families involved in the relocation process. Not only do these families have to adjust to their new surroundings, but they also have to adapt to new laws regarding maternity, paternity, and paternal leave, if applicable. For this study, we focused on the family leave laws in the 25 countries with the highest GDP as well as the members of the European Union in order to get a variety of countries throughout the globe. Information was taken from government websites, an ILO report, and

Countries with the best family leave

Consider yourself lucky if you’re in the following countries that provide generous maternity policies: Australia, Poland, Bulgaria, and Sweden. For dads, paternity laws in these countries were some of the best in the world: Finland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Sweden, and Brazil.

Swedish parents are lucky in that they are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a child is born until the age of 8. During 390 days out of 480, they are entitled to 80 percent of their regular wages, and the remainder at a flat rate. Fathers in the Netherlands actively participate in “Papadag” (daddy day), which is a day off of their workweek during paternity leave to spend taking care of their children. The driving force behind this is to promote a better work-life balance and equality in parenthood.

In regards to pay, we were pleased to find that the majority of countries pay 100 percent (or close to) of the wages to the mother and father during their leave.

Countries lacking in family leave

Interestingly, many countries do not have laws that give significant leave time for mothers or fathers. This can be a difficult reality for parents. The United States, for instance, has one of the worst policies in that there is no mandated leave for mothers and fathers. With that being said, maternity and paternity leave is up to the employer's discretion which can be a positive or a negative.

One pattern that was fairly consistent was the lack of leave time for fathers. Paternity leave is almost always lower than maternity leave, but it was surprising to see how little some fathers actually get. According to our research, the following countries have no mandated paternity leave in place for fathers: Japan, Germany, India, Russia, Switzerland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Austria, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, and Slovakia. Some countries, such as Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Korea, and Indonesia, have below-average maternity leave laws.  


Overall, the statistics we found show that family leave laws can vary significantly throughout the world. It’s no secret that this is a passionate and important subject regardless of the country someone lives in. Mothers are almost always allowed longer leaves, but paternity leave has been growing in recent years. Even if you have little control over your next country of residence, it’s vital to understand these policies and take them into consideration. However, no matter the family leave laws, a new baby is a wonderful (if maybe stressful) thing for new parents.

Relocating Employees with Families


Topics: human resources, employee engagement, employee benefits

Develop Policies to Mitigate Risk and Manage Business Travel

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Nov 09, 2017

Back view of businessman at airport with suitcase in hand.jpegIt’s in every company’s best interest to minimize the potential risk associated with business travel. This is best done by developing effective processes to manage business travel and involves the following steps:

  • €Create a dedicated business travel management function. This ensures that the available resources are invested solely in the research, development and management of business travelers.
  • €Create effective policies and processes. For each country, develop policies and processes that govern the various types of business travel and duration of visits. These should be based on up-to-date information about the various visa requirements, tax regulations, payroll issues and privacy policies.
  • €Leverage technology to track employees’ travel data and streamline processes. It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all relevant business travel data is accurately monitored and reported. The wide array of reporting responsibilities makes it challenging to ensure all employee activity is correctly tracked and reported. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent enterprise tools on the market that enable organizations or relocation management companies to automatically track employee travel, as well as evaluate immigration, tax and payroll compliance. Moreover, these tools are constantly updated, which eliminates the possibility of acting on outdated information. By utilizing these automated data tracking solutions and reporting processes, employers can minimize the odds of inaccuracies, omissions or non-compliance issues. It also unburdens employees, who are then free to concentrate on the business at hand.
  • €Integrate the business travel management function into the global mobility program. Develop a range of packages for business travel, each with their own processes, expense budgets and traveler support systems. Include travel eligibility and requirement checklists to minimize complications and make the process as smooth as possible.
  • €Inform managers and employees. Once all necessary policies and processes are in place, develop training sessions to inform managers and traveling employees about the new program and the various packages. Create a business travel information center where managers and employees can look up current information about destinations.

Download Our Guide to Managing Business Travelers

Topics: business travlers, policy development

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