CapRelo Blog

Tax Rates by Country - Global Wages vs. Take-Home Pay

Posted by CapRelo on Wed, Mar 28, 2018

There are precious few certainties in life but as the old saying goes, taxes are one of them. With America’s tax season in full swing, that inevitability is sure to be on the minds of many in the United States.

During this time of the year it is easy to forget that America isn’t the only country where tax considerations loom over the population, as well as how different tax rates and financial realities can vary around the globe.

With that in mind, CapRelo decided to take a look at salaries, taxes and take-home pay from a number of countries all over the world, and to contextualize that information for an American audience. Here’s what we found.

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To get a baseline on how the average citizen in each country can expect to be taxed, it’s necessary to know how much the average citizen makes. CapRelo examined a report from an intergovernmental economic organization listing the average annual salary for the countries we analyzed. After converting local currencies to their equivalent in U.S. dollars, it was possible to assemble the map above, which illustrates how much the average worker can expect to make around the globe. The countries in darker red are nations where workers are compensated the most.

 

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Of course, the taxman will take a cut, and we were able to find the overall percentage of salary that someone making an average wage can expect to pay in taxes in each country. This was done by taking post-tax earnings and dividing them by pre-tax earnings. We felt this was the best way to produce a consistent comparison across countries, given the occasionally complex nature of various tax codes.

 

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Once taxes have been paid, we get a better picture of exactly how much money the average annual wage is for workers around the globe. This chart shows post-tax take-home pay, once again converted to U.S. dollars. Countries in dark red here have the highest take-home pay.

 

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Comparing maps can make it challenging to ascertain the exact scope of tax impact, so we decided to visualize the data an additional way to show how much of the average wage in each country is consumed by taxes.

 

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Many in America comment on how much they have to pay in taxes, so we thought it would be fun to look at how that rate would change in other countries. By taking the average annual American wage and factoring in the rate it would be taxed in other nations, it is possible to see where things could be better or worse. Only ten of the surveyed countries would produce a lower tax bill than Americans already experience, with the rest taking more… at times, significantly so. Bet you never thought you’d be happy with your current taxes!

 

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Finally, CapRelo wanted to provide an even more detailed examination of taxes around the globe. The result features much of the same data that has already been presented, like average annual salary and post-tax take-home pay for every country (and the average American wage), as well as some new information. First is a more detailed breakdown of the specific tax rate as it applies to the average wage in each country, and second is an analysis of purchasing power.

The latter feature utilizes the Big Mac Index, a metric devised by The Economist that takes the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac in two countries to determine the relative value of money in each place. Utilizing this tool, we were able to find out how much the post-tax take-home pay was actually “worth.” As a result, we see that while somewhere like Russia has an average post-tax take-home pay amount equivalent to just $8,456, that money allows someone to buy the same amount of “stuff” as someone with $19,488 in America. On the flip side, Switzerland’s average take-home pay of $84,006 only goes as far as $65,567 would in the United States.

While taxes may be constant, the information above demonstrates how actual cost impact definitely isn’t. Hopefully seeing how taxes compare across the globe—along with the extra two days afforded by this year’s April 17 deadline—takes a little bit of the sting out of filing this year!

Download Talent Mobility & US Taxes: What You Need to Know

 

Topics: relocation taxes, mobility and taxes, taxes

Tax Reform and Transferees: What You Need to Know

Posted by CapRelo on Tue, Feb 06, 2018

Red Ring Binder with Inscription Tax Law on Background of Working Table with Office Supplies, Laptop, Reports. Toned Illustration. Business Concept on Blurred Background. 3d Render..jpegTax reforms in 2018 will have an impact on deductions and property taxes. Here is a brief summary of the primary changes. Please note that individuals should always consult their tax advisors.

Moving Expense Deduction

As of January 1, 2018, movement of household goods, storage and final move travel are taxable to transferees. With the elimination of the moving expense deduction, the "50 mile", "39 week" and "one year" rules as well as the 18 cents per mile vehicle allowance are no longer relevant. This change should be reviewed closely with your mobility management company to fully understand the impact to your organization.

Tax Rates and Withholding

The tax rates are generally lowered, which should reduce the marginal tax rate for employees. The supplemental withholding rate that is used by most companies to withhold on taxable relocation benefits and to calculate gross-up will fall from 25% to 22%. However, with the loss of moving expenses and other deductions, companies will need to manage their gross-up programs carefully, especially with the new tax rates. 

State and Local Income, Sales and Property Taxes

State and local income, sales and property taxes remain deductible, but only up to $10,000 combined. Employees moving into high-tax areas are more likely to be affected.

Mortgage Interest Deduction

The mortgage interest deduction is retained, but the maximum loan amount to be able to deduct was reduced from $1 M to $750,000. Employees moving into high-cost areas are more likely to be impacted by this new threshold for mortgage interest deductions.

Home Sale Capital Gains Exclusion

There were no changes here. Both the House and Senate had proposed changing the required ownership and use as a principal residence to five out of eight years from the current two out of five. That would have certainly impacted relocation with many transfer­ees moving again inside of a five-year window, but fortunately there were no changes regarding Capital Gains on homes.

Tax Brackets and Rates, 2018

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Today's post is brought to you by our friends at Colonial National Mortgage. Click here to download a copy.

Colonial National Mortgage

 

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, mobility and taxes

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 www.caprelo.com

*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

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.  

 

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

Which Relocation Expenses Can Be Excluded from Income Tax?

Posted by Amy Mergler on Fri, Mar 10, 2017

TaxesRegardless of the distance or time of year, relocating for a job is an expensive undertaking. Fortunately, many employers have relocation packages in place that reimburse employees for some, or all, of their moving expenses. Some relocation expenses are excludable from income tax, while others are considered additional taxable income by the IRS.

Learn more about relocation and U.S. taxes in our free guide.

Excluded Moving Expenses

Qualified relocation expenses are not included in an employee’s income. They are paid directly to the employee or to third parties. Excludable expenses paid directly to the employee are noted on the employee’s W-2 form in box 12, while payments made directly to third parties on the employee’s behalf need not be reported on their W-2.

Excludable moving expenses typically fall into two primary categories, household goods and final move expenses. Below are some common costs related to these two categories.

Moving Household Goods

  • Packing and unpacking household goods at the original and new residences
  • Disconnecting, then reconnecting utilities for each home
  • Transporting pets from the original residence to the new location
  • Packing, crating and boxing supplies
  • Transporting personal vehicles to the new location
  • Storage expenses, usually for 30 to 90 days (depending on the policy and individual circumstances)
  • Insurance on the household goods

Final Move Expenses

  • Transportation expenses to physically move the employee and his/her family to the new residence
  • In-transit lodging for the family
  • Mileage expenses for employees traveling by car, but only the first $0.19 per mile in 2017 (varies each year) is excludable from income

To be excludable from income, the employee should take the most direct route to the news home.

Where to Find Information on Excludable Relocation Expenses

Visit the IRS website to find the most up-to-date information on excludable relocation expenses. Specific information on relocation expenses is outlined in IRS Publication 521, Moving Expenses.

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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 expense reimbursement, employee relocation expenses, relocation taxes, employee relocation

December Relocation Survey

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Dec 15, 2016

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.

November Survey Results

1. Does your company offer a lump-sum package for global relocations?

67% of respondents do provide lump-sum packages. 33 % do not or are unaware of the program parameters.

2. What type of lump sum relocation packages do you offer?

33% of repondents provide alternative (partial) lump sum. Another 33% provide managed lump sum. And 34% provide other types of packages.

3. What are your motivations for using a lump-sum program?

33% of respondents were motivated by cost control. 34% were motivated by ease of administration. The remaining respondents were unaware of their companies' motivations for choosing lump-sum packages. 

 

As the New Year approaches and companies start preparing records for the upcoming tax season, this month's survey focuses on relocation and taxes.  

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

Claiming Tax-Deductible Relocation Expenses

Posted by Amy Mergler on Tue, Apr 12, 2016

Tax_Forms.jpgMany potential transferees find that they must turn down an otherwise lucrative job transfer due to the high cost of moving. Some employers choose to underwrite everything from helping an employee list and sell their current home, to handling all transfer-related details – including movers and travel – although not all expenses may be covered or reimbursed. This is where tax deductions come in very handy, enough so that they may make the difference between an employee enthusiastically accepting a transfer offer or turning one down.

For more information on Relocation and U.S. Taxes, download our free guide.

One important note: only those qualified expenses not directly reimbursed by the employer may be deducted. Any reimbursed expenses or those paid directly to a vendor, such as a moving van company, are not deductible but usually are excluded as income. It is helpful for your company to provide this type of relevant tax information to the employee to assist them during tax filing season.

A professional relocation company should be able to guide transferees and employers through the process of determining deductibility.

An employee must meet three basic IRS requirements to consider deducting relocation expenses:

1. Starting Dates to Moving Dates

The IRS permits the deduction of qualified expenses incurred within one year from the time of actually starting work at the new location. Any moving expenses must occur within a year of the starting date to qualify as deductible.

2. Distance from Home and Work

According to the IRS, a new main job location must be at least 50 miles farther from the old home than the former job location was for the old home.

3. Length of Time Worked at Current (or New) Job

The IRS stipulates that employees "must have worked full time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months immediately following arrival in the general area of the new job location. If self-employed, the claimant must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months and for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months immediately following arrival in the general area of the new job location."
 

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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.

Image courtesy of everydayplus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Topics: tax impact of relocation, relocation taxes

Relocation and Taxes: What Are the Employer's Responsibilities?

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Mar 24, 2016

accounting-resized-600.jpgPayment or Reimbursement for Moving Expenses

Any employer-paid reimbursements or payments of an employee's job-related moving expenses are considered income for the employee only to the extent that he or she would not be able to deduct them as expenses. If expenses meet the eligibility requirements under the IRS Code Section 217 and an accounting of expenses are furnished by the employee to his or her employer and any excess of payments or advances over actual expenses are returned, then those amounts are excluded from an employee's income.

For more information on Relocation and U.S. Taxes, download our free guide. 

Employer Deductions

If a company helps the transferee sell his or her home, or buys it outright, that company may also recognize tax savings. It is best to consult with a licensed real estate and tax expert in this area, as there are very strict regulations in place that allow the sale of the home to be recorded as a non-taxable event.

Payroll Taxes and Withholding

In the determination of liability, the employer is usually liable for collecting and paying withholding and payroll taxes on reimbursements of an employee's job-related moving expenses as well as other payouts considered income to the employee. The employer is not liable for the payroll taxes and withholding amounts excluded from an employee's income (such as deductible moving expenses) of if there is reason to believe that the employee can deduct a corresponding moving expense. ("Allowable" is understood to mean that it is a type of deduction that would normally be allowable if a hypothetical employee met all of the criteria for the deduction, not necessarily that a particular employee will in fact take the deduction.)

Tax Forms and Other Records

Employers are no longer required to provide transferred employees with the IRS Moving Expense Form 4782; however, it is still a good idea to provide an itemized listing of all reimbursements made for moving expenses. It would be even more helpful to include reference to other necessary forms as well as other assistance provided in a tax packet, including Moving Expenses Form 3903, which employees must attach to their 1040 tax forms.

Reloc

 

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

IRS Initiates Policy Changes Regarding Tax Reporting for Expats Living Abroad

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Feb 11, 2016

taxes.jpgMoving and living abroad can result in complicated situations—especially where finances are concerned. For the estimated 335,000 expat U.S. citizens who earn an income overseas, it can be even more complicated than for other nationalities, since the United States is the only country that requires its citizens to file overseas income taxes on peril of losing citizenship.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

In 2010, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) was created in order to flush out tax evaders who failed to declare overseas income or capital. According to the IRS, U.S. taxpayers who have signature authority or a financial interest over one or more overseas bank accounts must use Form 8938 to report these assets, and it should be attached to their annual income tax return (typically Form 1040). If the total value is below $50,000 at the end of the tax year, the taxpayer doesn’t have to report the income unless the value exceeded $75,000 at any time during the year. The threshold is higher in some cases and is different for married and single taxpayers. 

In addition to Form 8938, any United States taxpayer with financial interest or signature authority over at least one overseas financial account must file an FBAR form if the aggregate value of said accounts exceeds $10,000. It’s important to realize that the FACTA regulations also apply to U.S. expats who return to their homeland, but who still hold overseas bank or financial accounts. However taxpayers who aren’t required to file an income tax return for the tax year also aren’t required to complete Form 8938.

Additionally, the FACTA reporting obligation also affects taxpaying expats from other countries who are living in the United States. Many immigrants have bank accounts in their homeland, even if they don’t use them after moving to the U.S. As of this year, they need to review their accounts and determine whether they need to be reported. 

Penalties for not complying with the FACTA regulations are severe. The penalty for failure to file Form 8938 is up to $10,000 for failure to disclose, plus an additional $10,000 for each 30 days of non-filing after the taxpayer receives the IRS notice of failure to disclose (max. $60,000). In some cases the IRS may impose criminal penalties as well.  For non-willful failure to file FBAR, the penalty is up to $10,000. If willful, the penalty is up to $100,000 or 50%, whichever is greater, and criminal penalties can also apply.

What makes this so relevant now is that as of this year, the IRS has more stringent methods to enforce these regulations. It has formed alliances with over 100 countries, establishing a requirement for financial institutions in those countries to report any accounts belonging to U.S. citizens, U.S green card holders and U.S. expats.

And that brings us to the other aspect of this situation that makes life for U.S. expats difficult. If a bank fails to report even one single person, the U.S. Department of Treasury could fine the institution as much as 30 percent of its U.S. income. This means that U.S. citizens are high-risk customers, and many banks and other financial institutions around the world are reluctant or unwilling to work with them.

Corporate Relocation Companies Can Help

Fortunately, experienced corporate relocation companies like CapRelo can be of assistance to U.S. expats moving and living abroad. Corporate relocation companies often have a network of banks, lenders and other financial institutions that possess the infrastructure and knowledge to work with U.S. customers. In addition, they can assist in finding international tax specialists who can help ensure expats meet all of their tax reporting obligations.

In conclusion, FACTA certainly makes financial matters more complicated for those living abroad. But by being aware of the reporting requirement and knowing how to find the right kind of help, expats can still have a valuable, enjoyable overseas experience.

 Reloc

 

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, expats

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

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Feb 04, 2016

global_mobility.jpeg

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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