Major tax changes took place effective this year and relocation was significantly impacted. These changes are at the forefront of driving current relocation trends—and this has been verified through recent feedback and policy changes from the Relocation Center’s clients.
Although the tax impact is the most talked about current trend/change, there are other significant trends as well. Some other trends are as follows; virtual office impact, more relocations and smaller relocations, technology impact and finally, spousal employment assistance,
What are the factors impacting the design of relocation policies?
2017 Tax Reform Impact - One of the biggest occurrences in decades to impact relocation came with the recent tax reform. Here are the highlights.
▪ 50 mile plus test no longer applies
▪ Final trip expense reimbursement
▪ Relocation auto mileage reimbursement rate eliminated
Basically, Moving and Storage related costs, paid on behalf of the employee, are now taxable to that employee. Should the company gross-up those costs to bring the employee “whole”? This can be a large burden to the employee. In a recent ERC survey, over 60% of companies have already decided they will gross-up the newly taxable items. Regarding the 50-mile, 39-week and 1-year tests; should those just be scrapped? Even though these tests no longer apply for IRS deductions most companies have left them in their policy to encourage employees to complete their relocation in a timely manner. Likewise, since the mileage rate is eliminated, and any reimbursed amount would be taxable, should the company simply go with the standard business mileage reimbursement? All of these are significant factors that need to be considered by the corporation.
Companies are facing challenging times with the tax reform and other changes in the industry. They are forced to consider alternative approaches. Given the challenges with which we’re currently faced, all stakeholders have an integral role in achieving it.
As we explore relocation trends and challenges with our clients, it’s clear that many “traditional” practices are on their way out, while some practices are just emerging. Companies and their relocating employees have little experience with them. Contact your Relocation Center representative for more details and solutions on current relocation trends.