Expat Assignment Planning & Compensation Structuring



Not only big multi-nationals send employees abroad. Many small and virtual companies also have US employees all over the world.

Both the company and the employee can save on taxes with proper expat assignment planning and compensation structuring. Furthermore, an attractive tax-optimized compensation package attracts great mobile talent.

Expat assignment planning considerations


Employee mobility can be quite complex and varied, depending on the countries involved and the length of assignment.

Typical considerations for a successful expat assignment include:

  • Short-term vs long-term assignment
  • Timing of departure and repatriation
  • Assignment cost projections
  • Tax treaties
  • Home and host country taxes
  • Home and host country compensation, withholding and payroll reporting requirements
  • Global equity (stock options, RSU)
  • Business travel
  • Reimbursement policies

When sending employees abroad it is paramount to have a clearly defined expat tax program, whether it is a tax equalization package or tax protection. Furthermore, the company needs procedures in place to explain to the expat employees about their tax filing obligations abroad and how they will differ from working in the US. 

Employees need to be aware of the tax and reporting compliance while living abroad, such as reporting foreign bank accounts, foreign tax credits and the foreign earned income exclusion. Moving abroad is a big step in general, and many employees feel overwhelmed with this transition, so it is important to make sure they are comfortable navigating these tax issues.

For a small company or one with an emerging expat population, expat assignment planning can be overwhelming.

Professional mobility services often focus on big companies with the accompanying big cost. We are a small global company ourselves and understand your needs and challenges.

Our expat assignment planning services


At Global Expat Advisors we help you develop an assignment plan that suits your business needs, and a compensation structure that attracts mobile talent. We review the applicable tax treaties and host country requirements for you and advise you on options for structuring the assignment. With hypothetical tax estimates and cost projections, we help you plan every aspect of sending employees abroad.