Workia Knowhow

7 essentials for Global Mobility budgeting & planning

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We all know the importance of budgeting and planning. No one likes unexpected surprises! In the world of mobility where we might be responsible for movers across multiple locations, there are some extra things that we need to consider. 

1. Policy

Have you considered if you need a formal policy or policies to communicate to your mobile employees?  Policies help address business objectives, employee expectations and market opportunities. They detail a company's relocation benefits and provide an overview of who is eligible for which, creating a standard, equitable approach for the business. 

2. Cost projections

This is one of the most effective ways to work out what you need to budget. Yet many organisations rely on something rough or don’t do it at all. An accurate cost projection will help identify all the costs, including the less obvious ones like employer social security. A cost projection also acts as a point of reference for any unexpected budgetary changes and conversations with the employee and stakeholders. 

3. Which entity is paying?

It is all well and good knowing the cost of a move – but do you know who is bearing that cost and do they know too? Often, a destination country will bear the cost of a mover who is working in their business - but what about a local-to-local transfer who is moving because they want to?  If they create an employer social security cost, or if the local entity needs to provide a pension for them, has that entity agreed to bear the cost? Has the home and host transfer pricing team been involved and identified any reporting considerations?  

4.  Have you communicated with all relevant teams about the move?

A corporate tax deduction may be available in the country in which the person is working. Ensuring this deduction is “matched” to the entity bearing the remuneration cost is important – otherwise the deduction may be denied.  There can be costs associated with immigration and employment law too.  

5.  What cost centre do the charges belong to?

Those responsible will want to accrue for costs coming.  If there are “lagging” payments that need to be made, for example relocation costs and payment of foreign taxes, where applicable, is whoever is paying this aware so that it is in their budget?  This can be particularly complicated where there is deferred remuneration such as stock or performance related bonuses. For these a conversation about what the team need to know in order to accrue for these costs is important. 

6.  Did you have business travellers or remote workers during the year?

Often the answer for a single business trip is that there is no tax or social security cost in the county being visited. However, the trips need to be looked at in the aggregate – as multiple trips may well trip someone into local tax or social liability – both for employee and employer.  For remote workers are you aware of how you are treating expenses associated with the employee working remotely and have you communicated your policy? You don’t want to be in the position where the mover thinks you are paying for something, and you think they are! 

7. Will you need to advance tax payments to movers? 

Sometimes a mover might temporarily end up with a cash flow issue, where they are required to pay tax in both home and host locations and the refund through tax credit comes after they have had to pay the host taxes. This may be the case for a shorter term move between 6 and 12 months.  Often in these cases the business will advance them the tax money. Which entity is committing to this? 


Often it is as a company approaches its year end that planning and budgeting begin in earnest. While budgeting and planning are not always the most exciting of tasks, some degree of discipline and advance thinking is essential if you want to make sure you, your employees and the business are not surprised by unexpected costs. You don’t want mobility to get a reputation as being too unpredictable and expensive so that its value is overshadowed!  

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and may not reflect the opinions or views of Workia. Always seek professional advice based on actual circumstances before acting.

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