International assignments and business visitors

The management of international employee assignments and Short Term Business Visitors (STBV) can be challenging and carry significant financial risks for your business.  Whether your business is sending an employee overseas for the first time, or has a history of doing so, our International assignment experts can provide end-to-end support for both your business and your assignees.

We are able to draw on the local expertise and knowledge of the BDO international network with 1,500 offices in 162 countries. Our approach is to support to both your business and your assignee.  Our advice will help you structure assignments in the most cost efficient manner. Our tools will help you manage your global assignee population. Our assignee assistance will help your employees comply with their obligation while on assignment.

Our International assignment and expatriate tax specialists use and provide a Global Assignment Management System. This user-friendly platform allows companies and assignees to access, monitor and communicate all relevant data. We also we provide regular updates on expatriate tax developments that could impact your business and assignees via our Global Expatriate Services Newsletter.

Our team also provide advice and a technology platform for managing compliance and tax issues for business visitors.

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International Assignment services

Pre-assignment planning

From the outset of a potential assignment, our team can help you design, develop and refine your global mobility policy and then draft assignment letters. We can also advice on your tax policy and assignment structuring to ensure you have the optimal tax position that makes the most of expatriate tax concessions. Our cost projection services enables you to quantify and minimise the costs of your global mobility programme. We will also provide guidance to ensure you comply with your obligations as an employer and manage withholding tax and social security liabilities.

Assignee assistance services

Working in another country can be both exciting and daunting for an employee. Meeting their new local personal tax obligations is unlikely to be top of their agenda.  We provide orientation briefings to assignees to help them understand their tax obligations. We can also provide registration and a tax return preparation service to make meeting obligations as straightforward as possible.

Reconciliation calculations and special arrangements

To ensure that tax policy commitments are met we provide a tax reconciliation service, ensuring any relevant tax liabilities or refunds are managed and funds returned to or paid by the appropriate party. 

Beyond this we recognise that not all assignment arrangements will be straightforward and as such we offer a Customised Payroll Solutions service which can aid employers with the following items: -

  • Set up of payroll in new locations
  • Preparation of shadow or split payrolls
  • International Payroll management
  • Analysis of the taxability of wages and benefits by jurisdiction
  • Payroll compliance and cost management reporting

Short Term Business Visitor reporting and compliance

There has been gradual shift away from long-term assignments. Employees will, instead, move at short notice and for much shorter periods of time. They will not change residency or move home. This is often driven by specific projects or tasks. These business visitors have been joined by a growing number of business people who will ‘commute’ across international borders. This represents no less of a challenge for your business as you may be required to report on business visitors and travellers by BEPS legislation and local tax authorities. 

Tracking business travellers and handling any related compliance issues can become very complicated. Failing to do so carries high risks and potential costs to your business. Robust tracking is essential as: -

  • BEPS legislation and Country by Country reporting requirements need to be considered to align transfer pricing practices with value creation
  • Revenue authorities will penalise business travellers for non-compliance
  • Business Visitor reporting is necessary in certain countries

Business Visitor reporting

The UK has led the way in requiring businesses to have arrangements in place to manage their business visitors. Your business will need to have a Short Term Business Visitor Agreement in place for business visitors if they intend to take advantage of treaty reliefs. There is an annual reporting requirement as well as an Annual PAYE Scheme for individuals falling outside the eligibility rules for these arrangements.

Other countries are now following the UK lead, and both Canada and Ireland now have reporting requirements in place in relation to business travellers.

BDO QuickTrip

BDO QuickTrip is a technology platform that tracks the movement of your global business travellers. Backed by our expatriate tax specialists in over 162 countries, Quicktrip;

  • Provides an easy to use smartphone app for management of business travellers
  • Enables tracking of business traveller movement via GPS or manual entry of trips
  • Enables a variety of management reports
  • Provides a series of tax, social security and immigration alerts to warn of unintended liabilities


Watch our webinar on the global mobility related tax opportunities and challenges that a business and its assignee workforce may face from spending time in Africa.

Global mobility tax related opportunities and challenges it potentially faces when assigning employees to any given African country either on a short or long-term basis can be complex. We will be unpacking such opportunities and challenges in this latest virtual clinic webinar.

This session will be run by James Hourigan, Global Employer Services Tax Partner, who leads our Africa Advisory Service Desk based in London, which helps UK businesses successfully navigate their entry or expansion into the African Market.

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