Hot Topics, Relocation, Taxation

Tax Reform Eliminates Moving Expense Deduction-The Impact on Corporate Relocation

The finals days of 2017 saw the House/Senate pass the most sweeping change to US tax code in decades;  the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.   The act, now signed into law, includes changes that will impact relocation and talent mobility programs.

Perhaps the biggest change to the tax code is the elimination of the exclusion/deduction for moving expenses such as the shipment of household goods, storage, and final move costs.   For corporations that gross up for taxable reimbursements, this will result in thousands more in tax gross-up dollars per transferring employee. Written policy language will also require revision along with necessary adjustments to relocation budgets to allow for the increased cost of tax gross up.  The average company cost for moving/storing household goods of transferring employees and final move is over $14,500.  It is important to remember that corporations can still deduct moving expenses it pays to or on behalf of employees.

Prior to passage of the Tax Reform Bill certain moving expenses were considered excludable/deductible if certain criteria were met. The criteria included meeting the time and distance tests.  The transferring employee needed to commence work in the new job (at the new work location) and work full-time for at least 39 weeks within the first 12 months after the move.  He/she also needed to demonstrate that the new place of employment was at least 50 miles away from the old home than the old place of employment.   The new tax reform law effectively negates the need for the above criteria since moving expenses are no longer deductible/excludable.

 Additional Relocation-Related Tax Reform Implications

  • The mortgage interest deduction was reduced to $750,000 from $1,000,000 for mortgages originating on or after December 15, 2017. This is likely to affect transferring employees looking to purchase homes in higher cost of housing areas.  Recruiting talent to relocate to these areas could become problematic.
  • The state and local tax deduction is now capped at $10,000 in 2018 through 2025. This again could impact employees transferring into higher tax states as the cap will decrease the ability to deduct these items.
  • Tax Rates and Income Brackets:  The law’s seven federal tax brackets will now have the following rates:

Relocation America International is actively working with our clients and prospects to insure their programs are fully compliant with the new tax law and relocation policies are updated to reflect the new tax reality.

The above information is for general information only and is not presented as tax advice. Please consult with your tax advisor prior to making decisions and taking any action.  For more information contact us at info@RAInternational.com or visit www.RAInternational.com

Taxation

Standard Mileage Rates for 2018 Up from Rates for 2017

The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2018 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

About Relocation America International

Relocation America International is a full service relocation management company dedicated to providing innovative relocation services, value added support, and superior customer service to clients relocating families domestically and internationally. Visit http://www.rainternational.com for more information about our services or contact us at info@rainternational.com.

Taxation

Relocation Tax Gross Up 101

thWhat is tax gross up?  A tax gross up means the company has increased an employee’s pay, bonus, or any other taxable income so the employee doesn’t actually pay his/her own (estimated) tax. If they are told they are getting a million dollar bonus, the tax gross up means they actually get a check for $1 million after taxes.  As most relocation costs are considered income to the transferee and subject to tax, tax gross up has the potential to greatly increase a corporation’s relocation cost.

Tax gross up is a legal business practice. If it is not done correctly, it can result in an audit and can bring adverse affects on your transferring employee and your corporation. An incorrectly filed tax gross up could mean employees might have to file a tax extension. In some cases, they might need to file an amended tax return owing to wrong W-2 statements.  It’s advisable to hire services from a third party relocation management company that offers gross up tax assistance.

Gross-up/tax assistance on taxable relocation expenses is not required by the IRS; gross-up is a benefit that a company chooses to give to transferees who qualify. Most relocation policies offer some sort of tax assistance to transferees so their out-of-pocket tax costs due to the relocation are eliminated or reduced.  One thing to keep in mind is that the gross-up payment itself also is taxable to the employee and subject to withholding and payroll tax. Therefore, to fully tax protect the employee, the gross-up must itself be “grossed up,” and the gross-up of the gross-up must be grossed up, and so on.

There are a few different methods used to calculate the gross up (inverse method, true up and simple method) and depending on how a company calculates the gross up, an employee may still end up owing money at tax time.  Below is a comprehensive explanation of how each method applies to income.  Managements generally maintain that the tax gross-up is a valuable tool for hiring and retaining talented executives. It is generally accepted within the relocation industry that transferees should not have to absorb the stress of relocation and suffer financially as well.

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