Eric began his career in Mobility in 1994, starting in a sales role with Aires and is now their Vice President, East Region and manages sales and operations for their Danbury and Pittsburgh offices. Eric visited the show to discuss his impressive career with Aires and why they are predicting a successful 2021.
Eric has been a lifer in the Mobility industry, though he had other aspirations while in college and wanted to be a lawyer. During college he realized law was not the right fit for him and sought out a position where he could convince people to see things his way, which led him to the conclusion that a sales job was the closest to what he was seeking. By happenstance, he was in the area of Aires’s office in Pittsburgh and in 1994 walked in looking for a job. He found himself fascinated by the work of Aires and as they say, the rest is history. Now 27 years later, he joined us on The View From The Top.
Eric started his journey with Aires in a sales trainee role and excelled through the organization to become Executive Leadership. Aires is celebrating their 40-year Anniversary having started in 1981, mostly as a freight forwarder and evolving into a full-scale RMC, among one of the best in the business. Eric is also celebrating a milestone this year, turning 50 in March.
Regarding the pandemic’s effect on Aires, a fact Eric is proud of is that Aires had zero layoffs and retained all staff through the pandemic. As Eric put it, they went from having 15 offices globally to essentially 600 offices globally with all of the remote Aires employees. Aires was able to get ahead of the pandemic and reached out to clients to inform them of the steps they were taking in handling the rapidly changing situation and placed themselves ahead of any possible issues. Though some of their clients put moves on hold, others actually had their biggest years yet. Eric notes that Aires has a history of growth every year with the exception of 2020. On the other side of that, Aires participated in more RFPs in 2020 than any other year which Eric attributes to companies having more time to review their programs and policies in preparation for the post-pandemic return normal relocation volumes. Eric’s view is that mobility is recession proof - when the economy is good, people are being relocated for assignments and when the economy is bad, people are being moved back home.
When asked about D&I at Aires, Eric states that Ray Kirby, Senior Manager of Talent Mobility at Twitter and former View From The Top guest, led a breakout session on D&I during an Aires Client Advisory Board meeting which promoted them to formalize a D&I committee that Eric is a part of. Aires has made such steps to conduct pronoun training, start ERGs, and include supplier D&I training in addition to Aires staff training. The subject of D&I is also becoming more frequently asked about in the RFPs that Eric sees Aires participating in and feels the steps taken to include D&I education and training company wide, puts them ahead of the curve.
Eric’s faith in Mobility never wavered through the pandemic and in fact, he loves the business now more than before. The pandemic strengthened his admiration of the industry, seeing the camaraderie among everyone working together. He also feels Mobility will always exist regardless of the remote work boom. Though he himself prefers being in the office with his colleagues, he believes that in the future there will be an increase in a hybrid work style between in-office and remote work.
During the pandemic Eric believes that companies became more flexible with policies offered and have tailored them more to the employee and what was needed based on each unique situation. Overall, companies gave more policy offerings not less over 2020. Some policies that he sees continuing an upward trend are Lump Sum and Core-Flex policies.
As Eric states, it’s the clients who dictate where you’re heading in the future. With Aires’s outlook to never look for excuses, always look for solutions, there is no doubt that they will be on the forefront of providing those solutions for many years to come.
And for those of you on social media, keep an eye on Eric’s Facebook around March 11th as you just may spot a photo of him enjoying a nice Tomahawk in celebration of his 50th!
The Immigration Update
by Julia Onslow-Cole at Fragomen1. There are thousands of remote working “ digital nomads “ in the Caribbean with special “ work from home “ visas. The schemes in the Bahamas, St Lucia, Bermuda and Antigua are all very popular. The basic requirement for the Barbados scheme is that you should be earning $50,000 or more a year from an employer based outside the country.2. The remote working scheme in Dubai which was launched last October is also very popular. The basic requirements are that you must earn at least $5,000 per month and have health insurance.3. The Estonia Nomad Permit which was one of the first to be launched after the start of the pandemic is not fully implemented as yet.4. Aside from immigration, there are tax and social security issues to consider with these visas.
The Tax Update
by Pat Jurgens, Director, Global Tax Research and Consulting at AIRINC
Getting ready for Tax Season
Now is a good time to reinforce the fundamentals of a good mobility tax program especially after the year we just went through. Checklist of action items:
- Confirm authorization lists of employees to get tax preparation with your tax provider
- Do you need to provide exceptions for displaced workers or others with unusual circumstances due to COVID?
- Travel and workday data for 2020 – check for potential changes from COVID – new filing requirements?
- Consider both the work location and location of employee’s tax residence.
- Consider if there are special tax concessions due to COVID.
- Review annual wage forms now for any errors
- Are the proper amounts reported by location and withholding taxes – for example, are state wages correct?
- Look for ‘split’ payroll reporting – transitions (repatriations) that happened in 2020.
- Compensation breakdowns and wage statements to the tax provider.
- Goal is avoiding fire drills at the tax deadline –wage forms that need to be corrected last minute or ‘surprise’ tax balances due. Avoid returns that need to be put on extension, and minimize penalties and interest.
Looking into the Tax Crystal Ball
What can we anticipate for tax changes in 2021?
- Tax policy is going in different directions this year – some countries are raising taxes such as Russia with a new progressive tax rate schedule and new top 15% rate. Kenya did tax cuts in 2020, and will revert to higher rates in 2021.
- Others, such as Czechia that I reported on two weeks ago, implementing major tax reform and a reduction in taxes. Croatia also with tax cuts.
- Some countries are not making any major moves, such as reflected in India’s new budget.
- Overall, I expect that taxes will generally increase in the medium term to help fund government budgets stretched thin due to the pandemic. But there will be motivation to provide some tax relief for taxpayers impacted by COVID. The trick will be in the timing and the scope. Who will pay more and who will pay less. Likely taxpayers with higher incomes will pay more tax.
- United States forecast - Tax season is starting late – next week IRS will begin accepting returns
- Not likely we will see postponed deadlines for filing and payment or waivers of penalties and interest charges.
- Last year, COVID was unexpected disruption and was to be temporary. Now this is a new normal so less need for the IRS to provide relief.
- Biden Rescue plan has several tax provisions
- Stimulus checks - $1,400 – probably this will be a 2021 item especially if they change the phaseouts and eligibility formulas
- Expanded child tax credits - $3,000 again probably a 2021 item.
- Budget reconciliation process – simple majority to pass in Senate. Only one budget reconciliation is permitted per fiscal year.
- Biden’s ‘Recovery’ plan likely to have more significant tax changes and will be proposed later this year
- Again, using a budget reconciliation process, but would be applied for the next fiscal year, so any major tax changes from the Recovery plan will be effective likely in 2022.
- That legislation likely this fall – maybe enacted last minute this December as Congress often does prior to the end of the year.
- Recovery plan will likely include tax increases for higher income taxpayers.
- Not likely – A return to and expanded state and local tax (SALT) deduction or a return to deductibility of moving expenses.