Someone once told me that the responsibility of overseeing relocation is kind of like being told you have to baby sit your kid brother. As long as everything runs smoothly, you can focus on what is important in your world. But, when things start to get a little crazy, the responsibility falls on you, broken lamps and all.
Relocating employees and their employers are facing a tricky tax issue as a result of the home buyer’s tax credit. From April 2008 to June 2010 first time home buyers and non-first time home buyers were able to take advantage of tax credits of up to $8,000 and $6,500, respectively. Surely, a number of employees purchased homes for this reason and likely claimed the credits on that current year’s 1040 tax form (and IRS Form 5405) without thinking much of it.
With the economy still sputtering and the housing market in the dumps, companies are looking for ways to better manage relocation costs and risk. Lately, there has been much debate about which relocation policies are well suited towards the current market. Not surprisingly, fixed free programs have played a role in many of these conversations.
I think most people in the HR and relocation industries would agree with me when I say that cultural adaptation can make or break a relocation – especially when we are working with transferees who are moving to a situation that is the polar opposite of where they are: countryside to city, first world to third world, English to Mandarin, democracy to theocracy, etc. So, it’s essential that we take the time to understand our transferees so that we can create a relocation program that will ease their transition. Of course, we need to know the basics about their financial situation, language versatility, family needs and home preferences, but why not go deeper than that?