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Into the 21st Century: Assignment Documentation goes Online

CompassTAX - Sept 2005

By Diana Matwichuk, CompassGUIDES Tax Specialist

Imagine this. Assignees access assignment tax procedures for their host country from a secure website. Assignment policy changes no longer require international distribution of hardcopy documentation. Assignment policy and information is kept completely current online for immediate access by assignees anywhere in the world.

At CompassTAX, we have been offering clients a gateway to their own secure Online Assignment Guide (OAG) via our website. With this issue of CompassPOINTS, we invite readers to access our OAG demo.

What is the OAG?

Our OAG concept is geared to the assignee and accompanying family members, to provide them with accurate and current information about their international assignment, as well as emergency contacts. Immediate links to company Help Desks and internal newsletters leave the assignee feeling connected to answers and information.

OAG also acts as a recruitment aid for the assignment, as employment letters and relevant policies for the host country can be made readily available on the OAG and shown to candidates in the interviews, creating the impression of a highly-organized, progressive and needs-sensitive corporation. In today’s global talent war, it is currently difficult to recruit talent and the OAG may facilitate that process.

How it Works

The OAG was designed to be hosted on our website, with access from our CompassGUIDES home page (www.compassguides.ca), although it could easily be transferred to a multi-national company’s website. The login on our Home Page acts as a gateway to a secure environment where assignment policy and assignee checklists can be published.

Benefits to the MNC

Online documentation benefits the MNC both immediately and in the long term. Of primary importance is the fact that the OAG provides assignment documentation, when there often is none (see our previous CompassPOINTS article Don’t Worry, we will do the Paperwork Later: the Unpublished Relocation Policy).

At CompassTAX, we take pride in clarity and detail. Assignment documentation, particularly if it is hurriedly pulled together, can be unintelligible, and this can lead to serious misunderstandings between the assignee and the corporation. With an OAG, your company has the assurance that assignment documentation is thorough, clear and current, and assignees are satisfied that their answers are a few keystrokes away.

The OAG relieves the Assignment Manager from having to answer many unnecessary questions, as the availability of easily-accessible information online satisfies the demands of even the most detail-oriented employee. This is significant for companies for which the average yearly relocation volume is upwards of a 1000 employees. In this way, the OAG ultimately frees up time for assignment managers to devote effort to their jobs.

With web-based documentation, the company and assignee can take advantage of significant tax savings through awareness of assignment tax policy, a direct result of widespread communication of that policy to assignees. (for example, social security tax. See previous CompassPOINTS article: Social Security Taxes – Assignment Planning for Success)

How to Access the OAG Demo

From the CompassGUIDES Home Page (www.compassguides.ca), click Demo.

While the menu bar items are not operational on our demo, you can take a tour of the Site Map.

In Summary

Assignment documentation is an important communication vehicle, and its provision online benefits everyone. In fact, in a web-based world, it is almost expected. Our CompassGUIDES OAG offers multi-national companies the opportunity to provide ease of access to assignees and incorporate clarity and detail into assignment planning.

Contact Us

At CompassTAX, we develop cost-effective assignment tax programs for Canadian companies sending employees around the world and bringing international consultant expertise to their Canadian projects. These Assignment Tax Programs provide detailed advanced tax planning, including policies, procedures and employment contracts, which serve to minimize costs and mitigate any risk of litigation.

CompassTAX™ also offers clients with international assignees pre-departure and re-entry tax planning with a view to minimizing tax and providing experienced tax representation with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). CompassTAX™ specializes in all areas of cross-border taxation for consultants coming to Canada temporarily, Canadians moving back to Canada, and individuals living outside Canada with Canadian business ties.

The author wishes to thank Peter Simpson, CA for his contribution to this article .