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Mark Your Calendar! Important Tasks for International HR

April 1, 2000
Related Topics: Managing International Operations, Finance/Taxes, Featured Article
These days, all companies are having a tough time managing their global operations, whether they've just entered global business or they've been at it since the dawn of time. This is not only because technology has changed the way we work in general, but because there are so many hoops to jump through to do it right. This has never been so true for HR, particularly global HR.

To help HRpros focus on crucial areas of the global HRfunction, Alan Moidel, senior manager of international assignment services at Deloitte & Touche LLP, identified 10 major planning and processing activities that HR executives who are involved with international assignments need to address. The activities include:

  • assignment and cost planning
  • candidate selection
  • assignment terms and condition documentation
  • relocation processing and vendor management
  • immigration processing
  • cultural and language orientation/training
  • compensation administration and payroll processing
  • tax administration
  • career planning and development,
  • handling of spouse and dependent matters.

"It's easy to get overwhelmed when you consider [these] complex tasks," says Moidel. "Yet every one of these activities is important to maximize the administration of your global assignees, whether you are dealing with newly assigned/repatriated employees or those employees currently on assignment."

His advice: Get organized, and plan carefully.

Preparing a month-by-month planning calendar of the many financial/tax considerations which are incorporated into your international human resources program -- and making the commitment to follow through each month -- can prove to be a great asset for executives who want to stay on track, he says. The following calendar of activities, prepared by Deloitte & Touche, provides a good guideline:


  • Finalize taxable income reporting and tax forms for assignees in calendar year-end countries (such as W-2s for U.S. assignees)
  • Issue year-end tax forms (such as W-2s, T-4s, etc.)
  • Finalize tax provider service lists
  • Update tax tables and hypothetical information such as personal income estimates and open enrollment/flex benefit changes and distribute new hypothetical tax calculations to assignees
  • Review and update compensation tables and exchange rates


  • Process corrected W-2s
  • Organize/followup on performance appraisal processing
  • Process annual bonuses/determine hypo tax implications


  • Organize/follow-up on merit planning process
  • Catch up on invoices and T&E processing
  • Distribute service quality survey questionnaires to assignees
  • Start new projects to be done during the year
  • Process quarterly tax payments and filings


  • Process salary actions/update hypo tax calculations and distribute to assignees
  • Process lump sum vacation/R&R payments
  • Process tax return extensions
  • Process first quarter foreign location payment information


  • Compile and distribute service quality survey results to employees
  • Conduct continuous improvement/benchmark policy and process reviews
  • Review candidates for future assignments


  • Develop preliminary final gross-up list
  • Process tax return extensions and payments
  • Review totalization agreements and then apply for extensions if they're required


  • Process quarterly payments
  • Conduct vendor quality reviews


  • Administer home leaves
  • Process school payments
  • Finish projects/finalize testing and implement information system changes


  • Issue instructions to global affiliates on upcoming year-end reporting requirements
  • Issue preliminary gross-up information letters


  • Process quarterly tax payments and filings


  • Send out reminder to all foreign locations for year end reporting
  • Audit foreign location payment submissions/follow-up as necessary


  • Finalize gross-up processing and issue letters
  • Process imputed income (personal use of company car/airplane, group life insurance)
  • Finalize foreign location expense reporting

SOURCE: Deloitte & Touche, International Assignment Services.

Workforce, April 2000, Vol. 79, No. 4, pp. 72-74.

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