Increasingly, US companies are sending employees on what amount to short international assignments, and they may not even know it. These may be formal short-term assignments with written agreements or could simply be “international commutes” involving occasional business trips to one or more countries.
In my last post, I described a typical scenario involving a US company sending a US national to Germany on an assignment lasting between one and two years. I also gave an overview of German tax-residency laws under the US-Germany double tax treaty. In part two of this two-part series, I’ll discuss drafting an expat assignment letter and how to ensure that your company fulfills both its US and German tax obligations during your expat’s stay in Germany.
No matter how thoroughly you prepare yourself for an international assignment — through guidebooks, websites, seminars and other means — you’ll almost certainly be surprised, and occasionally baffled, by everyday life in a new country.
This three-part blog series is intended to help others plan for their own expat assignments. In this post, I’ll address some important factors to consider and steps to take prior to going on an assignment.
Instead of employer concerns such as corporate permanent establishment triggers and local employment laws, this blog series will focus on how to prepare for an expat assignment, along with some cultural (as opposed to legal or regulatory) factors you’ll want to consider beforehand.