Home » Expat Focus Financial Update 22 February 2017

Expat Focus Financial Update 22 February 2017

How US expats can calculate expenses for a new country

For those who would like to become an expat in another country but have concerns over how much they will need to earn, help is at hand.

The Earth Awaits website will enable a potential expat to get a financial picture of the money they will need to live overseas. The information is also useful for non-US expats too, though the information is given in dollars.They simply need to complete a form showing how much their monthly budget is and the size of their family, as well as the location and size of their accommodation.

It’s also possible to tailor the calculation to suit their style of living from ‘very lean’ all the way to ‘opulent’.

The calculator will then deliver a range of destinations to meet their needs and a breakdown of general costs.

The website says it has created the world’s most flexible cost of living calculator which monitors information from more than 600 cities to help people tailor their expectations.

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Call to make tax easier for internationally mobile employees

With the numbers of expats working around the world increasing over the last 10 years, and set to grow even further over the next three according to PwC, there is a demand for international mobile employees to work under a more attractive tax regime.

The call comes from Blick Rothenberg, a professional services firm, which says that worries over tax, social security and pension payments means sending employees abroad is becoming more complex since employers have to deal with several different tax authorities.

This also increases the risk of the expat paying double tax during their employment, says the firm.

They add that there’s a lack of clarity over pension arrangements too, and complex tax treaties between countries often leave expats out of pocket.

The survey of international tax practitioners around the world was conducted by the University of Exeter’s Business School and a spokesman said: “Expats are the people with experience and knowledge who help to make the world economy tick.”

He added that governments should work together on an international and national basis to help simplify tax rules for corporate, employer and personal taxes.

A spokesman for Blick Rothenberg said: “With globalisation and people wanting to work across borders, then international tax rules will have to become a bit different.”

He added that expats have a huge choice of destinations where they can go to work overseas but a big part of that decision will be their calculation of net tax pay.

Expats reveal the most boring jobs

While heading overseas to take up a job offer is an exciting period for all expats, not all of their jobs are exciting, according to a survey.

Research by Emolument.com, a salary benchmarking site, questioned expats in 55 countries and found that the most bored expats at work are to be found in the UAE and Italy, where 83% of respondents admitted they were fed up.

However, a spokesman for the site said professionals in the UAE are more likely to tolerate a boring company or job, even when working six days a week because of the ‘very high salaries’.

The survey found that in the Italian economy, many expats and locals are happy having a job and don’t have the confidence to quit no matter how dull their working day is.

The firm also says there is surprisingly little difference between the boredom levels being experienced between chief executives and their junior workers.

While two in three entry-level workers say they are bored at work, 65% of executives also report boredom.

According to the survey, the most boring jobs in the world are legal jobs, for 81% of respondents, project management for 78% and support functions for 71%.

In addition, 68% of people working in finance control admitted to being bored followed by consulting and accounting for 67% – the same figure that was recorded by those working in financial services and banking.

The sectors reporting the lowest levels of boredom are in research and development while the most motivated employees are in Switzerland which had just 51% of responders admitting to being bored at work.

Best countries for UK expats

The best countries for UK expats to emigrate to have been revealed in a new report.

1st International Removals says it looked at 18 countries and compared average net incomes, GDP per capita, real wages and income tax levels as well as education and property prices.

In top spot is Singapore which had the most efficient health care system and the lowest crime rate.

Singapore is also rated best for education and take home pay is around twice that for British workers with a lower top-level rate for income tax.

Next on the list is Canada and Australia is third, followed by the UAE and USA.

The top 10 is made up with Norway, Ireland, then Germany and New Zealand and Japan.

Expats targeted in finance roadshow

The number one question from bankers in London when meeting a French delegation trying to lure them to Paris to boost their finance industry was how much income tax they would have to pay.

A recent roadshow attracted more than 80 representatives from financial businesses and banks who are looking at the attractiveness of the French capital should Brexit force them to reconsider relocating some financial activity to continental Europe.

The French financial sector says it could attract more than 10,000 expat jobs though potential firms looking at moving have raised issues over the country’s tax rules and labour laws.

A spokesman for the roadshow said: “The expat regime in France has improved dramatically but there are concerns over labour flexibility.”

Indeed, the French government has brought in tax concessions for expats looking to move from London to Paris and most financial firms are yet to make a decision about relocating. HSBC has said it will move some jobs from London because they have the necessary financial licences already in place.

New bankruptcy law in UAE unveiled

Workshops for small and medium sized enterprises in the United Arab Emirates are being planned to inform the business community about the country’s new bankruptcy law, particularly for expats.

The move follows reports that growing numbers of smaller firms are struggling to find credit lines from a bank since there was a huge surge in defaults after oil prices fell in the middle of 2014.

In addition, many businesses that were owned by expat owners folded after they fled the country to avoid their debts and potential criminal charges because there were no insolvency laws.

The SME sector is an increasingly important part of the UAE’s economy and accounts for 60% of the country’s gross domestic product.

In other financial news…

It appears that authorities in Kuwait are preparing to crack down on expats who are working in more than one job without authorisation. News outlets say more than 130 expats from the administrative and financial sectors are believed to be holding other jobs in the country – though critics say statistics reveal that the numbers will be much higher.

Bahrain has revealed that 17% of jobs in the public sector are held by expats though that’s been in steady decline over the last five years. Parliament has been told that the expats are on short-term contracts and when these are due for renewal, checks are made to ensure there are no suitable Bahrainis available for the position.

Expat spouses living in the Netherlands can now undertake a unique course to boost entrepreneurship and deliver a business idea. It’s being run by the Maastricht School of Management with the aim of helping expat spouses set up a business and make it a success.

Expats in Bahrain will find life becomes more expensive from 1 March when electricity and water bills begin to rise. The tariffs will increase over the next two years until they are double their current rates.

Tax experts are predicting that the GCC’s VAT roll-out at 5% from next year will quickly rise to 10% within five years to help the region’s countries meet falling oil revenues. They say that once compliance issues and laws are finalised, the GCC will begin increasing the VAT rate on a range of goods and services.

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