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68: Legal Pros & Cons of Working from Home Post-Pandemic
Episode 6826th October 2021 • Taxgirl Podcast • Kelly Phillips Erb
00:00:00 00:37:58

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PWC recently announced it’s allowing its 40,000 client-facing employees to work remotely from anywhere in the US. Joining companies like Facebook and Allstate, more and more employers are shifting to permanently remote models to attract and retain top talent. But what are the tax and legal implications of additional jurisdictions, employee schedule flexibility, and changes to company infrastructure?

91% of job-seeking Americans now expect flexibility to work from home. But what are the long term impacts of a large scale remote workforce, for both the employee and the employer?


On today’s episode of the Taxgirl podcast, Kelly is joined by Nishant Mittal to chat about what the widespread work-from-anywhere shift will really mean for employers and employees. Nishant is the SVP and GM of Topia’s Business Travel solution responsible for strategy and growth. Nishant joined Topia as part of its acquisition of Monaeo, a tech company he co-founded and led. He is a published author with publications in machine learning and image processing, and leading peer-reviewed journals. He has a BS in Computer Engineering, an MS in Biomedical Engineering, and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.


Listen to Kelly and Nishant talk about the pros and cons of remote work:

  • Many companies and tax professionals are talking about this buzzy idea of remote work, and how it fits into a long term workforce model. What are some of the details and various models businesses are considering now?
  • Is it fair for companies to be promising permanent remote work benefits, or is it a model that could be dialed back in the future? Nishant discusses the flux in labor and employee movement right now, and how offering remote work has become a strategic issue.
  • What kinds of concerns do employers have about shifting to a more remote workforce?
  • From remote work, to hybrid work, to flexible scheduling, what are the pros and cons to each of the different models companies are considering? There are many gray areas, Nishant explains, especially when it comes to all different models of “hybrid work.”
  • How does jurisdiction play into remote work, and where does tax law come into play? What are the tax reasons that employers may not want to offer fully remote work, meaning allowing their employees to work from anywhere in the world? 
  • The employee perspective: It is not clear that employees understand the impact of what working from a different jurisdiction would mean, particularly from a tax perspective. 
  • The employer perspective: In a post-Wayfair world, doing business across state lines without a brick-and-mortar home base is the new normal. Employees don’t always consider how working from another state (or country) may impact the tax liability of their employer. 
  • Home office deduction is currently only claimable by small business owners and independent contractors, not by W-2 employees. If this doesn’t change, how might that impact the remote work demand? After payroll, real estate is usually the second largest cost for employers. Nishant suggests we may see employers adjust compensation for remote employees to offset home offices, since they likely won’t be paying as much overhead for company office space.
  • Many companies, particularly startups and tech companies, became infamous pre-pandemic for having flashy perks and company culture benefits in their office space. Where does Nishant see those accommodations evolving, and how might company culture take a turn with a primarily remote workforce?
  • In order to accommodate labor laws, will companies have to restrict jurisdiction changes, or even implement systems of employee tracking? Nishant shares some fascinating stats from HR professionals and employees on self-reporting and tracking employee’s work footprint.
  • In regards to compliance, how can small and midsize companies plan for these kinds of changes? Nishant shares his plan of attack for strategic, proactive planning when it comes to offering hybrid and remote work benefits to employees. 
  • A lot of companies say their people are their most valuable assets. How can they protect and provide for their staff (while so many of them are eager for remote opportunities), while also maintaining compliance across various jurisdictions?

More about Kelly:


Kelly is the creator and host of the Taxgirl podcast series. Kelly is a practicing tax attorney with considerable experience and knowledge. She works with taxpayers like you every day. One of the things that she does is help folks out of tax jams, and hopefully, keep others from getting into them.

You can find out more about Kelly here and you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.

To subscribe to the podcast (it's free!) using Apple, Spotify, or your favorite listening app, click here.

 

Links:

Kelly’s Website – Taxgirl

Nishant’s Twitter -- @nysh28

Nishant’s LinkedIn -- Nishant Mittal

Additional Resources -- Topia

Links