How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

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MikeZ
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How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by MikeZ »

So some backstory.

I've worked remote for the past 9 months at my new job. My location at the time of hire was no where near a company office. During the initial interview process my hiring manager was very direct in that 'I could work from anywhere'.

Since then I've split my time between two homes and about 4 short term rentals. My boss knows and has no problem with this. We've been thinking about buying an RV too.

I had a call from my boss today saying that she heard from HR my that 'My home address needs to be accurately reflected in the system'. Now as a practical matter, I don't know how you even list a short term rental without mail service as an address. I just don't want to rock the boat too much but want to know how to approach this in a way that does not make me stand out too much.
sailaway
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by sailaway »

What is the legal residence you use for taxes, DL, voting registration, etc?
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MikeZ
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by MikeZ »

Florida.
Dude2
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by Dude2 »

Wouldn't it be convenient to get yourself a PO Box at a local post office or UPS store?
Henceforth I’ll bear Affliction till it do cry out itself, “Enough, enough,” and die.
tim1999
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by tim1999 »

Maybe get one of those UPS store mailboxes in the state of your taxes, drivers' license, etc. that has an address that looks like an apartment address? Like 5000 Boglehead Boulevard, #115. Instead of a post office box where it is obvious it is not an actual residence. My company's HR system won't let you use a USPS PO Box, it requires a physical address, but it will let you get away with one of those UPS store mailbox addresses.
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MikeZ
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by MikeZ »

Dude2 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:42 pm Wouldn't it be convenient to get yourself a PO Box at a local post office or UPS store?
As a practical matter. I am unsure if I spend 4 weeks somewhere in a short term rental, if I'm going to have to bother to setup a new mailing address, etc. I have no problem using my Florida residency for everything I need to do. The issue is just with not wanting to make noise needing to update my address a dozen times a year.
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mmmodem
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by mmmodem »

Either give HR the address where you live most of the year or the address that is most permanent. I lived in 5 different places at my last job. I gave them my parents address knowing I would likely move several times during employment. This was in the same state so there were no tax considerations. Which is why I think your employer is asking. So that they withhold the correct state tax if any.
hookemhorns
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by hookemhorns »

You mentioned that you travel quite a bit and stay at ST rentals - are those all within the same state? If you’re splitting time across multiple states it could get very complex for tax purposes which HR probably wouldn’t like.

If it’s all within the same state, just give HR whatever address you use when filing your taxes and registering to vote and don’t volunteer too much info about your travels. I would avoid using a UPS location or similar, that might be considered deceptive especially if HR finds out about it later.

If in doubt you should call HR and ask. Better to CYA than give them something to use against you later.
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FiveK
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by FiveK »

MikeZ wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:48 pm I have no problem using my Florida residency for everything I need to do. The issue is just with not wanting to make noise needing to update my address a dozen times a year.
Then can you simply not update your address, and just leave it as the Florida residence?
UpperNwGuy
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Your company wants your legal address so they can comply with state income tax withholding laws. Even if Florida doesn't have a state income tax, some of the other places you are living might have one, and the company is required by law to withhold.

If you work for a large company, there may be a locality-based pay scale, and that, too, would come into play.

There are probably other reasons as well.
Big Dog
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by Big Dog »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:29 pm Your company wants your legal address so they can comply with state income tax withholding laws. Even if Florida doesn't have a state income tax, some of the other places you are living might have one, and the company is required by law to withhold.

If you work for a large company, there may be a locality-based pay scale, and that, too, would come into play.

There are probably other reasons as well.
An employee is also under individual state unemployment, disability and paid time off rules.
inbox788
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by inbox788 »

MikeZ wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:48 pmAs a practical matter. I am unsure if I spend 4 weeks somewhere in a short term rental, if I'm going to have to bother to setup a new mailing address, etc. I have no problem using my Florida residency for everything I need to do. The issue is just with not wanting to make noise needing to update my address a dozen times a year.
Unless you're a baseball player or other entertainer working around the country, I don't think they want to keep tabs on you on a daily basis. Since your permanent address is in Florida, keep that permanent in the HR records. Every once in a while, whenever necessary, update them on your temporary addresses. If you can give them a date range, especially in advance, that helps them. If you give it to them afterwards, they may have to retroactively go back and change things, which is even more work for them to keep track.

A simple alignment would be the locations and dates for the rent you pay (and presumably sleep), and make any necessary adjustments. How many different states did you work from? You might need to familiarize yourself with the state tax issues or hire a CPA that is familiar with all the intricacies. If it's more than occasionally, you might need to figure out if it makes a difference whether you sleep or work in a different state the same day.
Income Taxes
There may be a minimum amount of time an employee must work in a state to be subject to that state's income tax, Miers and Gray noted. That minimum can range from 10 to 60 days; however, in some states there is no minimum and even one day working there will subject the employee to that state's income tax.

Some states apply a minimum amount of income to be subject to state income tax. For example, earning more than $33 in Pennsylvania will subject an employee to Pennsylvania income tax, they explained.

Some states have reciprocal agreements with other states regarding taxes. Residents of a state that has a reciprocal agreement with another state will only need to pay the income tax of their resident state. For example, Miers and Gray said, an Alabama resident working in Maryland will only have to pay Alabama income tax.
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/ ... apply.aspx

The laws are complex, and more and more, where you work from or do things is becoming an issue that's mixed up with where the data is being processed and stored. Online gambling and sports betting is on the forefront of this debate, creating strange effects. Took me a while to figure out what they meant by one way ferry fare to make a bet, but I think it means that if you don't leave the terminal in Hoboken, you don't need return fare to get back.
Here, you can get cell service without leaving the turnstile, so the whole trip costs the price of a one-way fare.
https://www.esquire.com/sports/a2932938 ... kings-nfl/

I hope you don't have to resort to VPN solutions or what that would do to the record keeping.

When visiting a cross border area, you might want to select a tax simplification location to work and spend the night.
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mgullo
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by mgullo »

MikeZ wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:48 pm
Dude2 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:42 pm Wouldn't it be convenient to get yourself a PO Box at a local post office or UPS store?
As a practical matter. I am unsure if I spend 4 weeks somewhere in a short term rental, if I'm going to have to bother to setup a new mailing address, etc. I have no problem using my Florida residency for everything I need to do. The issue is just with not wanting to make noise needing to update my address a dozen times a year.
If you provide your employer with the Florida address, will you have to update it regularly? Will your employer actually send you material through the post? My work requires all employees to live within the limits of the city and we must provide that address to HR, but they never send us anything through snail mail; it's all electronic. I know many people who use the address of a rental they own or that of a family member to meet the residency requirements, but they live outside the city. It'll get them fired if caught. If you are concerned about material arriving through the mail, have you a relative or close friend you trust to occasionally collect your mail?

It gets messier when you think about individual state unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and FMLA can change state to state, right? Income taxes are a different matter. If, like some posters have mentioned, you work enough days in states that have income tax, deliberately hiding this fact could get you into trouble, no?
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queso
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by queso »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:29 pm Your company wants your legal address so they can comply with state income tax withholding laws. Even if Florida doesn't have a state income tax, some of the other places you are living might have one, and the company is required by law to withhold.

If you work for a large company, there may be a locality-based pay scale, and that, too, would come into play.

There are probably other reasons as well.
This. One of the reasons they might be asking is that there is a lot of legislation in the works on this now due to all the telework happening during covid (states setting up reciprocal agreements, defining timelines of how long someone can work from somewhere before tax issues kick in, etc.). If the recent webinars I have sat in on are any indication this is going to be a pretty active and fluid space for some time to come.
tibbitts
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by tibbitts »

You need a permanent state of residence and mailing address. Seriously, are you getting a new drivers's license every month too?
mkc
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by mkc »

MikeZ wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:34 pm During the initial interview process my hiring manager was very direct in that 'I could work from anywhere'.

Since then I've split my time between two homes and about 4 short term rentals. My boss knows and has no problem with this. We've been thinking about buying an RV too.
Regarding the RV, do your research ahead of time if your job requires significant online time/data usage. You cannot get unlimited data for a mobile situation. If you job also requires fixed landline Internet (some do for security/privacy reasons - they do not permit cellular connection for Internet access), you will also find this nearly impossible in an RV.

Take a look at https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/ to do your connectivity research.
willyd123
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by willyd123 »

I used to manage payroll for a large company. Payroll departments know that some employees try to "game" the system by claiming a non-state income state for purposes of tax withholding so generally they will be suspicious.

Basically all states that tax income have differing rules about having to withhold taxes or file a state tax return based on the number of days you work in each state and your employer has the responsibility to ensure they are doing what they reasonably can to ensure compliance. The employee shares that responsibility. So as you move around, you are legally obligated to research and comply with the rules in each state which means potentially either having your payroll department withhold taxes in states where required or you sending the withholding in directly.
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by wfrobinette »

sailaway wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:36 pm What is the legal residence you use for taxes, DL, voting registration, etc?
+1 HR needs to handle taxes appropriately.
rich126
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by rich126 »

Dude2 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:42 pm Wouldn't it be convenient to get yourself a PO Box at a local post office or UPS store?
I don't know what it is like now but in 2001 (I think) I tried to get a PO Box but they would not give me one unless I could give them a permanent address. I tried to explain the whole reason of getting a PO Box was because I was living in a hotel but that didn't fly. I eventually got a box at Mailboxes Etc.

When you split time or live in multiple places it is just a mess where each state wants you as a resident, wants your license/car registered in their state, etc. Most of this stuff shouldn't need to be redone and instead one license should be fine. The only difference should be where your annual fee goes (i.e., the state you spend a majority of your time in).
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by Dude2 »

rich126 wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 5:19 pm
Dude2 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:42 pm Wouldn't it be convenient to get yourself a PO Box at a local post office or UPS store?
I don't know what it is like now but in 2001 (I think) I tried to get a PO Box but they would not give me one unless I could give them a permanent address. I tried to explain the whole reason of getting a PO Box was because I was living in a hotel but that didn't fly. I eventually got a box at Mailboxes Etc.

When you split time or live in multiple places it is just a mess where each state wants you as a resident, wants your license/car registered in their state, etc. Most of this stuff shouldn't need to be redone and instead one license should be fine. The only difference should be where your annual fee goes (i.e., the state you spend a majority of your time in).
It's an excellent point. When I used this technique, I had a travel job and was selling my house. I was able to get the PO Box using the "permanent" address of the house I was selling. Then the PO Box survived after the sale and facilitated my not having a real residence for some time (years) thereafter. It's only going to work if you can use a stable address beforehand.

On the state tax issue, I was taxed based on where my employer was located and where I was originally hired (NY state), not where my transient various work locations were. However, at one point I stayed in NJ for > 3 months, and the hotel issued me paperwork I would need to file for state taxes.
Henceforth I’ll bear Affliction till it do cry out itself, “Enough, enough,” and die.
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midareff
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by midareff »

Can you use the address on your driver's license and mail forwarding from there?
zie
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by zie »

If you are currently a florida resident, then you can stay a florida resident. You can get a Mail Forwarding Service, to handle your mail in florida and forward it wherever you happen to be that day.

AS for telling HR they just have my legal physical address (of a place I've never physically been to) and they have no problems with it.

If you search "florida mail forwarding service", you will get back a few different providers. I pay $10 a month for my legal physical address, however I don't use FL as my address(as it has state taxes which I'm loathe to pay, if I don't have to).

RV'ers do this all the time, they pick a state (TX and SD are very popular) wander in once to get a DL and establish residency, and then rarely if ever wander back in person again, letting their mail forwarding service handle everything.

If you are going to keep being a nomad, I recommend picking a no income tax state as your new home state, and save a bundle! :)

Good Luck!

source: RVer and nomad for over a decade.
DesertDiva
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by DesertDiva »

There are benefits/insurance considerations too

Just ran across this article:
https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/23/success/ ... index.html
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SmileyFace
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by SmileyFace »

Your hiring manager was very naïve and irresponsible when he said you could "work from anywhere" without providing additional information. Your company needs to a primary address and needs to update it if it changes.

As folks have mentioned, benefits/taxes/other-compliance-reporting is dependent upon your primary residence.
Outside the US it becomes more complex; e.g. if you move to Canada your company would be responsible for registering into and paying into the government-run benefit systems there. If you go live over-seas in other countries for periods of time there are other tax and compliance implications. (Even with a primary address in the US; if you spend periods of time living and working-from certain countries it has to be reported and may have tax and other implications).
inbox788
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by inbox788 »

DaftInvestor wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:17 am Your hiring manager was very naïve and irresponsible when he said you could "work from anywhere" without providing additional information. Your company needs to a primary address and needs to update it if it changes.

As folks have mentioned, benefits/taxes/other-compliance-reporting is dependent upon your primary residence.
Outside the US it becomes more complex; e.g. if you move to Canada your company would be responsible for registering into and paying into the government-run benefit systems there. If you go live over-seas in other countries for periods of time there are other tax and compliance implications. (Even with a primary address in the US; if you spend periods of time living and working-from certain countries it has to be reported and may have tax and other implications).
LOL. You mean the hiring manager should have clarified that if OP moves to Antarctica and needs a sat phone, that the company would not be providing it? Or spell out the number of hours he can go without being in communications with the boss?

I think it's OP who's pushing the boundaries of "anywhere" and wasn't clear to the hiring manager. Though moving across a national border isn't that big a jump from state borders.

Some companies don't care where you work from, but it does open a can of worms.

Facebook will now let some employees work from anywhere, but their paychecks could get cut
https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-wor ... d-get-cut/

I know some folks that have taken advantage of the current temporary displacement to varying degrees. Some if tracked are not spending few, some, many, or most nights in their reported address, and given the uncertainty, some have considered dropping or changing that reported address. Not unlike OP, their actions, and tracking and reporting can have consequences that their employers and officials may be interested in.

Anyway, I don't want to discuss with my work where or which whom I slept with last night or whether I checked the email before or after midnight in the state with draconian rules. Imagine state tax authorities requesting email access logs of employees to determine their IP address to "prove" whether they were "working" in the state that day or not.

AFAIK, as long as I can reach the employee and he can get the job done, he "can work from anywhere". The rest is his business and his problem. Now get HR off my back asking for an address, that's his responsibility, too. If they're mailing his paycheck there, I'm sure he'll figure something out.

And while you're at it, HR wants to know where your server is located so it can decide where you were working today.
https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/14/2143 ... eliability
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SmileyFace
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by SmileyFace »

inbox788 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:14 am
DaftInvestor wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:17 am Your hiring manager was very naïve and irresponsible when he said you could "work from anywhere" without providing additional information. Your company needs to a primary address and needs to update it if it changes.

As folks have mentioned, benefits/taxes/other-compliance-reporting is dependent upon your primary residence.
Outside the US it becomes more complex; e.g. if you move to Canada your company would be responsible for registering into and paying into the government-run benefit systems there. If you go live over-seas in other countries for periods of time there are other tax and compliance implications. (Even with a primary address in the US; if you spend periods of time living and working-from certain countries it has to be reported and may have tax and other implications).
LOL. You mean the hiring manager should have clarified that if OP moves to Antarctica and needs a sat phone, that the company would not be providing it? Or spell out the number of hours he can go without being in communications with the boss?

I think it's OP who's pushing the boundaries of "anywhere" and wasn't clear to the hiring manager. Though moving across a national border isn't that big a jump from state borders.

Some companies don't care where you work from, but it does open a can of worms.

Facebook will now let some employees work from anywhere, but their paychecks could get cut
https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-wor ... d-get-cut/

I know some folks that have taken advantage of the current temporary displacement to varying degrees. Some if tracked are not spending few, some, many, or most nights in their reported address, and given the uncertainty, some have considered dropping or changing that reported address. Not unlike OP, their actions, and tracking and reporting can have consequences that their employers and officials may be interested in.

Anyway, I don't want to discuss with my work where or which whom I slept with last night or whether I checked the email before or after midnight in the state with draconian rules. Imagine state tax authorities requesting email access logs of employees to determine their IP address to "prove" whether they were "working" in the state that day or not.

AFAIK, as long as I can reach the employee and he can get the job done, he "can work from anywhere". The rest is his business and his problem. Now get HR off my back asking for an address, that's his responsibility, too. If they're mailing his paycheck there, I'm sure he'll figure something out.

And while you're at it, HR wants to know where your server is located so it can decide where you were working today.
https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/14/2143 ... eliability
You missed my point I think (answers to both or your questions are "no"). It has nothing to do with where you are sleeping, how many hours your are working, nor whether additional costs of working in alternative locations will be covered by the company or not. Most HR departments these days don't care about any of these things either. What they seem to be primarily focused on is merely protecting the company from lawsuits and fines by assuring the company is meeting all rules and regulations in regards to employees. Different states have different benefit requirements and tax requirements that must be met - so yes - they kind of need to know where you live. The company doesn't want to be found at fault for breaking county/state/local laws simply because you are too paranoid to provide an address or feel it is too "draconian" of a responsibility to pay taxes for the services you receive in the state/location whereby you spend most of your time.
Bobby206
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by Bobby206 »

Get a virtual PO box. They have addresses all over the country and scan your mail to you. Easy! Not super expensive.
inbox788
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by inbox788 »

OP, re: 'My home address needs to be accurately reflected in the system': San Francisco

Elvis Presley - Home is where the heart is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5c2Mf2EStk
Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart in San Francisco
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6DUwMnDxEs

DaftInvestor wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:38 amYou missed my point I think (answers to both or your questions are "no"). It has nothing to do with where you are sleeping, how many hours your are working, nor whether additional costs of working in alternative locations will be covered by the company or not. Most HR departments these days don't care about any of these things either. What they seem to be primarily focused on is merely protecting the company from lawsuits and fines by assuring the company is meeting all rules and regulations in regards to employees. Different states have different benefit requirements and tax requirements that must be met - so yes - they kind of need to know where you live. The company doesn't want to be found at fault for breaking county/state/local laws simply because you are too paranoid to provide an address or feel it is too "draconian" of a responsibility to pay taxes for the services you receive in the state/location whereby you spend most of your time.
We're not in disagreement about why HR needs to know to stay in compliance with regulations. Cross border issues are very complicated. The compliance issues isn't a reasonable most of your time, but cut by a thousand minuscule regulations.

Both employer and employees make some assumptions. There's nothing naive or irresponsible about an employer making an offer to work from anywhere for a typical employee, even if the employee wants to work offsite.

OPs nomad lifestyle is anything but typical, and IMO, he bears more responsibility. I think he's more naive and irresponsible. Did he fully convey the extent of detachment from work location?

OP can work offsite, and the employer is just asking for an address. They might get tired of updating it on a weekly basis. It it becomes too burdensome for HR, they'll push off more of the compliance issue to the employee. And if he's moving to another country, that might be too much for them to keep him as an employee, but that doesn't mean they can't contract for his services. This brings up the whole employee vs independent contractor issue Uber is going through. OP, why not independent contractor to get HR off your back?
Does the work require supervision? If yes, employee. [No]
Is the work long-term? If yes, employee. [Yes]
Do you want/need to control the hours and means of production? If yes, employee. [no]
Can the work be completed without much supervision? If yes, independent contractor. [yes]
Do you need specialized knowledge for the short-term? If yes, independent contractor. [yes]
Is the work non-essential for your overall business? If non-essential, independent contractor.[yes]
https://biz30.timedoctor.com/independen ... checklist/

With regard to the Facebook article, I expect a lot more stories about people trying to make silicon valley wages who are no longer living there. And legal and tax experts who consult on how to optimally navigate employer and government regulations. Part of the higher wages in silicon valley is the higher cost of living, and it's nice to have your cake and eat it too. Sometimes, that's allowed and rules are changing. Tread carefully.
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grabiner
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Re: How to discuss with HR that I live in multiple places...

Post by grabiner »

inbox788 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:26 pm
Income Taxes
There may be a minimum amount of time an employee must work in a state to be subject to that state's income tax, Miers and Gray noted. That minimum can range from 10 to 60 days; however, in some states there is no minimum and even one day working there will subject the employee to that state's income tax.

Some states apply a minimum amount of income to be subject to state income tax. For example, earning more than $33 in Pennsylvania will subject an employee to Pennsylvania income tax, they explained.

Some states have reciprocal agreements with other states regarding taxes. Residents of a state that has a reciprocal agreement with another state will only need to pay the income tax of their resident state. For example, Miers and Gray said, an Alabama resident working in Maryland will only have to pay Alabama income tax.
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/ ... apply.aspx
I would question that site. MD has reciprocity with DC, PA, VA, and WV, but not with AL. Most states have reciprocity only with neighboring states (and not always even then; note that MD does not have reciprocity with DE); this makes things easier for commuters.
Wiki David Grabiner
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