Business employment for digital nomads – the hidden pitfalls

he idea of being both an employee and a “digital nomad” free to work from anywhere is obviously an attractive one that can work well for both businesses and employees.

However, there are pitfalls of which both should be aware.

The key word is “anywhere”.

In fact employers can only allow their nomadic staff to work from anywhere they can legally employ you.

As quoted in an article in Wired Minaho Shiraishi, head of global mobility services at consultancy KPMG, says the tax implications of taking a laptop and heading for a country your employer has no presence in can be huge, both for employers and staff.

In some circumstances, depending on the nature of the work: “there is the potential that their presence could create a permanent establishment for their employer in that country”.

That could mean the employer becomes responsible for paying that country’s taxes as well as complying with its employment legislation.

The same would apply to staff, who would need to ensure they had the right to work in the destination of their choice and for how long.

They could also find themselves liable for personal income taxes, both at home and in the country in which they temporarily reside.