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Notifying employer of move to full-time RV live


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Hello! I'm brand new here, and while I've seen lots of great advice on working while on the road, I'm hoping to get some advice or insight on my specific issue: 

I currently work for a large, nation-wide insurance company, and I have been classified as a full-time, work-from-home employee since I was hired in 2018 (pre-Covid). My husband and I have decided to take the plunge to go full-time on the road this coming spring/summer. We are in full-on planning mode and next on my list is to discuss my plans with my manager. 

I have a great relationship with her, but even so - I have a bit of anxiety about telling her our plans. I have done my research on what sort of internet I would need, we have a plan for how/when we would plan travel days, office space is a priority in our rig, etc. I've tried to think of any potential concerns or questions from my employer's side, so that I can have an answer when the conversation occurs. I simply cannot see it being a problem, given that I am literally classified as a remote employee and only need internet/phone to work. 

I'm curious if there's anyone out there who has been in a similar situation, who could shed some light on how their employer handled the news and any advice on how you addressed it. A secondary question I have is in regard to how your financial situation changed in terms of taxes based on where you domiciled and your employer's location, etc. We are leaning towards a SD domicile, based on our situation and needs. 

Thanks in advance! 

- V. 

 

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I know one guy who simply did it for awhile before notifying his employer. When the boss expressed concerns the guy asked if it had caused problems yet. The boss was surprised to learn he'd already been doing it and there had been no problems.

If you have employer provided benefits that are based on your current home's location that needs to be addressed, though.

Linda

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I had not even considered doing that, to be honest. It makes sense; though I'm not sure I'd feel right about doing it that way in my situation. Something to consider, though. 

I do have employer sponsored insurance based on my current location in Connecticut. How would you recommend looking into how that would be affected? I guess I'd start by looking at the network coverage area and go from there. 

Thanks! 

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59 minutes ago, vlbrown86 said:

I had not even considered doing that, to be honest. It makes sense; though I'm not sure I'd feel right about doing it that way in my situation. Something to consider, though. 

I believe that to do that is at the least unethical if not dishonest. You are employed at the pleasure of your employer and as such are subject to discipline or dismissal if you do not abide by the original employment agreement. Do you actually know that you would be the first person on the payroll to do this? You might be quite surprised. In addition, you will have to supply an address to your employer in order to be paid, to receive your benefits and for tax reporting. You are being given some very bad advice!

Something that you might do and not violate any issues would be to test the water without leaving your present home behind. It seems to me that it would be just as important to you as it is to your boss to make sure that you plan will actually work. If you already own an RV, why not first set it up to do you job from and then go to some nearby park that you enjoy and stay a week first just to be sure that things will work as a demonstration to both yourself and perhaps your boss? While you are about it, ask your boss if anyone has done what you wish to do. When looking into internet, if you have not done so, visit the site of Technomadia, one of the foremost experts in internet on the road.

There are a few other issues that you need to deal with as well before it will work for you to go fulltime while keeping the present job. First of all is that CN is not one of the few states that will allow you to keep a driver's license and vehicle registration without a real property address. There are only a few states that recognize a mail service as a legal address for such things so that must be worked out. The most common and best answer for the support services that are needed to live and work from the road is by the Escapees RV Club so check their services out. Unless you discuss this with your employer, how would you ever manage a SD domicile? If you have not done so, take the time to read "The Issue of Domicile" that was written by a practicing attorney. I am quite sure that your plan can be worked out but if you are not willing to change jobs, you need to start by discussing it with your employer. This can be worked out and has been in the past. It may take a little bit of time, but good things usually do. You are not the first to deal with this and you will not be the last. I would start by asking your boss if they know of anyone doing what you do that lives and travels in an RV. You may get a pleasant surprise.

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I disagree with Kirk as to it would be dishonest or unethical. Your employer can not tell you that you have to live in a house that you own or rent or that you can not live in an apartment, or with other family members etc.  You can live anywhere you want to as long as it does not affect your job performance. As to health insurance, the insurance company may be able to limit coverage to a particular State so that must be addressed. 

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39 minutes ago, Twotoes said:

I disagree with Kirk as to it would be dishonest or unethical.

 Before you take advice like this, you would be wise to consult an attorney. It is very easy for others to give advice while you take all of the risk. 

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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

I believe that to do that is at the least unethical if not dishonest.

Not, if you are just doing it as a trial before finally moving out of your house. Most of us did some trials beforehand. For instance, we spent our days in our house preparing it for sale but our nights at a local park as we tested systems and determined what we still needed to pack and what we should unpack. Spending a few more hours or occasional days in one park or another seeing how work would go in that manner makes sense to me. For instance, here in the Minneapolis/St Paul area I would spend a night at a state park that's east of town, another one at Cabela's NW of the Twin Cities, another one at Cracker Barrel south of the Twin Cities, etc. Some are closer in town than others but that distribution would give you some idea of potential connectivity issues.

Reading further down your comment I realize we were both advocating the same thing. I was hurrying off to another project so didn't explain it well. Sorry about that.

Linda

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If you will be truly mobile, you will be the payroll department’s worst nightmare. They will have to monitor hours worked at each location to withhold properly. Reporting will also be a nightmare, you may need to be given multiple W2 forms (for instance).

There are many many other issues, such as reporting your work locations for workers comp coverage, assuming they can find coverage for your temp locations. You may have to agree to report every work location before use, and no employer in their right mind will permit you to work while your rig is in motion as they assume liability for your rolling location and actions while working/driving, as no employer will knowingly approve working in a coffee shop lest you spill something and someone else slip and fall. Indeed, there are some localities with no waiver of time so one minute worked in their boundaries means you report and pay their taxes (could even be passing through on the road!).

If you are a profitable employee, they may keep you. If you can be replaced by a static employee, or a cheaper employee, you might be replaced.

Candidly, if legal for both parties, setting yourself up as a business they can hire may be cleaner for the hiring entity.

For the truly mobile employee and their employer, the myriad of tax jurisdictions mean it will never be simple. Look at what pro athletes have to deal with for an example (and why many refuse to play for a CA or NY team when they have an option for a no state tax state for their home events).

Domicile has nothing to do with the employer’s worry, they, and you, have to deal with the taxes at each location you work from. Your domicile may also want a bite from you  

There is a small push for all agencies to allow 30 days in a location to be the trigger for change in work location, but zero chance all tax agencies will agree to give up their power.

The setup your own business solution helps the hiring entity, but cannot remove you from being subject to tax issues in your work locations.

With all that said, many many employer’s and employee’s ignore the laws and report the office location and/or the presumed domicile as the work location and never come to harm. Not all jurisdictions are like NY and CA which are two states which work hard to make money catching scofflaws…

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The comment from two toes about the employer and location is correct for “regular” residence, but not for work location. The employer can dictate work location, and should. In this case, since the poster states they work from “home” the employer gets to dictate the home location as they can terminate if they do not want to subject themselves to nexus in the location, if the location is not deemed safe, or for whatever reason they wish to judge. Of course, this assumes an employer employee relationship with no contract issues.

the employer has every right and ability to control the work location, who enters, etc. if you work from home, you give up many rights, so it has to be a win win.

your home becomes the employers office too, during permitted work hours, so they may not want cousin Eddie and kids there, no pets, no weapons, no booze, etc. the employer better be clear not to allow off hours work as they open up the liability bucket even more.

note, I work from home, rv, car, hotel, etc. but, I work for my own corp, so I allow my travel. On the other hand, I have to know and abide by the rules to protect my corp from myself, and to defend successfully and as easily as possible in case of audit.

Edited by Payroll Person
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My first thought was it could be unethical but on thinking it through I can see both sides if it is a trial.  I would think in most situations it would not be good to try it this way.  Once they hit the road I would guess their  "home' would more of less be their address in SD or Tx or wherever. I like the idea of a trail period for sure in reasonable distance from their present location.

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13 hours ago, sandsys said:

Reading further down your comment I realize we were both advocating the same thing. I was hurrying off to another project so didn't explain it well.

No problem. I had to read yours twice too.  😊

6 hours ago, Payroll Person said:

If you will be truly mobile, you will be the payroll department’s worst nightmare. They will have to monitor hours worked at each location to withhold properly.

Anyone who works remotely is already being monitored for time worked in some fashion so that really isn't going to change just because she isn't in a stick house any longer. As long as she has good, reliable internet access she should be able to work just the same from the RV as she does now from her house. I have 3 sons who work in computer related businesses and at the height of covid all were working entirely from home. Today 1 goes to the office 1 day per week and works for the US Army, 1 goes to the office 2 days per week and the third was only in the office for his final interview and then 1 day when he first began to work for this major international bank. He has now been working with them for almost 3 years, living in a Dallas suburb while working in an office located in North Carolina. Both of the 2 younger sons do at times work from a location while traveling with the knowledge of their management but do it only for short periods with the knowledge of their employers. But there have been many remote workers who have gone on the road fulltime and it isn't new or difficult as long as you do not try to reinvent the system. 

I do believe that Vlbrown86 should discuss the plan with the employer first, but see no reason what the situation could not be managed. I am hoping to hear more as she moves in that direction and encourage her to make the move. There are thousands of Escapees today who work remotely from the road and it is what the X-scapers section of the club is all about. Keep a positive attitude and broach the subject soon!

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Wow - I woke up this morning to some excellent reading on my thread! I did not think I'd get so many responses, so thank you all very much! 

First and foremost, from an ethical standpoint, I would not feel right simply taking off (trial or otherwise) and not sharing the news with my manager. So, the discussion will definitely happen. I can see where the first replier was offering an option that others have taken, but I would not feel right taking that approach. And, as so many pointed out, payroll / HR would have to be notified and it would trickle down to my manager level eventually. As Kirk mentioned, I may be surprised to see others who've done it! I'd love to find out if anyone here works for my company and is full-time! 😃

Kirk, to address your suggestion of "testing" the plan - last summer I actually did do a 2.5 week trip in our current RV, where I worked almost the majority of the time and things worked fine. I have also traveled to visit family across the country a few times and been able to work 'remote' and my manager had no issues with it. At this point, we are full-steam ahead with our plan to do this, so I guess I'm taking a slight leap of faith having waited to talk to work but I do not have concerns that they would have that large of an issue over it. We are trying to maximize on a very profitable seller's housing market in our area, so moving quickly at this point is necessary.

I will say, I feel somewhat relieved that in terms of my research so far, I have been on a good track. I have read the Issue of Domicile article you linked, plus many others and while we have not finalized a decision, we're working on it. At the very least for when we start out, my sister offered her FL address as one for us to use; although, I'd prefer to just get something set up through Escapees and not place the burden on her for mail, etc. From what I have read so far, I can do all that ahead of time. Also, I am very familiar with Technomadia and have spent countless hours on their blog, website, seeking out podcast episodes, etc. They are fantastic!!! 

Again, thanks to all who chimed in here (and for any future feedback) and I will certainly post updates! I'm excited, despite being nervous and overwhelmed, but that's how the best things in life go - right?! :) Take care. 

Edited by vlbrown86
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Monitoring can be done. It is the dealing with the tax, insurance, and reporting consequences of relocating WORK PLACE several or more times a year. Lucky it is a multiple state company already. Hopefully a centralized payroll. But, it is still a payroll  and HR headache when the work place changes.

I would prohibit mobile work in any locality with a local tax (OH, PA, SF CA, OR, etc.) and maybe even those with required PTO, such as CA, CO, CT, etc. in a few years,WA too because of WA Cares. Possibly states with forced saver plans such as IL.

Agein, depends on how often the person changes work location, and the particular work laws involved.

Someone moving more than a couple times a year must make me enough to cover the exponentially increased payroll costs, which could even be as high as 10% or more of gross pay.

WC insurance alone could go up in multiples from “office work” classification to something rated much higher.

Domicile is your issue, and for a wise employer, no worry. Where the work is performed is very much the employer’s concern. Imagine you move once a month to a new state, and never within the state. That means the employer has to change your payroll 12 times every year and report your wages to 12 states, 12 insurance carriers, and so on. You would get 6 or more. W2 forms since only 2 states fit on each form.

I am not saying it can’t be done, just that there are coats to the employer and employee with many fail to consider. 

Edited by Payroll Person
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32 minutes ago, vlbrown86 said:

I'd love to find out if anyone here works for my company and is full-time!

That might even be a way to open the conversation, by asking if there is anyone doing so. Her reaction will tell you a great deal before you get deep into the conversation. Keep a positive attitude and this can work out I would gather that your husband's job doesn't present any problems? These discussions make me just a little bit envious of you as there are so many more opportunities to get out on the road early today. We were fortunate that I worked for an employer who had an excellent early retirement program and so I retired to go on the road at age 57. We did do a lot of RV volunteer positions that made our cost far lower but did almost no paid work. 

Just in case you haven't already seen it, here is an X-scaper road work article

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16 hours ago, Twotoes said:

I disagree with Kirk as to it would be dishonest or unethical. Your employer can not tell you that you have to live in a house that you own or rent or that you can not live in an apartment, or with other family members etc.  You can live anywhere you want to as long as it does not affect your job performance. As to health insurance, the insurance company may be able to limit coverage to a particular State so that must be addressed. 

State taxes are another issue you or your employer may run afoul of if you don't tell them you're going on the road.  The state which you declare as your residency or domicile has a direct effect on whera and how much state tax and local taxes you'll pay, which can affect your payroll deductions.

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3 minutes ago, Lou Schneider said:

State taxes are another issue you or your employer may run afoul of if you don't tell them you're going on the road.  The state which you declare as your residency or domicile has a direct effect on whera and how much state tax and local taxes you'll pay, which can affect your payroll deductions.

The location where the work is performed is the nexus for payroll taxation. Residency or domicile does not affect payroll taxation.

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22 minutes ago, Payroll Person said:

The location where the work is performed is the nexus for payroll taxation. Residency or domicile does not affect payroll taxation.

I wonder where a couple of my former employers considered my nexus when I worked in field service all over North America and parts of Europe. My office was in my home/domicile.

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41 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

That might even be a way to open the conversation, by asking if there is anyone doing so. Her reaction will tell you a great deal before you get deep into the conversation. Keep a positive attitude and this can work out I would gather that your husband's job doesn't present any problems? These discussions make me just a little bit envious of you as there are so many more opportunities to get out on the road early today. We were fortunate that I worked for an employer who had an excellent early retirement program and so I retired to go on the road at age 57. We did do a lot of RV volunteer positions that made our cost far lower but did almost no paid work. 

Just in case you haven't already seen it, here is an X-scaper road work article

I've been poking around the X-scapers site - i will check that article out! My husband does commercial glass installation and is part of a union. He's been working with his union rep to discuss how it would work for him - his situation is a little more tricky than mine but still doable (he's actually contacted many guys who are full-time RVers and the trickiest part is healthcare). His line of work has high demand right now, and for starting out, our travels will largely be dictated where he is able to go for work. 

It is amazing how the world has shifted to be more flexible. You're lucky to have retired so early - that likely wont be the case for us and many in our age bracket - which is mainly why we are deciding to do this now while we're young, healthy, and nothing really tying us down here. 

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1 hour ago, vlbrown86 said:

My husband does commercial glass installation and is part of a union. He's been working with his union rep to discuss how it would work for him -

If you are not aware of it, the Escapees RV Club began in the mid 70's with a group of traveling construction workers who lived in RVs and traveled from job to job. Joe Peterson was a construction electrician and Kay was a nurse but also did some paid writing so she quit her job as a nurse and concentrated on the writing so that they could sell the stick house a live in the RV taking jobs to find new areas to explore. Cathy (Peterson) Carr finished her growing up years traveling with them. About 1977 someone in their group thought that they should form a club and Kay was convinced to start a newsletter for them which she published on a mimeograph in their RV and mailed out to the early members. One of the charter members suggested the club name be Escapees. 

Escapees Newsletter #1, August 15, 1978

One thing to be aware of is that Conneticut is one of the state that has what is called a convenience law. States with convenience-of-employer rules include Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York and Pennsylvania. You could wind up paying taxes in 2 different states. The following comes from the CPA Journal.

Remote Work Arrangements

Payroll and Income Tax Issues for Employers and Employees

Edited by Kirk W
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22 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

If you are not aware of it, the Escapees RV Club began in the mid 70's with a group of traveling construction workers who lived in RVs and traveled from job to job. Joe Peterson was a construction electrician and Kay was a nurse but also did some paid writing so she quit her job as a nurse and concentrated on the writing so that they could sell the stick house a live in the RV taking jobs to find new areas to explore. Cathy (Peterson) Carr finished her growing up years traveling with them. About 1977 someone in their group thought that they should form a club and Kay was convinced to start a newsletter for them which she published on a mimeograph in their RV and mailed out to the early members. One of the charter members suggested the club name be Escapees. 

Escapees Newsletter #1, August 15, 1978

One thing to be aware of is that Conneticut is one of the state that has what is called a convenience law. States with convenience-of-employer rules include Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York and Pennsylvania. You could wind up paying taxes in 2 different states. The following comes from the CPA Journal.

Remote Work Arrangements

Payroll and Income Tax Issues for Employers and Employees

I did not know that much about the history of the club - thats awesome! And that article is super helpful - thank you for sharing. 

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On 2/9/2022 at 9:42 AM, Payroll Person said:

The location where the work is performed is the nexus for payroll taxation. Residency or domicile does not affect payroll taxation.

First of all, thank you for your informative posts. 

But I have a question.  I have a friend who used to work for a national soft drink company up until about 20 years ago.  His job was going all over the country to check on bottlers and retailer accounts (like grocery store chains), usually traveling Monday-Thursday, and working in his home office, in Texas, on Fridays.  Texas doesn't have a state income tax, but Missouri, where he went for a week about once a month, does.  As did other states he went to for work, but the Missouri visits were the most frequent.  But he never paid any state income tax in any of of the states he traveled to as part of his job.

He was obviously performing work in these other states, and I can't square that with the "where the work is performed" standard.  This was a national company with several employees in that position, so I assume they knew what they were doing; I'm just trying to figure out how, now that I've learned about the rules.

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5 minutes ago, Blues said:

 I can't square that with the "where the work is performed" standard.  This was a national company with several employees in that position, so I assume they knew what they were doing; I'm just trying to figure out how, now that I've learned about the rules.

I don't know if the NYTimes will let you see this post, but your issue is discussed in detail here:  https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/opinion/taxes-remote-work.html

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On 2/9/2022 at 9:09 AM, Dutch_12078 said:

I wonder where a couple of my former employers considered my nexus when I worked in field service all over North America and parts of Europe. My office was in my home/domicile.

Dutch I agree. What happens with the over the road truck driver who travels 48 States and Canada? They pay their respective payroll taxes in their home/domicile State.

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