Success Stories

Graebel Companies: International Tax Services

Wipfli’s expertise and global connections help worldwide moving company address international tax liabilities.

Graebel Companies, Inc.
Brad Siler, CFO
"Graebel's ability to deliver cost-effective solutions to our international customers hinges on our ability to eliminate surprises and minimize the costs, including taxes, associated with the international relocation process. Wipfli’s ability to quickly utilize its international network of firms was critical to our success in meeting the expectations of this Fortune 100 company."
 

Wipfli’s expertise and global connections help worldwide moving company address international tax liabilities.

Graebel Companies, Inc. (Graebel) is an international moving company based in the United States, with centers located throughout the U.S.; in Prague, the Czech Republic; and in Singapore. Founded in 1950 in Wausau, Wisconsin, the organization is now recognized as the world’s largest, privately held relocation company and provides relocation services for globally active corporations including the Fortune 500 and Global 100. Graebel wholly owns its third-party relocation and move-management companies, a U.S. van line, coast-to-coast U.S. moving and storage centers, a commercial workplace services division, and an international forwarding company that manages all international relocation activity via five domestic locations that work directly with an internationally based, on-the ground network of the wholly owned subsidiaries in Prague and Singapore and over 150 independently owned firms which comprise the Graebel Relocation Alliance.

Situation
In summer 2010, Graebel was signing a contract with a Fortune 100 company to coordinate its worldwide relocations. Although Graebel was experienced with similar contractual agreements, this one was unique. Instead of sending all invoices to the parent company, it required Graebel to invoice each of the Fortune 100 company’s subsidiaries located in multiple foreign countries. Graebel’s ability to deliver the highest-quality services at the lowest cost required them to gain an understanding of the implications of the various potential taxes. This was a complicated task, given the complexity of services and the potential application of transactional taxes (VAT/GST, etc.) and withholding requirements. Graebel therefore sought help with these international tax questions from Wipfli’s team of international experts.

Strategy
Through the firm’s membership in PKF North America and association with PKF International, Wipfli’s access to more than 440 member firms in 125 countries throughout the world gives the firm a global reach. Wipfli connected with its international resources to address Graebel’s immediate and ongoing needs. The Wipfli team conducted a persistent discovery process over the course of approximately six months. In most cases Wipfli was able to coordinate active responses in just days from approximately 24 countries on 6 continents, thus providing Graebel the timely answers it needed. By gathering this vital information, Wipfli was able to assist in the challenging application of VAT/GST and foreign withholding requirements. In several cases, Wipfli’s discovery minimized Graebel’s international tax liabilities.

Benefits
With Wipfli’s international team and strong connection to a reliable network of international resources, Graebel enjoyed fast answers, strong ideas, and cost-effective solutions. In some cases, the moving company saved itself withholding taxes thanks to Wipfli’s discovery.
 
Graebel also gained a greater understanding of its obligations around the world. The company was able to enter into its Fortune 100 contract with confidence in its estimates and costs.