Protip: Moving Soon? You Might Want to Hide Your ZIP Code From HR

Remember a couple weeks ago when we discussed potential work-from-home adjustments for salaried workers now living in lower COL areas thanks to the Rona? In case you forgot, the gist of it is that this is already happening in the tech industry, so there’s no reason to assume accounting couldn’t possibly follow suit.

The comments on that article were about as I expected them to be, and I hope any big brains running the show at accounting firms take them into account before coming up with any grand plans to save on salaries while office space remains mostly empty. Knowing what we know about said big brains, I won’t be holding my breath. Nor should you, which is why I thought this recent New York Post article was both interesting and unfortunately relevant. Let’s take a look:

Not long ago, a friend told me he’d bought a new house.

“Congratulations!” I said. “Where will you be living?”

“I can’t tell you,” was the somewhat puzzling answer. All I could guess was that he might not have closed on the new house yet and didn’t want to jinx the sale.

But then, just a month later, the same thing happened again. Another friend, another new house, and a secret location. I really began wondering what was going on.

I’d still be in the dark if not for a real-estate agent who filled me in on the latest trend among homebuyers. With more people working remotely due to COVID-19, quite a few companies are basing salary decisions on their employees’ home ZIP codes.

So yeah. Hell, even if you once enjoyed an entire downtown condo to yourself but now find yourself crammed into a dingy twin bed in a dark corner of your mom’s basement because things are so tough out there it’s probably best to keep that information to yourself. Not just generally, I mean.

As yet, we haven’t seen indications of any accounting firms considering COL adjustments for staff who have moved to lower-cost areas during the pandemic. That said, we do know that COL adjustments exist so it stands to reason that firms that agreed to pay you more because of where you live might, should this thing drag on much longer, start to ask themselves if they should pay you less for the same reason.

For that reason, we wouldn’t recommend giving HR your mom’s ZIP code. Not if mom lives in one of those cheap rural towns with only one Pokestop and a Piggly Wiggly. If the work is done why does it matter where you did it? The less they know, the less they can use against you when belts start tightening.

Related article:

WFH In 2021? Get Ready For Those Remote Salary Adjustments

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6 Comments

  1. Hello? It’s already been like this. I wanted to move to the east coast before corona virus was even around and I was already working remotely. After being strung on for over a year and told HR needed to bless the decision I was told since the firm didn’t have an office in the state I was moving, they were not able to do business in the state and thus the only way I could work from this state would be as a contractor and then I would lose my benefits. I told them I wanted to pursue working as a contractor as I was anxious to relocate and it wasn’t until I was ready to put my home in California on the market another year later that I was told HR changed their mind and that the contractor way was no longer an option. So for two years I was led to believe something that wasn’t ever going to happen. Then when corona hit and I wanted to stay with a friend in another state and work remotely I was told it wouldn’t be allowed. I explained I was not relocating permanently, still no go. I then offered to be one of the employees who would be furloughed and when it came time to call people back, I was the one kicked to the curb. My evaluations were stellar and I was the most educated and credentialed member of my team. There are some really crappy firms out there, this one leads the pack.

  2. If you cross jurisdictional tax borders (countries, states, and even cities) and don’t tell your company you are creating a tax nightmare for yourself and your company…

  3. Recommending that individuals working at an Accounting Firm commit fraud and risk not only the individual’s, but their employer’s, integrity is unethical reporting.

  4. This doesn’t seem to be fraudulent depending on where you move to. If it is just to the next county over or across the state, then a person should be fine and the state will still get their taxes. Most people would not have to move far to get to a lower COL area.

  5. It’s a blog. If you’re dumb enough to make major decisions like this based off one blog post then you deserve whatever you get. Jesus Christ, you all act like GC signed an executive order ordering people to do something. Think for yourselves for once. Fuck.

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