Pictured second from the left: Jon Harrington
Meeting the AIRINCers behind the scenes
Jon joined AIRINC in 2013. He started on our tax team doing research but over time became more interested in how our tax calculations work. Jon has now transitioned to our technology team and is our ace behind our tax calculation engine. We spoke with him to get his behind-the-scenes perspective on AIRINC's Assignment Cost Estimator, or, as he otherwise named it: Always Clarifying Enigmas.
What is your role with the Assignment Cost Estimator (ACE)?
I've been involved with ACE one way or another since I joined AIRINC. Our inhouse tax team updates the tax models following their yearly update cycle; I make sure that AIRINC's tools continue to work correctly given the updated tax models.
What do you like about working on ACE?
With ACE, it's a fun challenge to build and maintain a standardized tax engine that can handle country-specifics. Imagine a massive framework with levers and dials that we can tweak according to any home/host combination so that the calculation pulls in, for example, the correct residency days threshold or gives the user the option to use applicable tax treaties.
In your time working on ACE, what developments have you seen that users would find helpful?
ACE is constantly improving based on client needs and the tool enhancements are available to all users. For me, the key developments have been:
- Introduction of Short-Term ACE: When it was first created, users could run calculations for long-term assignments but the shortest possible assignment length was one year. We heard clients asking for the ability to run cost estimates for shorter assignments. To enable this, we developed a completely new tax engine. For me, that signaled a new generation of ACE enhancements: with this new tax engine, we could also offer extensions to long-term home-based assignment calculations as well as cost estimates for commuter assignments.
- ACE Tax Details: In addition to the report, users can also download a document providing additional tax information like country tax summaries, a list of taxable allowances, and a dynamic summary that reflects all of the inputs from that calculation. These are a helpful resource for clients who need the extra tax information for their team or manager (they love knowing which allowances are taxable!).
In addition to these product releases, we're also maintaining client-specific customizations to the tool -- for example, right now I'm writing the tax logic for one client's unique way of computing the foreign tax credit for one of their home locations. It’s an exciting project as this tax logic will work alongside the regular tax framework that will still run the calculations for all of the client’s other locations.
What do you get up to when you're not talking about tax or ACE?
I live in Boston and spend almost all of my weekends playing the fiddle with my Irish folk rock band, Slainte, at gigs in and around Boston.