Kapil Sharma - Global IA Tax Program Manager and APAC Operations Leader - IBM

Name: Kapil Sharma

Position: Global IA Tax Program Manager and APAC Operations Leader

Company: IBM

Kapil Sharma's opinions are his own, and not necessarily the views of IBM or any affiliate organisation.




Professional Background

IBM, Global IA Tax Program Manager and APAC Operations Leader (Philippines): 2013 – Present

IBM, Global Recruitment Delivery Manager (India): 2008 – 2013

IBM India, Recruitment Lead (India): 2006 – 2008

Dimensions, Founder (India): 1999 – 2006


Career Insider

Q: Why global mobility, and how did you get started in the industry?

A: I started my corporate career in recruitment and that gave me a good understanding and appreciation of various talent fulfilment strategies such as university hiring, lateral hiring etc. Assignments are a very niche part of the overall talent fulfilment strategy of organizations. As a part of expanding my expertise in this area, I transferred to global mobility when an opportunity arose about 5 years ago as a project manager and now I lead the APAC Assignee Tax program for IBM.

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Q: Has your own experience as an expat contributed to your work at IBM?

A: Most certainly. I started my assignment to Manila a few months after joining Global Mobility. From the outset, I witnessed the process from an end user standpoint and that is a very different experience than that of a program manager. The whole premise of the hot new trend on Design Thinking where we approach all processes from an end user standpoint is to design around the user experience – that is the unique perspective that I have been able to bring to the program. It is particularly helpful when making adjustments to the program or really removing redundant parts.


Q: What aspect of your work at IBM do you find most exciting?

A: Well for one in IBM, we are not really employees, rather entrepreneurs. Our values are very strong the corporation encourages individuals to be the best versions of themselves and continuously evolve. From starting my life as a hotelier, doing a stint as an entrepreneur and them coming to IBM, I really haven’t every felt stifled by policy and process. I have always been encouraged to challenge status quo and be innovative while continuously upskilling and reskilling myself. This is really what drives me as a professional. 

In global mobility specifically, it notches up because of the dynamic on continuously changing tax legislations and labour landscape around the globe. There is a delicate balance between being compliant and being pragmatic while still taking calculated risks that make business sense.


Industry Insider

Q: How do you think the global tax landscape with respect to mobility industry has changed over the years?

A: Well, about 20 years ago assignment plans were very generous and mostly either tax protected or tax equalized with the assignee being on a home-based salary + allowances in the host country. This created a number of downstream implications particularly with large tax refunds in certain countries and several years of post-assignment tax liabilities related to deferred compensation. These made the program very unwieldy for organizations with never ending processes and a poor assignee experience in the long run. 

Fast forward to today, the world has drastically shifted and we are in the era of host-based plans where assignees are paid a host salary and allowances if applicable. They may be provided tax filing assistance in the host country, but these plans don’t need to be tax equalized, as such, the downstream admin of managing lingering processes is minimized – the focus is now on keeping it simple and current – both for the assignee and the organization.


Q: What is the most important strategic tip you can give to companies handling global tax?

A: I think planning ahead is really important. Most of the time, we are so mired in the day to day that we miss significant opportunities that require focus and thoughtful planning and research. Also, when looking at simplifying the program – don’t boil the ocean. Look for small wins that may be relatively easy to implement and will establish the credibility of the program with business leaders. This is how you get their buy in for investments that may be required for program simplification.


Q: What kind of tech or software would you suggest for global mobility processing?

A: The latest trend is to get a cloud-based SaaS solution. We recently implemented Equus that integrates both core mobility and tax processing capabilities. Also, it is a good idea to see what parts of the process that are routine will be good candidate for a robotics process automation solution to gain efficiencies.


Visionary Insider

Q: How can global mobility practices get better in the next 5 years?

A: Simplify the program, enable assignees and at the same time put more onus on them as individuals to take charge of their move while providing adequate support.


Q: If you had to pick, which aspect of global tax handling is most needing change?

A: Business traveller tracking.


Q: What are the major developments you currently see happening in the industry, and how do you feel about them?

A: Governments are becoming savvy, they are using big data and AI to integrate individual tax, corporate tax and immigration. This is both good and bad. Good because it means that organizations have to do less admin for the benefit of themselves and individuals, bad because it means that any process deficiencies and gaps between these areas in an organization can get highlighted very quickly. 

This also means that governments are looking to organizations to self-certify, therefore, the burden of proof shifts to the corporation. I personally feel that this is a good trend as it creates more transparency and ensures better governance by giving corporations the charge of their compliance, but it can also become a derailing factor if organizations are not ready.



  • Short-term or long-term assignment? Long-term assignment
  • Airbnb or serviced apartments? Serviced apartment
  • Excel or global mobility software? Global mobility software
  • Lump-sum or flex-ben? Flex-ben
  • Facebook or LinkedIn? LinkedIn
  • Outlook or Gmail? Gmail
  • Taxi or Uber? Uber
  • iOS or Android? iOS
  • Mac or PC? Mac
  • Computer or tablet? Tablet
  • Work hard or play hard? Work Hard Play harder




  • Good Insight Kapil...............All the best !!

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