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  2. 401k & Roth Liquidation Assessments

    @Osrt   What PandaMunich said.   Once you have filed an Einspruch and preserved the issue, your next task will be producing evidence of your contributions to both your Roth and 401(k).   All contributions to a Roth are from previously taxed income.  Thus, the taxable portion of a (complete?) liquidating distribution will be relatively simple:  Total - contributions = taxable Kapitalerträge.   The 401(k) is a bit more complicated and the jury is still out on some aspects of German taxation.   Contributions by you and employer made prior to 2008 should be regarded in Germany as contributions for which you did not receive (and prior to 2008: could not receive) any German tax (deferral) benefit and should thus not be included in your German taxable income when distributed to you on liquidation.   Post-2008 contributions are another matter.  However, if these were made after 2008 but before you became a German tax resident these contributions also provided you with no German tax (deferral) benefit and should also be regarded as the functional equivalent of a non-taxable "return of capital" when included in your liquidating distribution.   Besides the necessity of substantiating your contributions you may also have to reckon with the intransigence of the FA on an issue that it lost on in a recent court case but which it is currently appealing, to wit:   The FA is arguing that even contributions that produced no German tax deferral should nevertheless be considered taxable upon distribution on the theory that if the taxpayer had been a German taxpayer they could have obtained deferral if they had so chosen.  In my view (and in the view of the German tax court in the first instance) this is preposterous. But  . . .the FA is still going to argue its "woulda, coulda, shoulda" theory on appeal.   The case details (in case your Steuerberater/Anwalt is unaware of it are:   Finanzgericht Köln, 11 K 2738/14 Datum: 09.08.2018 Spruchkörper: 11. Senat Entscheidungsart: Urteil Aktenzeichen: 11 K 2738/14 ECLI: ECLI:DE:FGK:2018:0809.11K2738.14.00   Nachinstanz: Bundesfinanzhof, X R 29/18     Don't worry about that now, though.  Get your Einspruch filed ASAP and then start gathering your contribution evidence.    
  3. Coronavirus

    In the meantime - lose weight. It seems the worst affected countries are the countries with the biggest obesity problems. UK and US - I'm looking at you.   Vietnam which has a very thin population have a very low number of deaths. Same as Japan and other 'thin' countries.   
  4. Germany is like a diesel engine: it needs some time to pick up the speed.
  5. Coronavirus

    I stand corrected on Belgium and the Czech Republic and appreciate your acknowledgement that it was a gamble to inject a cohort of people with a medication for which there was insufficient trial data. I'm glad the UK did it, because now we do have data, but it was a gamble the Tories took.   The bottom line is really that you don't have to play lotto.
  6. As bad as customer service can be... just think how worse it all is when your complaints disappear down the blackhole of faceless internet juggernauts.   I don't even want to spend another 5 minutes typing it all out, but it involves non-shipment of an item spanning 3 weeks now. Apparently, Amazon.de does not officially consider an item late if they never shipped it, not even if each "3-day delivery promise" gets bumped back 4 times. Their customer service chat (not bots, but real people in Serbia, apparently) are utterly useless. More like customer deflection. Polite, but repeat the same squishy lines about sympathizing, will watch the item and get back to me, but can provide no clues, no insights, no info, no help. I guess I'm just disappointed that I thought I would be sent in circles and I was.   I dislike amazon, but couldn't find it elsewhere, was listed as in-stock, so went for it. Yes, I now regret it. It's 'fulfilled by Amazon' but offered by an independent (German!) seller on the site. Contacted her, and she shrugged back that the non-delivery must be my fault, I should check my payment details, and hasn't responded further.    Of course, I have simply cancelled the order.
  7. Brexit: The fallout

    Prof of European Law at Liverpool Uni, Michael Dougan has tweeted the following: 1) Most generous explanation for HMG’s actions? Tories are now more worried about potential for DUP & paramilitary allies to plunge NI into serious disorder, than about immediate legal and diplomatic consequences of UK’s international lawbreaking. 2) But more likely explanation (since it fits into clear & established pattern)? Johnson only ever signed Protocol to “get Brexit done” with no real grasp of its implications / sincere intention of implementing it in good faith, so HMG simply places little value on own compliance. 3) Combined with (in general) the ideologue’s belief in untrammelled state sovereignty, where rules are optional and obligations exist only for others; and (in particular) the Europhobe’s contempt for the EU, its very existence being a source for spite and antagonism. 4) But UK conduct is unsustainable. We know: Protocol is result of choices made by Johnson & approved by Parliament; there is no credible alternative; it requires trust & cooperation to work; such trust requires honesty, not least about price NI must pay for Johnson’s Hard Brexit. 5) Yet Johnson continues to cover tracks & mislead public: “The position of Northern Ireland within the UK internal market is rock solid and guaranteed”. It isn’t. The UK state decided (& it was a choice) that one cost of Hard Brexit = NI’s legal and economic segregation from GB. 6) So long as Johnson refuses to be open and honest, certain NI unionists might believe there’s still a “better solution” - if only they can pile on enough pressure. There isn’t. NI unionists need to understand and accept a brute fact, however unpleasant it may be: 7) That English nationalists pursued Brexit regardless of cost to UK itself. With DUP's active assistance. No point complaining about threats to British identity, because the very meaning of “British identity” has been radically redefined by Tory Government and Parliament. 8) Would be right, eg for EU+US to pile serious pressure on Johnson Regime / make clear & tangible price to be paid by international delinquents. But ultimately NI’s stability depends on NI unionists accepting: Brexit changed everything. Which needs Tories to stop lying about it.
  8. Today
  9. US expat tax filing and German pension funds

      No FBAR filing requirement unless the "account" - like some life insurance policies and annuity contracts - has a cash value that you can tap on demand.
  10. Child capital gains, ETF, PFIC regulations

      A gift of a PFIC is regarded as a sale/disposition and is reported as such.   Assuming your child wishes to make a gift of his/her shares to Mom, the administrative headache of effecting the gift through the bank may not be worth the cost of simply selling them.   Mom would take child's (German) tax basis but that info would not necessarily accompany the gift so records would have to be kept, etc. etc.   Charles Schwab appears to be actively encouraging GFs (Godless Furriners) and US expats to open an "International Schwab One" brokerage account.  They don't allow TOD arrangements with such accounts but I was able to add my NRA spouse to such an account in JTWROS without muss or fuss.  Schwab definitely offers custodial accounts for minors but I did not check to see if that applied to the international version; possibly not if the custodial arrangement is reliant on US state law (UTMA, etc.).  Still might be worth looking into.    
  11. Brexit: The fallout

    Sadly Ireland was actually lobbying in Brussels to have the grace periods extended and Coveney believes they were being well received by our EU partners. I would be amazed if the diplomatic backchannels between Dublin and London didn't mean that the UK government would have been well aware of this lobbying but decided to lob this hand grenade into the mix anyway. UK government really wants Brexit to be contentious. Pack of Tory wankers.   https://twitter.com/rtenews/status/1367393168782721029
  12. Coronavirus

    Actually in Europe both Belgium and the Czech Republic have higher death rates (deaths per million population) than the UK! https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/   Bottom line is you can't win the Loto if you don't buy a ticket. The EU didn't buy a ticket!
  13. Brexit: The fallout

    Only EU citizens will be allowed to cross the border.It´s the South who put the ban in place. Apart from that the North is only recognised by Turkey, so it´s passports etc. aren´t recognised anywhere else.
  14. Brexit: The fallout

    6/ It's fair to say the legal action would be supported by member states and the European Parliament. It reflects the strength of feeling about the UK move. Luxembourg MEP  @CHansenEU , on the EP trade committee, is saying the Parliament shd postpone ratifying the TCA   https://mobile.twitter.com/tconnellyRTE/status/1367419215955828736  
  15. Mold dispute with the landlord

    I agree with krakp that reaching out to the tenants association (mieterverein) is a good bet (if you are already a member). They have lawyers there that can give you free advice.   If you already have an invoice from the landlord, then you might want to contact your private liability insurance (if you have one). They are usually quite good at debating the cost of damages in your favour.    You could, of course, reach out to a lawyer on your own. I am not sure how much it will cost, but lawyers are expensive, so expect anywhere between 50 - 400 Euros per hour (plus other admin fees).    Generally, German law is quite lenient towards tenants. So provided that the mould is not your fault, then it's hard for the landlord to evict you or make you pay for any repairs. The exception is if there is a clause that makes you liable in your contract.    Mould can be difficult to keep out once it's formed, especially for smaller, less airy flats. I know someone who suffered from a broken pipe, had mould growing on a wall in one room as a result, and even after airing and painting over the wall, the mould just kept coming back.
  16. Brexit: The fallout

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56278125   "EU negotiating with a partner it can't trust"
  17. Coronavirus

    The data is now available for this cohort. The UK government, having the worst death rate by far in Europe and one of the highest in the world, felt compelled to gamble early. I'm delighted that the gamble paid off, but it was still a gamble! (as was the longer delay between doses, which also paid off)
  18. "Seychelles will reopen to tourists from all over the world - with the exception of South Africa - on March 25, a top official said Monday. Visitors coming to the islands will only need a negative PCR test done within 72 hours prior to their arrival to the country. No quarantine will be needed and visitors will be free to enjoy their holidays in certified hotels." http://www.seychellesnewsagency.com/articles/14453/Seychelles+to+re-open+islands+to+tourists+from+around+the+world+on+March+   More than 50% of the population have already received the first dose: http://www.nation.sc/articles/8055/covid-19-vaccination-uptake    
  19. I think I heard it mentioned on the news yesterday they are going to be extending the time between the 1st and 2nd jabs as they do in the UK so this should mean more people get their first jab quicker but the vaccinations here are like watching paint dry at the moment. It's definitely an exercise in patience.
  20. Brexit, New residence permits

    I reckon a lot of folks "flying under the radar" will be flushed out of the long grass. A mate of mine in the Canaries was telling me that the place used to be full of Brits who were never registered at all. They'd spend most of the year there, working cash in hand doing stuff like building work and trades or working remotely for UK companies, using a UK issued EHIC for any medical cover etc. Completely against the rules of course. Now they've all had to just go home.
  21. How to get German Citizenship and retain (dual) US Citizenship

    By the way, I have since followed up with my CPA, and it seems pretty clear that I cannot make the argument that my IRA problems will cause me a hardship.    I think that people are either facing a different problem than me because they have more than $2,000,000 in assets, which makes them be subjected to a different set of rules, or they are mixing up residency restrictions on their IRAs with citizenship restrictions. I will be taxed on my IRA from Germany, not the US, when I begin drawing from it, so the US tax rate on it will be 0% whether I am a US citizen or not. They may restrict my trading in the IRA in the meantime, but that has far more to do with my residency in Germany than my citizenship. I'm pretty sure that if I could no longer maintain a US address, they would have already contacted me to tell me that I was not permitted to make any further trades.   In any case, more power to you if you managed to use IRA hardship as the basis for your dual citizenship claim, but I'm not convinced that a case can really be made on this basis unless you have millions in assets.    Again, I would love to be proven wrong. But I'm not sure it is in any way sufficient to prove this point if you simply say that you were successful with this approach, because I think the German authorities can get pretty confused when trying to understand US tax law.    I agree in spirit that bad things will happen to my ability to use my IRA if I give up citizenship, but only because I will be forced to tell my IRA provider that I live in Germany. I don't think that is really a sufficient argument for showing hardship from citizenship renunciation.   Please, tell me I am wrong!
  22. Coronavirus

    So France and Germany have now approved AZ's use in over-65s. All that drama for nothing. It'd be funny if the way Europe has been mishandling its vaccine strategy weren't so tragic ...   https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2021/mar/04/coronavirus-live-news-covid-death-rates-10-times-higher-in-countries-where-most-adults-overweight
  23. Relocating nearby to Munich

    I have a very nice landlord. What I have been doing is I make agreements with him for improvements. Example: I bought a water decalcifier at my expenses. He paid nothing. If I leave after 12 years, it's his. If I leave before, he pays me proportionally to the time I was there. Perhaps you can make such arrangements too.
  24. Target should be 700.000 per day. Right now it's 200.000 and I don't think it will go much higher before April. But it will accelerate. It could already accelerate now if they removed the stupid rule to keep the 2nd dose reserved.
  25. Relocating nearby to Munich

      I am also stuck in this mindset. But I'm slowly coming around. We also cannot afford to buy the place we live in (not even close), so we have no choice, we pay rent and invest whatever is left over. And actually, seeing this working is slowly changing my mind. I can see it now. The only issue that I still have is not living in a place that is my own. It would be nice to have the freedom to do whatever I want with the place. But, that being said, it's balanced by not having to worry about any problems occurring, that's the landlords problem.
  26. Speeding ticket, letter without a fine amount?

    So- watch your speed!!
  27. Space rocket launches and ISS docking news

    Here is another example where rotational forces were enough to rip appart a Saturn V test rocket.  
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