sumguy

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About sumguy

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  • Location Berlin
  • Nationality Canadian
  • Gender Male
  1. I'm a non-EU immigrant with a freelancer Aufenthaltstitel. Is it possible for me to stop or reduce working, if I have sufficient savings? Or sort of semi-retire? Or do I always have to earn enough to live on from my business, regardless of my savings or investment income?   Since the pandemic, I've lost my main clients, and haven't been earning much. I'd like to make a change in the kind of work I do, but that will take some time. I've been told that I have to earn enough income to secure my livelihood, something like €500/month plus rent and health insurance. And that it doesn't really matter how much savings I have, I can't just live from my savings. But then how are people allowed to retire here?   I've been here for more than five years, and have a general work permit, but never got around to getting a permanent Niederlassungserlaubnis. I have enough savings that I could maybe take early retirement already, or at least semi-retirement (not taking my pension yet). But ironically, I'm worried now about not getting a permanent permit, not even getting my current one renewed, and being kicked out of Germany, for not making enough money. I suppose I could try to get some kind of office job or whatever, get the permanent permit, then quit. But can't I demonstrate that I have a secure livelihood from my savings, not only from work?
  2. Tax relief packages in Germany 2022

    Thanks for the info. Btw., the 300 euro energy-cost reduction in pre-payments for self-employed/freelancers can't be claimed until September. The income tax pre-payment will have to be paid as usual for June 10th. There still seem to be some questions about how it all will work...   https://www.vgsd.de/viele-offene-fragen-300-euro-energiepauschale-profitieren-auch-selbststaendige/
  3. Tax advisor / Steuerberater for a Canadian

    Unlike an RRSP, a TFSA is not taxable at all in Canada, so there's no withholding tax. The German lawyer suggested that because the earnings were tax-privileged in Canada but not in Germany, all past earnings, i.e. the difference between the contributions and the final value at death, might be subject to income tax in Germany if I inherit it. But he didn't know for sure, and said he would have to spend time researching it. I'd rather not finance his education, so I'd like to find someone with direct experience.   I have some other related issues that I need help with. For example there's also a RRIF, which the estate will pay tax on, but the lawyer says I wouldn't get a tax credit for that, and would have to pay income tax in Germany, but I find that hard to believe. The tax treaty should prevent double income tax. If there are huge tax bills, I might end up disclaiming the inheritance, and it will go to another family member in Canada. If not, I'll need help with dealing with tax returns and so on.
  4. I'm looking for a Steuerberater with good experience with Canadian clients.   For example, I need to know whether there is income tax (not inheritance tax) on an inherited tax-free savings account (TFSA). I spoke to a lawyer who specializes in international inheritance cases, and he said it was complicated and he could only guess, based on how a US Roth IRA is taxed. I'd really like to find someone who has actually dealt with an inherited Canadian TFSA, with the Finanzamt, and similar issues. Any recommendations?
  5. 3G in Restaurants?

      Even on the transatlantic flight, a lot of people are still wearing cloth or loose surgical masks, and in any case, everyone removes them the half-dozen times they come around with drinks or food. It was kind of surreal to me, all these precautions, everyone sitting quietly with masks on, then all of a sudden it's happy hour, the masks fly off, and everyone is eating, talking, laughing... then twenty minutes later the masks go back on. When I had to fly, it was before Omicron, and everyone on board had just had a PCR test. Also, the ventilation/filtration on planes is very good. So probably there wasn't that much risk - not as much as at the airport before and after boarding. But things are a little different now.   If you're very immune-compromised, the important thing will be that your own mask fits well. FFP2 has 95% filtration, FFP3 is better than 99%. But if they're loose around the bridge of the nose, that can drop to less than 50%. I've also had a lot of trouble with my glasses fogging up terribly. I've had some success with using "fashion tape" from Amazon, double-sided adhesive tape sold for fixing clothing to the skin. It's very strong though, and removing it (which you have to do at passport control) can be a bit of a pain. I went with one layer of it to stick well to the mask, and another layer of less-sticky tape I had at home, to stick to the skin. Also you can't take it off and on very many times, after three or four times it loses its stickiness.   If you don't mind how it looks, another option could be a reusable elastomer mask, the kind some hospitals use for their staff: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/27/us/coronavirus-masks-elastomeric-respirators.html The synthetic rubber makes an airtight fit, like a diving mask, so you get the full effect of the filters, which are P3/N100 - 99.95%. Most of them sold on Amazon etc. have an exhalation valve, so they don't meet the mandate requirements, but this one is a special version: https://www.amazon.ca/GVS-SPR644-Exhalation-Respirator-Replaceable/dp/B095YBV2T9?th=1 - I don't see it in Germany, but you could get the equivalent standard model, block the exhalation valve with plastic or aluminum foil, and remove the inhalation valves: https://www.amazon.de/Elipse-SPR501-Feinstaubfiltermaske-Mittel-Gro%C3%9F/dp/B013EBHHH0?th=1 It costs less than a big box of disposable masks, and can be used hundreds of times, so it's a lot better for the environment too.   Don't know if that helps... in any case, I hope you have a safe trip!        
  6. 3G in Restaurants?

      Regardless of any discussion about mandatory vaccination, you're still saying that the vaccines "offer little or no protection against the covid variants which are now infecting so many people." The statement is dangerously misleading; it's simply not at all true. Not by a long shot.   The figures show something like a thirty-times higher infection rate than a year ago, so protection against infection with omicron is not so good. Yet despite this, hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths, are slightly lower in absolute numbers, and vastly lower relative to a thirty-fold increase in infections (see the charts above). Some may say this is only because Omicron is milder, and has nothing to do with the vaccines. That's also simply not true. Neither is it true that "the jury is still out". Omicron does produce less severe disease overall, and vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization and death is slightly lower for omicron than for delta, depending on age. But according to a large peer-reviewed study published last month in the Lancet (probably the top medical journal in the world), based on over a million cases of omicron:   "Booster vaccination with an mRNA vaccine was highly protective against hospitalisation and death in omicron cases [...] relative protection (vs unvaccinated) against hospital admission with omicron in breakthrough cases remained above 70% (HR <0·3) for all vaccination categories that included a booster dose (adjusted HR for hospital admission 8–11 weeks post-booster vs unvaccinated 0·22 [95% CI 0·20–0·24]" Comparative analysis of the risks of hospitalisation and death associated with SARS-CoV-2 omicron (B.1.1.529) and delta (B.1.617.2) variants in England: a cohort study   Unfortunately, we won't be getting a vaccine that lasts a lifetime, but it's likely there will eventually be substantial improvements in effectiveness against infection. 47% is actually pretty good though, it's around what the flu vaccine is many years. Perhaps there will be a combined annual flu/COVID shot. Hopefully there will be advances in therapeutics, anti-virals that can cure an infection. But currently, the mRNA vaccines are highly effective, safe, and the best way to greatly reduce the risk of hospitalization or death as a result of omicron or any other known variant.
  7. 3G in Restaurants?

      "Limited protection, if any" is about infection with Omicron, several months later. Three doses do offer reasonable protection against hospitalizaton and deaths, but so do two. The way he says it makes it sound like there was little or no protection with only two doses, against hospitalization and death, without actually saying it. Again, it's literally his job to sell boosters.   "Omicron itself protects from serious disease,  hospitalization and death" - yes, of course it does. Smallpox too. If you live. What's your point? If you want to protect against infection from Omicron, "getting infected with Omicron" is not a rational strategy. It's a dangerous disease. Far FAR more dangerous than the vaccine. If you're one of the lucky ones who only got a mild case and no ongoing symptoms, then I'm happy for you, and for everyone else in that situation. Bill Gates is sad that so many people, particularly in Africa, have had to aquire immunity through infection with Omicron, with many suffering long COVID, and many thousands of deaths, instead of through the safe and effective vaccine that could have prevented a very large portion of that, if it had have been distributed in time.
  8. 3G in Restaurants?

      That's a good question. The answer is certainly not "today". My criteria would include the health minister no longer saying things like "The risk of becoming infected now is higher than ever. Please voluntarily wear masks indoors", and the numbers looking a little more like last summer than they do now:     And I guess, a new more severe and equally contagious variant not showing up.   To be honest, if you are vaccinated and recently recovered from Omicron, it wouldn't bother me if you didn't wear a mask for the next month or so. After that...??
  9. 3G in Restaurants?

      Excuse me, what?
  10. 3G in Restaurants?

      You're right, the response to the vaccine isn't exactly the same as to the actual virus. Following an infection, the immune response is mostly against the outer part of the virus. Some (but not all) people also develop antibodies to internal parts. More importantly, the current vaccines are based on the original spike proteins, which are significantly changed in Omicron. So they're less effective against it than they were against the original strain. There isn't a simple answer to whether being vaccinated or recovered provides better immunity. There are a lot of variables. I wouldn't be surpised if recovery from Omicron provides better protection against (re-)infection with Omicron than the current vaccines do. Recovery from Delta, not so much.   In any case, the point is that immunity to COVID due to circulating antibodies, whether from infection or vaccination, wanes over several months to a level that is no longer able to prevent infection. The complaint that the vaccines don't provide life-long immunity the way the measles vaccine does, and therefore there's something wrong with them, is false, a red herring. Nobody should expect life-long protection through a COVID vaccine. That's not going to happen, due to the nature of the virus and the immune system. It's not a valid criticism of the vaccines.
  11. 3G in Restaurants?

      Is it really such a burden for you to put on a mask while grocery shopping? It just seems like common courtesy for the safety of your fellow Bürgers, like using condoms in the AIDS era, or not driving drunk. In these days of continued record-high infection rates, where before we used to cover our mouth when coughing or sneezing, now, in some situations, we cover it all the time. Couldn't you get used to it? I mean really, it seems like the decent thing to do.   Having said that, there's an obligation for susceptible people to wear well-fitting N95/FFP2 or better masks, which almost nobody does. Pretty much everyone has a big gap around the bridge of their nose. If your glasses fog up, you're doing it wrong. Use some double-sided tape. And nevermind loose surgical masks, or wearing them below the nose... Here is a chart showing percentage of inward leakage, comparing an FFP2 mask without adjusting it for a good fit, FFP2 adjusted for fit, double-masking with FFP2 + surgical, an FFP2 with double-sided tape on the bridge of the nose, and a surgical mask only. There's a huge difference...     https://www.pnas.org/content/118/49/e2110117118
  12. 3G in Restaurants?

      So... you'll be wearing a mask in the supermarket then? Thanks, appreciate it.   "If I had 3 measles injections in a year and still got measles, I'd think there was something wrong."   Another tired anti-vax trope that's been posted here numerous times. Typically as one of those oh-so-edgy image macro memes copied from Facebook...   The simple fact is that the human body produces life-long immunity to measles infection, after recovery. It does not produce life-long immunity to other pathogens, like the flu, tetanus, and the corona viruses (including the ones that cause a common cold). The reasons have to do with the mutational stability of the organism, and the level and persistence in the body of the different specific antibodies required to fight them off. Some antibodies decay faster than others. I can explain in more detail if you're interested.   The vaccine only simulates an attack, tricking the immune system into mounting the same defence as it would to the real thing. If that wanes after a few months, blame your immune system, not the vaccine.   Is it possible that improved vaccines could be developed? Absolutely. But don't expect life-long immunity, because that's not how humans work. Does that mean there's something wrong, that the vaccines we have are laughably ineffective? No. Not even remotely.
  13. 3G in Restaurants?

      It's a sucker's bet. Chances are you'll have some sort of medical issue in the next six months, whether that's a stubbed toe or pancreatic cancer. In Mr.Bore's paranoid comic-book world of sinister dark agents, where everyone dies from the vaccine, but with COVID, whatever it is will be a side-effect of the vaccine. You can't win.
  14. 3G in Restaurants?

      You keep posting the same tired old anti-vax meme over and over. There was no evidence whatsoever that these deaths were caused by the vaccine the last twelve times you posted it, and there still isn't.   The number of events reported are higher due to increased reporting requirements during the pandemic. In the US, healthcare workers are required to report all deaths that follow a vaccination, regardless of whether they suspect any connection. On the other hand, it's common sense that people will be less likely to report a death to the system, the longer it occurs after the vaccination. Yawn.   Increase in COVID-19 VAERS Reports Due To Reporting Requirements, Intense Scrutiny of Widely Given Vaccines - FactCheck.org Viral Posts Misuse VAERS Data to Make False Claims About COVID-19 Vaccines - FactCheck.org   Fact Check-Reports of 9,318 VAERS COVID-19 vaccine deaths do not prove causality | Reuters   etc., etc...   There are actually a lot of valid criticisms to be made of the vaccines and the related health policies. Why not do some actual thinking, instead of going with this fantasy conspiracy stuff? I mean it's on the level of Q-Anon, and "Hillary Clinton is a baby-eating pedophile who secretly controls Al-Qaeda".
  15. 3G in Restaurants?

      Please stop saying that. It's simply not true.   A peer-reviewed study of over 25,000 people, published in February by Nature (one of the top scientific journals), found the following: - After the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, effectiveness against infection by Omicron had waned from 44% to 23% after three months, and to 6% after nine months. - A third dose increased effectiveness against infection by Omicron back to 72%, waning after three months to 47%. - After three doses, the effectiveness against hospitalization, with Omicron or Delta, was greater than 99%, among the people studied.   Effectiveness of mRNA-1273 against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron and Delta variants https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01753-y   Another study showed mRNA vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization with Omicron to be 81% 14–179 days after dose 2, 57% ≥180 days after dose 2, and 90% ≥14 days after dose 3:   Effectiveness of a Third Dose of mRNA Vaccines Against COVID-19–Associated Emergency Department and Urgent Care Encounters and Hospitalizations Among Adults During Periods of Delta and Omicron Variant Predominance — VISION Network, 10 States, August 2021–January 2022 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7104e3.htm?s_cid=mm7104e3_w   There are numerous other studies that show rougly the same thing. These numbers could be off to some extent, but there's no way that the vaccines "offer little or no protection" against Omicron - especially from serious disease, hospitalization, and death.