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Everything posted by sumguy

  1. The contributions you pay to the KSK go to three different things: public health insurance (Krankenkasse, e.g. TK, AOK, Barmer, etc.), long-term care insurance through the Krankenkasse, and the German pension plan. The KSK itself doesn't hold any of your contributions. The first two are insurances that don't accumulate, so the monthly premiums you pay for those go to your Krankenkasse and are gone, they're spent, you don't get them back. That accounts for around half of your contributions.   The pension is the national German pension fund, the Deutsche Rentenversicherung. You should have received documentation from them in the mail. It's not specific only to artists. The KSK makes the equivalent of employer contributions to your pension on top of the ones you make. But other than that, it's a normal German pension plan, like most other people have. If you leave the KSK and get a job in Germany, you and your employer will still make contributions to that same pension plan.   If you live in Germany for less than five years, you can claim your pension contributions back when you leave. After five years, you can't anymore, but you will be eligible for pension payouts when you reach the retirement age, even if you don't live in Germany anymore. You can search for more information about that.
  2. In many countries outside of Germany, the estate of a deceased person will file its own income tax return. If the estate has income, e.g. from dividends or gains from sales of investments, and it doesn't distribute it to the beneficiaries, it will pay income tax itself. Does anyone know if that income will also be attributed and taxed to German-resident beneficiaries? If so, is there any way they can get a tax credit for the tax that the estate paid?   In my case the estate is in Canada, but it's a general question. I've been told that under §15 AStG an estate in common law countries is treated as a "family foundation" if the majority of beneficiaries are family members, and anyone who is named in the will is "entitled to distributions". That means that any income that's not distributed for whatever reason, which the estate pays income or gains tax on, will be attributed and taxable anyway to the German beneficiary, in the year it's earned, in proportion to their share in the estate, even though they don't receive it. Will this result in double taxation, both the estate and the beneficiary? I can't find anything about tax treaties preventing this.    
  3. Double taxation of an Estate's income - AStG

    Hey everyone, hope you had a nice holiday (or are still having one!), and thanks for the responses. Panda, that corresponds to what the lawyer basically told me, and what I've read about foreign trusts, though your explanation and references are much more thorough, I appreciate it!   I've seen §15 AStG discussed in many online sources and a few books, but always only in the context of an actual foreign family foundation or trust. I'm surprised that I'm not able to find any direct mention that it would apply to the ordinary estate that arises in most common-law countries when anyone dies. That would seem like the most frequent place it would be encountered, with regard to those countries. An estate is not a trust or foundation, in the sense that its purpose is to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries as soon as possible, not to hold them for a long term. But it's common that it can take a couple of years to get the paperwork done and wind up the estate. In the meantime, interest and dividends may accumulate, or assets get sold.   I guess the lesson is to have the estate distribute any income in the year it's earned, if possible. I will also look into whether the estate can attribute income to a beneficiary, even if it's not distributed, and deduct that so that it doesn't pay tax, but that's not a German tax question. However, it's also common that estates have to sell assets in order to pay tax bills, so that may be difficult. Especially in Canada, where the estate pays income tax on RRSP/RRIF retirement plans (like a US IRA) that are deemed to be cashed in at the time of death, and, instead of an inheritance/estate tax, capital gains tax on all property, which is deemed to be sold and repurchased at the time of death. As far as I can tell, Germany doesn't give tax credits for these either. It leads to some heavy double and even triple taxation.     The relevant paragraphs are: (2) Familienstiftungen sind Stiftungen, bei denen der Stifter, seine Angehörigen und deren Abkömmlinge zu mehr als der Hälfte bezugsberechtigt oder anfallsberechtigt sind. (4) Den Stiftungen stehen sonstige Zweckvermögen, Vermögensmassen und rechtsfähige oder nichtrechtsfähige Personenvereinigungen gleich. In a translation here: (2) Family foundations are foundations where the founder, his or her relatives and their descendants are entitled to more than half of the benefits or remainder. (4) Other special-purpose funds, estates, and associations with or without legal capacity are treated as equivalent to foundations.   I think it has to do with the concept of Typenvergleich, where foreign legal structures are shoehorned into the closest-matching German structure, regardless of the tax treatment or legal-person status of them in the foreign country.
  4. Double taxation of an Estate's income - AStG

      Thanks both. But the question is about income tax / capital gains tax, not inheritance or estate tax, which is a very different issue. Canada has no inheritance tax treaty, like the UK and unlike the US. But income/gains tax is covered by the DTA. It appears that AStG has a treaty override though. I've actually done a lot of digging, and I was also told by a reputable lawyer (though not a Steuerberater) that there will be double taxation, despite the treaty. That's major bad news for me, so I'm looking for confirmations or second opinions...      
  5. 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?
  6. Tax advisor / Steuerberater for a Canadian

    Just following up on this, because I have looked far and wide, and contacted several of the people who advertise here, but I still haven't found anyone who can answer from experience whether an inherited TFSA or RRIF is subject to income tax as a "pension" under the tax treaty. If anyone can recommend someone who has done this before (or some other way to find a concrete answer) I'd appreciate it...    
  7. Airfryers

    NYT/Wirecutter did a review of air fryers a few years ago, and found that they didn't really recommend any of them because actually a convection toaster oven works better for most things. The food gets spread out more on a tray, rather than balled up in a basket, so cooks more evenly. They softened their stance a little though, and say that a "pod" type of air fryer is good for small portions, if you don't want to use the counter space - but still recommend the toaster oven. I'd like to get one or the other, I guess I'm leaning towards the toaster oven type. Let's see if there are any "Black Friday" deals.   The 3 Best Air Fryers of 2022 | Reviews by Wirecutter   I'm also looking at this one, great reviews, but I can't quite work out what the advantage of air-frying your mobile phone is:   Ylife, mobile phone case compatible with Huawei, Samsung Galaxy A40, ZTT-B-14 : Home & Kitchen
  8. Accused of torrenting copyrighted material

    Wow, after 13 years and 158 pages of this thread, people are giving out such terrible advice? Blave, I really suggest that you do *not* just bin the letter and ignore it!   It's possible that it's a pure scam, i.e. fake and not actually from Waldorf Frommer (now actually called Frommer Legal), so that's the first thing to find out. But it might be a valid claim, and Frommer is a legitimate law firm - double-check that it's a paper letter (not e-mail) and the contact details and bank account, etc. If it seems real, do *not* sign the form they give you (ever!) nor respond to the letter, nor hire another lawyer or service that promises to get you out of it for a lower cost, until you have a good understanding of what you're getting into. If you do hire someone to represent you, you can expect to pay at least €200 or more, and some are better than others. You can try to deal with it on your own, for example using something like this to generate a response letter: - but that's more risky I would guess, and I have no idea how successful people have been with it. Some say to wait until you receive the "yellow letter" that is a court summons, before getting a lawyer, because your legal fees after that have to be paid by the complainant if they lose. But again, I don't know how advisable that really is.   Find a reliable source to educate yourself on the current state of things, and don't trust just any blog or forum post about it. There are lots of opinions, most of them ill-informed, many of them trying to sell you something. Information may be out of date, especially anything before 2017. Sorry, I don't have a good source to recommend offhand. I won't try to give you specific advice, because it's been a while since I had to look into it, and there have been a lot of changes in the laws over the years. In the past, the connection owner was considered liable, but that's changed, and it makes a big difference whether you actually did the sharing, or someone else. There have been court cases on exactly the situation you are describing, and rules set about how you can show that it wasn't you, and whether you are required to identify the person it was. Even so, it may or may not get you out of paying anything at all, but it won't be €1800. There's a chance you may need to throw your friend under the bus though. Good luck...
  9. 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?