CarolynS

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Posts posted by CarolynS


  1. It just won't end. Again the IRS wants my self-employment tax. I dutifully follow the instructions of my tax accountant and attache an addendum to my American income tax form stating why I don't pay self-employment tax. I attach a copy of my German certificate that details that year's retirement scheme contributions to Germany. I attache a translated copy of said document. Then, every other year, oddly, I get a bill for self-employment tax from the IRS. Last time it took them six months to sort it out. This time they're wanting another copy of all of the documents I submitted with my returned tax forms. Perhaps they were lost. Plus, and this is a new one, they want me to fax them a copy of the US-Germany agreement that states that I do no own tax to the US if I pay it in Germany, which can be found on their own IRS.gov website, along with the document from the US social security administration website. Unbelievable! So if anyone finds themselves facing the same thing, here are those documents. 

     

    https://www.ssa.gov/international/Agreement_Pamphlets/germany.html

     

    https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-trty/germany.pdf
     

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  2. On 10/9/2018, 4:46:53, susede said:

    I want to thank everyone who contributed so much information to this thread over the years. I only have myself to blame that I am now trying to file my US tax return myself, without help from an accountant, 6 days before it's due and I just found all the info in this thread about the German certificate regarding SE taxes. I don't have this certificate and it seems it's too late now for the 2017 filing, but looking over what my accountant has sent the IRS, I don't think he ever sent this to them, either. Just wondering if @CarolynS could tell us what happened? Did you have to actually pay the $10k? Thanks so much for any word of advice.

    No! I didn't have to pay the 10K because I had proof that I paid it to the German tax authorities. I supplied them with the document attesting to my payment of (Rentenversicherung) social security to Germany for those dates. I also supplied the IRS with a certified translation of the document. It all went away but it was a huge hassle. The next year I supplied the document about self employment payments with that year's tax return. No problem. 2016 however I got another letter about self employment due even though I again supplied the proof that I paid it to Germany. My accountant says the forms must have been separated at the IRS and to just send them the document again. I did and am awaiting their decision. 

     

    Had I not had proof that I paid in Germany, I'm sure the US would have wanted their payment. 

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  3. Coming from Chicago to Munich this all sounds spot on. I imagine she can't afford Lincoln Park so she's probably living somewhere like Lakeview or Wrigleyville and paying $2,600 a month for a two bedroom unfurnished apartment, which is way more than I pay for my Munich townhouse. There is good bread to be found, but you'd have to go to WholeFoods or one of the specialty bread shops to find it. You won't see it at Jewel. Yes, fake friendly is actually fun, you can have very upbeat conversations that are really enjoyable, but don't take it seriously. When I go back to the US, I have the same complaints—maybe I've been here too long. 

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  4. Well I can't seem to delete my question. I found, I think, the answer online. 

     

    But contrary to advice above, the IRS says you're NOT supposed to submit a Schedule SE and put 0. It says "Do not complete Schedule SE. Instead, attach a copy of the statement to Form 1040 and enter “Exempt, see attached statement” on Form 1040, line 57."

     

    By statement, they mean your Certificate of Coverage. 

     

    My tax advisor used to just attached a note that I was exempt and mentioned all the treaties and laws, but then the IRS came back and wanted $10K in back self-employment payments. 

     

     

     

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  5. 17 hours ago, BayrischDude said:

     

    Are you 100% sure she receives a portion of his retirement pay?  Normally the pay stops upon the death of the service member, but survivor benefits is an elected payment, which is similar to a life insurance.

     

    I'm not sure about the ins and outs of military benefits but the Army is quite aware that the Colonel passed away and the monthly checks go in my MIL's name and she pays taxes on them.  Her other son is also retired military so if there was a chance she'd be left with nothing, I imagine he'd know. But thanks for the heads up anyway. 

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  6. Yes, I was aware that Tricare was considered acceptable here but was hoping it was just optional if someone wanted to pay for public health insurance. My MIL moved to Germany with us about 10 years ago but decided not to stay. She only lived here for six months but didn't deregister. We stopped paying for her health insurance. But five years later AOK came to us wanting five years of health insurance payments. Long story short, we went to a lawyer and a judge said she didn't owe AOK anything because the person who sold her her coverage didn't do his due diligence in determining if she already has adequate insurance, noting that Tricare is adequate insurance in Germany.

     

     

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  7. Thanks so much!

     

    So are you saying she CAN NOT get public health insurance here even if she pays for it? She would use the Tricare here like a private insurance, submitting the bills to the US for reimbursement? 

     

    In the court case you cited, the widow gave up her German citizenship and returned to Germany as a permanent resident but remained a US citizen. Might this make my case different? Can a German citizen be denied public health insurance? 

     

    The court case also said this widow's Tricare didn't cover nursing care, so what would become of a elderly person here who didn't have nursing home coverage? Some government agency or program would step in? As her only relatives here, we'd be hard pressed to afford nursing care out-of-pocket, although I suspect that's what the government would require. 

     

    Thanks again. 

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  8. Hoping for some help on a unique topic. My mother in law (a German citizen) married a US Army officer in 1964. He retired in the 90s and passed away about 10 years ago. She lives in the US and gets a portion of his military pension and benefits. These monthly pension payments have income tax and healthcare, too, I think, deducted from them automatically. She is now 76 and is thinking of moving back to Germany. Since she is not a US citizen, can she receive the pension pre-tax and, after she moves here, pay any tax due here in Germany? She also has some sort of military "healthcare for life" which I understand would then be completely useless here, right? 

     

    Thank you.

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  9. So I kind-a like your concept with these bikes, I'm all for environmental friendly alternatives to driving. But I'm getting tired of these bike just littered all over the place. There are literally piles of them in my neighborhood. Kids knock them over and jump on them. I've seen them leaning against parked cars. I don't understand who the client base is supposed to be. I live in a far south residential neighborhood. Everyone who would ride a bike owns one, and there are plenty of buses. Are you eventually going to remove the bikes that aren't used?

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  10. Well Stargazeryuan I can sympathize, but from their point of view you wasted their time by not showing up with the proper documents. They need the original date your first registered in Germany (no matter how many times you moved within Germany) because you only have a limited amount of time to exchange your license. I personally was hoping that I could have my daughter, when she turns 16, visit family in the US and get a US drivers license and then exchange it here and circumvent the whole expensive process. But apparently, Germany has caught on to that and you only have, I think, 2 years from the time you move here to exchange your license.

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  11.  

    Has anyone gone through the process of getting a pedestrian crossing (either a zebra stripe, a pedestrian light, crossing guard, or something similar) installed in their Munich neighborhood?

     

    I’m fed up with this very dangerous street in my area where cars routinely speed. It’s a 30-zone already but still very difficult to cross, especially for kids. Last week a man was killed.

     

    I’ve Googled but can’t seem to locate the correct bureau in Munich. Would I work thorough my neighborhood representative first?

     

    If anyone has experience with this, I’d love to hear it.

     

    Thank You

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  12. My family is looking to adopt 2 kittens sometime this spring. To all of you on this thread who said you live in the country near farmers who occasionally have kittens available, could you let me know? We'd be happy to drive out somewhere and pick them up at the appropriate time and even pay a small fee. We'll be looking at the animal shelters, too, but they won't put us on a list for kittens; you just have to be there when they arrive (and they go fast). We already have an older cat, so anything more than a kitten may cause him too much stress.

     

    Thank you!

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  13. Thanks so much! Yes, the Mittagsbetreuung's contract clearly separates the food costs and I know I can't deduct that, but my account says she needs another letter saying how much we paid, which is in the contract and my bank transfers so I think it's clear.

     

    I understand what you're saying about the Ferienbetreuung and I'm sure mine would stand up in court—it's dead boring, run by the city, and is clearly a place to dump your kids while you're working. Yet, they don't have any statement to the effect online or elsewhere. They don't learn or practice or do anything. So, likewise, I'm going to have my adviser just submit it and if there's a problem, we'll get them to issue something.

     

    I think my adviser just enjoys making me jump through these hoops. Getting frustrating.

     

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  14. Hello there,

    I couldn't seem to find the details on this anywhere. I claim child care costs for Mittagsbetrauung and Herbst- and Osternferienbetrauung. My tax adviser is now wanting "official confirmation letter of child care expenses" for the Mittagesbetreuung beyond our contract and monthly payments plus a "letter that mentions" that the Ferienbetrauung wasn't "just for fun."

     

    The place that runs the Ferienbetrauung doesn't know what I'm talking about and says they've never provided anyone with any such letter before, likewise for the Mittagsbetrauung. Is there something specific "in German" I should be asking for or are these expenses not ordinarily allowed as child care deductions?

     

    Thanks.

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  15. I'll ask them about estimates for the repair. The photos they sent of the scratch seems like someone may have opened their passenger side door and caused it. Frankly, I don't think they'll bother to fix it at all. I've rented cars from Sixt with far larger scratches.

     

    Thanks.

     

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  16. I have a similar situation as this original post and I'm looking any success stories. I haven't elevated it to getting a lawyer yet, but before I do, I'm wondering if that even useful. It seems the Sixt contract I signed to rent the car says I'm responsible for any damage Sixt says, period. I returned the car on a Sunday morning to a unstaffed Sixt garage. A week later I'm charged €900 for a scratch in the door that I had nothing to do with. It could have been someone who parked next to the car, it could have been the staff driver, it could have been vandals (it was also a public garage). I've disputed the claim and it's been "elevated" at Sixt but the latest manager to get back to me says, sorry you'll have to pay.

     

    As someone above wrote, am I "just screwed?"

     

    Thanks.

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  17. Although I haven't tried Dantebad or Mullersches Volksbad, I gave up on any public options years ago because they were just not reliable. Although it's only a 20m pool and often too warm, I can be assured of a good hour lapswim pretty much whenever I want at Body & Soul health club. The 70€ a month is worth it for me. 

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  18. Another update: So we finally got an official letter from AOK in the mail stating that they accept Oma's American military insurance as valid in Germany and they are dropping all policies and claims for payment. Of course, we're out thousands of Euros in lawyer fees and medications we paid for out-of-pocket. What are the chances we could recoup some costs from AOK? I know they'll tell us to claim the medication costs to the military insurance but what about legal costs?

     

    Thanks.

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  19. Although I didn't go, my husband brought the kids (7 and 8) last week and said it was fantastic. About a three-hour tour through the set of a lot of kids' shows and movies. My kids got to perform in a short film and get the DVD afterwords. They got to read a weather broadcast against a blue screen. They loved it. Came home wanting to make movies. The only downside was the only food option was a McDonald's.

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  20. If you do plan to stay for a while find a GOOD tax adviser. I'm a freelancer working mainly for US clients and I've had really bad conflicting advice from tax people in several different towns here. If your German isn't great, definitely find one that speaks English. Look for one that has other freelance clients. They may offer to file your American taxes too, since you'll have to file both, but they'll charge you the German rate of about 1400€ where as a tax pro in the US will charge you the American rate $250. I don't charge my American clients VAT as advised but I can write off the VAT from things I buy like office supplies and get that refunded. I used to pay a tax adviser to file quarterly VAT statements. But then my new adviser said that was a waste of my time and money and I should only be filing annually, since I don't charge VAT. So, lots of stuff to learn by trial and error. Good luck.

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  21. Oh, sorry, one more question on "90% of the last half of your working life." (I did read the link). So Oma worked from age 18 to 41 in Germany as a nurse. When she moved to the states she didn't work full or even part time, but occasional odd jobs like child care since her nurse qualifications weren't recognized. And then not at all for the last 20 years. So is the issue properly calculating the "last half" of her working life? When it comes to full-time career, really, all of her "working life" was in Germany.

     

    So IF they do calculate that 90% of the second half of her working life was in Germany, then they would not take into consideration her income?

     

    Thanks1

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  22. Wow, thanks!

     

    Yes a Versicherungsberater may have been best but Oma needed someone close to her she could get to on one bus, so lawyer it was.

     

    It's not that we don't think she owes anything, she probably does. It's just that AOK initially claimed that they didn't have her right address for three years, even though she says she sent in the change of address form to them, and did get one Welcome to AOK letter, but nothing after. Anyway, this is helpful. Thanks a lot.

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