Ben21

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About Ben21

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  • Location Cologne
  • Nationality USA
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth 1987
  1. High tax on gardening pay and severance bonus

    I would reach out and consult a German tax advisor.  He/she could probably give you good advice specific to your situation and help you out with your questions.  There's a bunch listed in the stickied posts at the top of the forum.
  2. US Taxes - FBAR/FATCA reporting minimum

    The rule is:  You have to report any accounts with >$10,000 in them to the IRS every year and list what the highest balance is/was.  As Fraufruit said, just look in your online banking for the highest statement balance for last year and enter that.  No other proof or form is necessary. Just do the eFile and you're done.   The bank doesn't do anything unless you have >$200k.  If you do/did, then they file a form to the IRS and you would have to file something extra during tax time.  Since you probably didn't have that high of a balance, that's probably why the bank couldn't help you when you asked them.
  3. Employer offering voluntary buy-outs

        For me the difference is that they are literally opening these buy-outs to everyone in the organization. Even those in departments not tagged for downsizing are able to choose the buy-out, should they want. With redundancy I think it’s more individual in that they target specific people / areas that they want to get rid of.   To your other point regarding ALG I, I likely won’t be applying at all for it. If I do take the offer, I will probably begin looking seriously this summer for jobs in the US; and if I were to find something earlier than my last day, the HR guy I spoke with confirmed I could kündigen as normal and still collect the Abfindung (however the payout would be deferred until the day I agreed).
  4. IANAL but looks like your employer has to approve your holiday within one month of submitting your request. If he doesn’t react, you seem to be able to take it as though he approved it.   Once again, I’m not a lawyer and this is only through my 3 minute of googling, but I come across this site that cites a recent court decision of the above — https://www.thorsten-blaufelder.de/2018/02/urlaub-genehmigung-arbeitsrecht/
  5. Employer offering voluntary buy-outs

    Great point, thanks. Hadn’t thought about the US tax implications. Hopefully the Foreign Tax Credit will be enough to cancel that out, but I’ll for sure get in touch with my tax guy.   I am in IT (project management) so I’m fairly confident I could find something somewhere. We’re also toying with the idea of using this as our catalyst to move back to the US. Defimitely a lot of decisions to make in the near future.
  6. In order to reduce headcount, my (large) employer is starting to offer voluntary buy-outs and early retirement packages on a non-discriminatory basis to all employees in Germany. These are going in two phases — for those willing to jump on early, they’re offering a one-time payment of [monthly salary] * [years of service] * a factor of 1.8. The offer then reduces to a factor of 1.0 after a month and will continue until they get the required amount of employees. In addition, the contract you sign with HR allows you to choose an end date up to 2 years after signing.    With all that said, this seems like a very attractive offer and I’m debating taking it. I’m 31 with 10 years of service (as of March 2019) and looking at a 6 figure offer through the above calculation — amounting to approximately 2 years gross salary. Some I’ve spoken to say it’d be stupid not to take the offer as finding a new job shouldn’t be too difficult, while others think I’m an idiot for even entertaining giving up the security of an unlimited employment contract at a large German company. As mentioned, this is all voluntary and open to everyone, so there seems to be no personal downside to simply ignoring this (aside I guess from the usual risks present in any organization) should I choose against it.   Everything I’ve read here and on other sites seems to deal with individual offers to those already being made redundant, but I haven’t seen anything regarding advice / feedback on these voluntary packages. Has anyone ever experienced such a situation here? What are some things that I should watch out for? Any thoughts on what you’d do given the above?   Danke im Voraus!
  7. Number portability from mobile contract

    You have to fill out a form and send it in to your current provider so they’ll release your number. Search for “(provider) Rufnummermitnahme”. They’ll have them on their websites and will look something like those linked Here   Looks like Vodafone streamlines it a bit. https://www.vodafone.de/hilfe/rufnummern-mitnahme-fuer-mobilfunk.html   Click on “Rufnummer zu anderem Anbieter mitnehmen”
  8.   For me it boils down to one thing: Freedom of choice.   I really like it here in Germany and while we may decide at one point to go back to the US, I don’t want the taking of that decision to close the door to a place that’s been my home for the last 6 years. I want to be able to decide to come back without restriction, maybe retire somewhere here or elsewhere in Europe, and ultimately have a sure-fire guarantee that I’ll be able to get back here should— god forbid— shit go down.   All of those arguments apply as well to wanting to keep my US passport.   Unfortunately as mentioned earlier in this thread, I have an approximately 0% chance of getting both passports as our income is too high. It really is a shame, as I know if/when we decide to go back to the US, that’s basically it for us — really no way to go back to live here again.
  9.   You have a residence card, right? Or a full page visa in your passport? If leaving from Zürich you show the border guards the card / visa, they scan it into their system and hand it back to you. When you arrive again in Munich / Madrid / Paris / Reykjavik / wherever inside Schengen, you show the border guards your card / visa, they scan it and if there are no issues, they hand it back to you and welcome you back in. (Sometimes the border guards stamp your passport out of habit, but it doesn’t matter). All of your data is stored in a central Schengen area database so they can tell what kind of stay permission you have, when you left and when you arrive. It will likely also alert them upon arrival if you are gone for so long a period that your visa expires.
  10. No issue at all. I've flown into and out of many different airports in the Schengen area with my German residence permit. Just show it to the border guards when you leave and enter. It's accepted throughout the area as a legal entry permit.
  11.   Just fill the forms out. You earn enough to support both you and your wife.
  12. Child's passport expiring

    I renewed my us passport by mail a few years ago. Didn't require a visit to the consulate. Maybe you can try doing that? If I remember correctly I got the passport back in about a week after sending in all the required documents.   ---------   Edit: Forget what I said. Didn't know children are required to appear in person. https://de.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/renewing-a-childs-passport-under-the-age-of-16/   To answer your question I wouldn't worry. The required documents for a new passport say you can submit an already- expired one. As others mentioned though I wouldn't travel with the child until they get their new one.
  13. Change of tax class online

      I definitely would switch to 4/4. My wife and I were 3/5 for the last couple of years and when she started working we started having very large tax bills at the end of the year. Last year I owed 3.5k. Our tax advisor recommended we switch to 4/4 with Faktor and it made everything ok again.   This is with my wife making about half of my salary.
  14. Use CurrencyFair or TransferWise and send the entire amount. I wouldn’t leave any Euros in Germany personally, especially if your entire life is in the US... it just adds complexity and you won’t gain much from gambling with currency fluctuations. Put the FDIC limit into one bank savings account, put the rest into another that you own. You won’t have to fill out any paperwork— the IRS will be notified from your receiving bank and will probably not do anything about it. If on the very slim chance they do reach out, just provide the information that it’s an inheritance. Provided all the money is legally obtained, you have nothing to worry about.   Once you get it all to the US, speak with a Fiduciary Financial Advisor (one that charges by the hour and does NOT work on commission) to discuss your goals and how the money can be best invested.
  15. Noise pollution where the source is unknown

      This was my first thought. OP, is there a 24x7 operation going on in the industrial area?