Ben21

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About Ben21

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  • Location Cologne
  • Nationality USA
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth 1987
  1.   Thanks a bunch for the tips! It may definitely be worth a try.
  2.   I know you mentioned you don’t want to share your situation but it would be vastly helpful to people in this thread with no chance at getting a hardship exception based on income. I haven’t actually ever come across someone online that managed to naturalize while keeping US citizenship without going this route. If you’ve actually found a way, we’d be eternally grateful to you for sharing how exactly.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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/
  7. 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.
  8. 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!