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About zwiebel

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  • Location Berlin
  • Nationality USA
  1. Tax Prepayments???

    Thanks for the recommendation!
  2. Tax Prepayments???

    Yes, I want to find a new one. It is just not that easy. Many say that they are not taking new clients. I would rather have a new one instead of doing it myself.  Is there a website where there are reviews of Steuerberater by region?  Thanks so much!
  3. Tax Prepayments???

    No, I did not misunderstand him. He asked me if he could tell the tax office to increase my payments. All this is coming from him bizarrely.  He basically wants to increase my payments or that I should do my taxes myself. His office is not great--from the assistant who loses invoices to the fact that his assistant claims not to know how to download files (I had to start keeping my monthly mailings to them of invoices and statements in a folder because she lost items frequently and I don't have the time to look for specific documents every time this happens). I get the sense that they are not equipped to deal with freelancers.  I mean, an increase in incoming money as a freelancer for two months does not mean my salary has magically increased. It amounts to people coincidentally paying me in the same time frame plus a bit of increased work. This summer I will be making very little.   What does the Finanzamt do if you have a very good year and then the following year make much much less? Do they force people to become homeless coming up with money they don't make? It all seems very reckless since freelancing can be very irregular, especially in my line of work.  
  4. Tax Prepayments???

    Yes, if I have 4 excellent quarters, I would be thrilled. The major problem is, at the moment, no Kita. So, I currently work with no childcare which cuts my earning power quite a bit. I got very lucky in April and May and had, suddenly, quite a bit of income attainable only due to my ability to eat and sleep very little given the no childcare situation (hence I worked at night). But that income was an anomaly. My accountant is basing his ideas on two very good months and I can't imagine why he would not just send me a reminder that at my current earnings I ought to be saving x% or something to this spirit. And no, I didn't get a letter from the Finanzamt at all. I imagine his email was purely based on a couple of good months in the first half of this year.  I have written him but he takes forever to reply and I was curious about this email.
  5. Tax Prepayments???

    Obviously, I earn enough to support my family.  I don't earn enough to prepay income I haven't earned. Does that make sense?  The issue is that the accountant hasn't mentioned what you are saying about last year's income which was in the low twenties, so it seems odd that he would say to pre-pay based on a fluke of a few months of high earnings. That is the issue.  If I am to pay based on last year's earnings, that is not a problem. If I am to pay now based on three months of this year, however, that would be inaccurate since he is guessing that a fluke is the "norm" when it is not. He should know this based on my earnings from last year.  Also, how can we be expected to pay money when we are not earning some months? I have put aside enough to pay for what I earned last year. This year might be about €5,000 more, but my accountant is thinking I will earn more simply because for three months I earned most of my year's income. Now, it is dead and it will be this way for several months.
  6. Tax Prepayments???

    Yes the app reccommendation helps!  Thanks.  So, the pre-payments are not actually « pre » then? They are after each quarter?  It is just last year I made very little money and had a surprise increase in income for three months this year which is doubtful to happen again (eg now no income for the summer). So for me to pay as if all my months would be like the spring would be a financial hardship for me. Is there any way to pay based on what I actually make?  For instance, I am earning zero this summer.  I couldn't possibly afford to pay anything when I have no income.
  7. Tax Prepayments???

    I did ask him about when taxes are paid and he never mentioned pre-payments at all. He said it would be done at the end of the year. Hence my confusion. I have also spoken to many freelancers who don't have pre-payments so this doesn't seem to be at all the way things are done in Germany.  My accountant intimated in his email to me that if I do my taxes on my own I wouldn't have to do pre-payments. Again, I find this confusing but why is this?   My income is not steady and so no, I can make more money some months and very little others.  I am speaking of apps that people are using to do their taxes.   
  8. Tax Prepayments???

    Yesterday my accountant asked me if he could set up prepayments with the Finanzamt and if not that I should do my taxes myself. I didn't understand such correspondence since there was no discussion of this months ago when I hired him and he had told me my taxes would be paid once a year. In other words, if now suddenly I would be asked to pre-pay, why was I not given a warning since paying ahead for taxes on money I don't have would be burden? I don't quite understand this. At that, my accountant has not been so great as he has lost my invoices many times. Then when I tried to help him & his assistant by streamlining everything and uploading my monthly invoices onto a server or through a WeTransfer protocol where they could download files in case they lose one, I was told that they don't know how to download files. Seriously. I have also been unimpressed with the difficulty of finding a decent accountant as finding one where I live is not easy.  So, a friend suggested that I just do my own taxes or use an app.  Here are my questions: 1. Could anyone here explain why I never was told about pre-payments until yesterday? (And yes, I did ask about how often I would have to pay taxes and was told another story last year.)  And does nobody pay taxes after each quarter or annually? 2. And how can the Finanzamt expect freelancers whose work is not steady to come up with money when we make very little income many months?  It seems that they want to guesstimate my income this year when I had to remind my accountant that my income is very unsteady, especially with no childcare. 3. Are any of these apps worth it? I am a writer who has a clear billing system, I don't charge VAT as my clients are not in the EU and I have expenses each month.  Thanks!
  9. Water heater & 2 connection taps

    I am happy to report that there are pressured water heaters that are really top notch that you can buy. There are many available at Amazon and for order through a local shop or plumber, just in case someone else wants to benefit from high pressure/water saving taps in the kitchen.  
  10. I bought a great high pressure/water saving tap and under-sink water heating tank for the kitchen and had the handyman come today for the installation. Not knowing about the water heater system here, I was unaware that you need three connection taps, not 2 connection taps due to the water pressure that will hurt the tank. I am really unimpressed with the three connection kitchen faucets I am seeing and wondering if there are any hot water tanks on the market that would allow for high pressure (2 connection) taps. Thanks for any thoughts on this.
  11. Several questions about charging VAT

    Hi, I have had clients all from outside the EU so VAT was not an issue. But now I have two new clients from the EU and when I said I would have to charge VAT one of these clients said that he would pay it on his end. Is this valid? What is the procedure for this? And yes, I have written my accountant but I think they are on holiday. I don't know if it matters but I am a journalist.  Thanks for any information you might offer.
  12. Feeling harassed by children's Kita

    Hi. My children, after a two-month wait, started a Kita nearby, an Elterninitiative. I met with the parents and all seemed fine until little by little strange things happened. I got an email last week about a three-day trip for the children in May. My children are tiny and so I wrote the parent who sent this to make sure I understood correctly.  Yes, I had, blah blah...I said, that I would be staying with my children these three days then, since the Kita offered nobody to stay back and care for the children not going on the trip. OK, I thought.  It is an inconvenience but then, I got the message saying the parents are expected to paint the Kita during this time and that we would swap off childcare. I wrote them back to say that I was not going to leave my children with other parents and that if there were work project to paint, etc, that I was fine with this, but to presume we have three working days to give up is really beyond my economic means. I said I was happy to chip in painting skills but that maybe they ought to have asked all parents before donating our time for us. I reminded them that as a freelancer, I must work quite a bit.  I had already volunteered to make the Kita a website since they have none since in the short time there I notice that there are all these last minute scenarios and events they expect of parents. I have only been there a few weeks and have contributed already. Then this week, out of the blue the teacher asked that I come at 15:45 to pick up my children. I said that I work and would be able to come by before 16:00 (as is per the hours of the Kita) but not so early most days.  This was returned with a frown, despite the fact that we have keys to the Kita and when the teachers want to leave if we, for example, walk in the door at 15:58, they do.  Parents arrive after me and just lock up.  I found this all odd. Then yesterday the teacher told me to give my child "more food" and that she gave him her bread. I said that he had not been finishing his food as I pack a LOT. She confirmed he had not finished his food but wanted other people's food. I said, "We need to use the word "no" with him and teach him to eat his own." They know that we are vegetarian and I said that I didn't want my children eating from other children's lunches on Wednesdays (the days we pack lunches for the children) and that like with any child, they need to be taught to respect certain boundaries.  The teacher got very upset and said, "But the children share their food." I said that this was great for those children, but that they did not know what kind of food the children bring to the Kita nor did I expect them to know. I just want my children not eating meat.  (I found my child with meat last week, for instance.)  OK, so  that was another weird episode. I followed it up last night with a kind email saying that while I empathise that looking after 12 children at lunch might be a task for them, that my children's health was important to me.   Then today, I get an email from a parent who wrote me wanting to meet up having discussed "me" with all the other parents. "What is this? A cult?" I thought. I am quite shocked that parents in this Kita are exchanging notes about me intervening where teachers should be in discussion with parents. I am really terribly upset by this. I wrote him back that since I had to wait two months to get in the Kita, I am two months behind in my work and that I would prefer to discuss via email. I thought this also the logical route to take in order to have a paper trail legally speaking. What are my rights here? I am feeling ganged up on by a group of families whom I don't even know!  I was quite transparent about my family's religion and eating habits and nothing fazed me by their answers since the Kita only serves vegetarian food.  But now the above seems to have struck a nerve with the teachers who are very much in the habit, it would seem to me, of not handling needs of children or, it would seem, saying no to them. I don't think my turning up at 15:55 to pick up my children should be a bone of contention, nor should my asking that my children do not eat from others children's lunch boxes since both are perfectly reasonable acts.  It feels as if these teachers are used to having their way and not meeting certain needs of parents.  I am at a loss as to what to do.  Any help is greatly appreciated.