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About skillfulpartridge

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  • Location Aachen
  • Nationality American
  1. US expat tax filing and German pension funds

    Hi, I am a US american/german dual citizen that has been living in germany for 20 years. recently I found out about my tax filing obligations in the US and am planning on applying for the streamlined offshore procedure soon and have a few questions related to that. I know that many questions on tax returns for US americans abroad have already been asked and solved in these forums so I hope I haven't missed the answers! The main problem is that I am VERY confused about my pension plan and how to report it. I have a "fondsgebundene Rente", which means that it is a private pension scheme (no employee contributions) whereby I make monthly payments to the company (Ergo versicherung) who invests the money in various stocks, bonds whatever (apparently a company secret). The idea is that hopefully the money will grow that way and I will get a larger pension than if I put it away in a savings account. I have the option of buying back the account prior to reaching pension age, but at a huge loss. Otherwise, there is no option for me to withdraw any partial amount of the savings before retirement. From my reading, I guess this would be some kind of an IRA, though I think a requirement for designating it as an IRA is that the managing company has to be in the US or part of an international company with a branch in the US? but not sure about that.Or is it a foreign trust? I am also muddled about whether I need to declare anything at all about this as I do not receive any payments from it but am only paying in at the moment. I understand that with an IRA, people would want to declare the payments as a deduction from income. because my income is so low, the foreign earned income exclusion gets rid of all my taxable income so I don't have any taxable income. So, I'm not interested in taking advantage of any further deductions at the moment. I just want to make sure that I'm declaring what I need to by law. if it is indeed a foreign trust, then there are apprently potentially serious consequences for not declaring it as such in the FBAR and for not filing the 3520 form on foreign trusts. Anybody have any ideas about this? I'd be extremely grateful for any help! or maybe someone has a reference for somebody with reasonable rates that could just advise me on this one issue? I'm trying to get most things done by myself to save money, but have not been able to figure this one out!