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  • Location UK
  • Nationality British
  • Hometown Swindon
  • Gender Male
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  1. Transfer money from UK

    Have a look at the Starling Bank account.  You open a Stirling account but then get a Euro account if you want it.  Transfers between the two accounts are at Mastercard rates which are probably about the best you can find.   The pound is pretty weak at the moment - about 1.07 € per £.  Pre Brexit vote it was 1.26 or so and since then it has been as high as about 1.18 but as low as about 1.05.  On £100k every cent equates to 1,000€. 1.18 compared to 1.07 is 11,000 €, so timing will be everything.  I guess you'll want to weigh up the risk that the pound could sink to 1.01 or something, causing further cost/loss and set against that what you are paying in interest on your mortgage.  If you were to invest in a bank account in the UK you could get 1.16% at the moment with NS&I.  Time for a spreadsheet!   I'll leave others to comment on the German aspects of moving money.
  2. I think put simply, if you are, in reality, being paid for services provided to the payer, i.e. paid for the work you are doing for them, then it is almost certainly taxable income in whichever country.  If they are simply supporting you without receiving anything in return then it may be treated as non-taxable, depending on the precise facts.
  3. How does the German tax return process work?

    Quick update.  RIA Finanzamt has written to us and confirmed that as the only German taxable income is the State Pension a tax return is not required, even if one elects for unlimited liability treatment.  This is because the income details are transmitted to them from DRV.  I knew that was possible for limited liability treatment (Amtsveranlagungsverfahren) but did not think the same applied if the election for unlimited is made.  Nice to get good news occasionally...
  4. Deutsche Kredit Bank stolen my money?

    Hmm, we (as UK residents) have a comDirect account and have not encountered any of these problems.  Had to present ourselve at the Post Office to prove identity when opening the account (good excuse for a short holiday back on the mainland) but the new TAN process on the app or photo TAN works like clockwork...  Glad I decided to go with them!  
  5. Deutsche Kredit Bank stolen my money?

    Not much help in your current situation but I would have transferred the entire balance myself and then closed the empty account - but one can always be wise with hindsight...    I find LeonG's comment interesting as I too have found German and Austrian companies often take far longer than expected to reply to emails, often requiring one or more reminders...   Hope you get this resolved.
  6. Freelancer with EU clients who have no VAT ID

    VAT is something you charge on the services or goods you provide to your customers (output tax).  You can set the VAT you have suffered on purchases (input tax) against the output tax you have collected and you pay the difference to the government.  The VAT position of your client is not relevant.  For instance, if you did work for me you would include VAT in the price you charge me, even though I have no VAT ID, nor for that matter am I in business at all.  Your fee structure must surely reflect the fact that you are VAT registered and therefore charge VAT on all of your outputs...    
  7. I don't know but perhaps have a look at the Paypal help pages or call your credit card company and ask them?  
  8. Pension After Only 4 Years in Germany

    Too late to edit my previous post but I found this on the EU Commission site The two FAQs copied below (from page 40) seem to provide comfort:   I have retired and now receive a pension from both the UK and Slovenia, where I used to work before. Will something happen to my pension after the end of the transition period? Nothing will happen to your pension. You will continue receiving a pension both from the UK and Slovenia as you were before.   In the past, I worked for 12 years in the UK. I have moved and now work in Austria. Once I retire (around 2035), what will happen with the periods of work – and insurance – in the UK and Austria? Your periods of work will still count and once you retire, you will receive your UK pension (or, rather, its part corresponding to the 12 years of employment) and your Austrian pension (the part corresponding to the number of years you have worked in Austria) under the same conditions that apply currently in the EU.  
  9. Pension After Only 4 Years in Germany

    OK, so having broken my brain reading all sorts of UK Parliament briefing papers and looking at the DRV website, I think I understand how this will work.  But feel free to point out my lack of understanding if I have got it wrong...   The DRV website is actually what raised my concerns about what might happen at the end of transition (see - copied below in italics:   "On 31 January 2020 the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) left the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, for the time being European law continues to apply in relation to the United Kingdom. This follows from the withdrawal agreement negotiated between the EU and the United Kingdom, which entered into force on 1 February 2020.   The withdrawal agreement provides for a transition period ending on 31 December 2020, which may be extended once by one year or by two years if the UK and the EU agree on this by 30 June 2020. During the transition period European law, and thus the regulations coordinating social security under European law, continues to apply in relation to the United Kingdom. Therefore, there will be no changes for insured persons who become eligible for a pension for the first time or who again file their pension claim until 31 December 2020 or for persons already drawing a pension.   For the period after the end of the transition period the withdrawal agreement also provides for provisional protection in the area of social security and protection of legitimate expectations for persons who already had a prior transnational connection with the United Kingdom and the EU Member States.   The EU and the United Kingdom have expressed their willingness to review their mutual relations in the course of 2020 for the time of the transition period. The further development of future relations in the field of social security remains to be seen.   Therefore, it is important to note that rights in relation to the German pension insurance scheme are for the time being protected by the Brexit deal through the withdrawal agreement.   It has yet to be determined on the basis of further developments which regulations will be applicable after the end of the transition period to persons who are insured on the basis of their place of residence, the employment or occupation they pursue, or their employer‘s registered head offices in Germany, the United Kingdom, or another country where European law is applied."   This seems to say everything is still up for grabs if you apply for your pension after 31 December 2020 - worrying!   However, this riveting read seems to add clarity at 4.2, and in particular,   "The Withdrawal Agreement allows social security co-ordination to continue to apply to people after the end of the transition period, for those coming within the scope of the Agreement. The UK Government’s Explainer for the previous Withdrawal Agreement said that this would ensure that people moving between the UK and the EU before the end of the transition period “are not disadvantaged in their access to pensions, benefits, and other forms of social security, including healthcare cover.” The Agreement also provides protections in other circumstances so that, for example, where a UK national has previously worked and paid social security contributions in a Member State, rights flowing from those contributions, such as benefits, pensions, and reciprocal healthcare rights, are protected." (my bolding)   So, if my understanding is correct (hmm, not overly confident on that one), then anyone who is covered by the WA, i.e. UK nationals in the EU or EU citizens in the UK at 31 December 2020, and anyone who previously accrued rights to an EU social security pension (here a German pension) in the past is protected.  What is up for grabs (and presumably what DRV is referring to) would then be what happens for people who move to the UK from the EU or to an EU member state from the UK after 31 December 2020.   But I would still like to see it in black and white from either the DRV or the UK's DWP.  Maybe I'll call the International Pensions Centre and see how they see things working...
  10. Pension After Only 4 Years in Germany

    Indeed, and as I said, my wife and I have had those years added.  We needed to provide proof of attendance and certificates for all post-17 periods. 
  11. Pension After Only 4 Years in Germany

    I don't have access to the DRV online (yet) as I will need to prove my identity in person to gain access as I don't have an ID card to register...  But you can ask at any time for a current position statement by snail-mail.  I think it's called a Kontoklaerung.   In terms of Brexit, the last time I looked I tracked down this briefing paper for MPs  The relevant part is:   "The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) published in November 2018 would provide for EU Regulations on social security co-ordination to continue to apply after the end of the transition (or ‘implementation’ period) for individuals within its scope (articles 30 to 36). The UK Government said this would ensure that people moving between the UK and the EU before the end of the transition period “were not disadvantaged in their access to pensions, benefits, and other forms of social security, including healthcare cover” (Explainer to the WA, paras 37 to 42).   These provisions are unchanged in the new Withdrawal Agreement published on 19 October 2019."   The document goes on to suggest that things might be OK even if there is no deal (remember this was the pre-January 2020 "deal", not whatever happens at the end of Transition):   "The European Commission has put in place a Contingency Regulation - (EU) 2019/500) - that “ensures that the periods you have worked as an EU citizen in the UK or as a UK citizen in the EU before Brexit, will be recognized, also after Brexit.” In addition, it has “encouraged Member States to continue providing certain social security rights to those UK and EU citizens who have exercised their free movement rights prior to Brexit.” In particular, it has “discussed with Member States that they will continue to allow citizens to export their pension benefits to the UK.”(Commissioner Thyssen, speech, 9 April 2019)."   So, given that the WA was signed and came into force in January all should be fine.  However, I heard somewhere that if a deal is not negotiated by the end of the Transition Period (31 December 2020), then provisions in the WA also fall.  Feels a little counter-intuitive, so may or may not be correct.  Maybe I'll go and do some more research and see if I can get definitive current position...    
  12. Pension After Only 4 Years in Germany

    Those years of study do not apply only to years studied in Germany.  My wife and I had our years of UK study added too.  Whether that applies only in relation to EU countries or others too is not known but again, DRV could help.   While the actuarial reduction rules in Germany are quite generous (3.6% per year compared to about 5% in most cases elsewhere), the voluntary contribution rules are less so.  I cannot remember the detail but while in the UK you need to liver for about 3.2 years to recoup your investment in voluntary National Insurance contributions, in Germany it is more like 15 or 17 (I think - I looked into it at one point and decided against because of those sorts of timescales) BUT, as you need only to add 1 year (at most) to make your 4 existing years yield a pension it is certainly worth looking at.  When to make that sort of investment would depend very much on your current age and your future plans as noted above.  
  13. Pension After Only 4 Years in Germany

    I think it depends to some extent on what you intend doing with the rest of your working life.    If you plan on working in other EU countries or the UK (subject to quite how Brexit ends up influencing state pension rules between the UK and the EU - at the moment I think the rules will continue to apply but let's see what December brings), time worked in all of those countries counts towards pension entitlement in each of them.  So, if you work for, say, 8 years in Austria, then together with your 4 in Germany you would have more than the minimum 5 years required to get a German pension at pension age.  You would also have 12 years towards whatever is the minimum in Austria.  You would then get a pension from each country based on their rules - the calculations are quite complex but can be quite beneficial because they do a calculation based solely on your German years and on your total years and give you the higher amount.    If you did 31 years in Denmark then you would have 35 years in total and would qualify for the German pension at 63 (actuarially reduced by 0.3% per month) rather than whatever is your state pension age.  The German rules can also take account of post 17 years of age education if you apply and provide relevant documentation.  I am not sure whether that would take you over the 5 year requirement but I am sure someone on here will have the answer.  You can of course return to work in Germany at some point before retirement and those future years would be added to the 4 you already have.  That said, governments can change the rules between now and whenever your "then" is...   In simple terms the German pension is based on the number of qualifying years "Wartezeit" and whether you earned the government measured average salary each year, more or less.  If you earned the average for a year you get 1 point; if you earned more, you get more than one point etc.  So, if you had 5 years and earned above the average you might end up with, say 7 points.  Each point equates to 34.19 € per month (from July 2020 for the old "west German" states), so, 7 points times 34.19 would equate to 239.33€ per month (in today's terms), taxable in Germany.    I spent 8 years in Germany and have about 12 points - I am keeping a keen eye on what Brexit will mean for my pension...  If the rules remain as they are, then I can apply for my pension at 63 as my German and UK years exceed 35 years, whereas under the German-only rules I cannot apply at 63 as I have only 8 years.   If you plan to return to the US, then you'll need to look at what that means for the 4 years in Germany.  
  14. How does the German tax return process work?

    Another thought.  I assume I need to pop my name bottom right of the Mantelbogen to indicate I helped wifey to complete her return?