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About jill_

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  • Location Munich
  • Nationality American
  1. How to contribute to Roth IRA from Germany

    @PandaMunich @Straightpoop   Thanks for the responses to the questions and the link to the Karlsruhe letter. Very helpful!
  2. How to contribute to Roth IRA from Germany

      @Straightpoop I'm curious about the statement that undistributed income and gains in qualifying US retirement accounts are not reportable.   My husband and I are filing taxes for the first time in Germany and are working with a Steuerberater. We both have IRAs in the US that we have rolled multiple 401k and 403b plans into from previous jobs. We understand that these accounts are not taxable here in Germany due to the Double Taxation Treaty until such time as we take distributions.   However, our Steuerberater is insisting that we must be fully transparent with the reporting of these foreign retirement accounts, even though they will make the case to the tax authorities that we do not need to pay taxes on the capital gains due to the Tax Treaty. They are insisting that we still must show the value of capital gains, either by using detailed account information going back to original dates of acquisition or they can try to make some high end assumptions which will cause a tremendous amount of work (and cost on our end). They are saying we have an obligation to report this information, and the German tax authorities have a right to accept or reject the claim.   Furthermore, they indicate that because a 401k plan is not explicitly listed in Section 18A of the Double Taxation Treaty (whereas 403b, 457, etc. plans are), they cannot assume that the plans are part of the qualified group. However, they indicate that they will make the case that they should be exempted from taxes.    We of course want to follow appropriate tax regulations, but we don't want to go through the hassle and expense of having our Steuerberater complete the calculation of capital gains if it truly isn't needed. Are we simply working with a very thorough Steuerberater who is making sure every i is dotted and t crossed? (Because they have been really very good for a number of highly complex issues we've run into with our taxes)    Anyone else run into this before?
  3.   I totally agree with this suggestion. My state has no reciprocity and so I had to take both the written and driving test. It did take awhile to learn everything that was needed for the exams, but I am far more confident driving now than I was when I first arrived. For me, it was all of the signs and priority rules which differ from the US that I had to learn to recognize.  
  4. I got my German drivers license just this past August and they let me keep my US license without me having to ask.  Not sure if there has been a recent change, or if it is dependent on the office or person processing the drivers license.  
  5.   So I just spent a frustrating hour on the phone with Lufthansa, and in the end they will not extend nor refund my voucher. They insist that it needs to be re-booked by the end of this month.  They did indicate, however, that if I rebook something for later this year and then that flight is canceled or needs to be changed, I can do a second rebooking without losing the fare.    What is especially frustrating is that the original ticket I purchased was actually for my sister to visit me here in Germany, but she doesn't meet the restrictions to enter the country. Lufthansa makes no exceptions for these events out of our control. I was hoping to use the voucher as I can travel back/forth, but just realized that I can't because the original ticket is in my sister's name.     Sigh...
  6.       You're correct on current restrictions.  I suppose I was using the term generally to imply any travel restrictions as we don't know what the world will look like 10 months from now as it relates to travel.
  7. I am in the exact same situation with a voucher from Lufthansa and needing to rebook something by the end of the month.  Have you called Lufthansa to ask if it would be possible to extend the voucher, or if you book something and need to cancel again, that the fare won't be lost?  That is my plan to do.     For others, I do not believe Lufthansa will refund as they wouldn't do it in the first place since the flight was not canceled, and the ticket fare I bought was non-refundable.    Otherwise, I was thinking the only option may be to book something for the end of the year (like October-December) back to my home country (USA) hoping that by that point enough people will be vaccinated and travel restrictions may be lifted. I can't think about booking a vacation anywhere else at this point.    However, I'm still not sure that is the better route to take. 
  8. I would like to get a kitten !

    What about using an online platform such as shelta.tasso.net  to find a cat to adopt?  I know that Tasso is the agency we registered our cat's microchip with when we moved to Germany, and this site appears to be pulling available cat adoptions from various rescue organizations.     
  9.   I don't have experience with KVHS, but I will say not to worry about the language classes being taught in German.    I took six months of intensive German courses and now am in a twice weekly night class to continue learning. Only through repetition and usage does the grammar really set in, especially in speaking so think of that as a journey      Keep in mind that schools teach in German not only for a learning perspective, but also because not all students learning German speak English - German becomes the common language. But I will say in the 8+ months I've been in classes, if I truly couldn't ask a question in German, you can ask in English as the instructors will understand and they really want you to learn.  The workbooks you use should provide enough clear examples that the grammar is understandable, and you can always search online for additional resources on your own if something isn't sinking in.
  10. Another suggestion for jump starting your language learning is to go to a Kiosk and get a copy of Deutsch Perfekt which is printed by the Zeit Gruppe and has articles on all sorts of topics in different language learning levels. I have a monthly subscription to this magazine and find that it's really good to lean new vocabulary, practice grammar exercises, etc.     For banks, I know people have posted suggestions. I found that the only way I could get an account with DKB was for me to first get a joint account with my German husband. He had no problem even though he had moved away for 15 years before returning. DKB is only in German, as a side note. Other have mentioned N26, but I had a terrible time with them trying to get my cards and account activated and gave up in the end. Sounds like others have had better luck.  
  11. Cross-border cpa/Steuerberater

    Outside of using one of the big global accounting firms, we found it very difficult to find a firm that can handle both the US and German taxes. Last year we ended up using one of the big firms and were really disappointed with the level of service we received.  We thought it would be more simple to use a single firm, but found that each country advisor only knew their part. We had to constantly go back and forth between them asking questions. (This was our first year filing taxes in Germany, so may have been more complicated based on our learning curve as well)   For 2020, we are going to do as others suggest, and found a German Steuerberaterin here and will use our prior CPA in the US. They have agreed to connect with each other during the preparation of our filings to make sure we have a holistic tax view.