Starshollow

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Everything posted by Starshollow

  1. Starshollow around?

    Hi Ivo, I tried to contact you but somehow that went awry, it seems. If you PM me or send me a direct email, we can arrange for a chat on tomorrow, Thursday, late afternoon ? Cheerio  
  2. CR&Cie - Germany : Are they still in Business?

    HI Emmbee, sorry to hear that...I'll check back with Paul right away. Mid- to end of September is always a very busy time in our line of business because many insurances can only be changed/switched in the new year if you give notice before the end of September. This leads to a massive short-term increase in inquiries as you can imagine. And then we sometimes need to line the clients up in order of priority/necessity and not in order of arrival. But you should have received a feedback/info nevertheless.   Talk soon, Cheerio    
  3. Freelancers and state pension contributions

    I stand corrected, dear PandaMunich. You are right... sorry for that mistake.   Cheerio  
  4. Freelancers and state pension contributions

    1. hire someone who receives a salary from you in excess of 451 EUR per month (Sozialversicherungspflichtiges Beschäftigungsverhältnis). Do that and you are home free, no requirement to contribute to public pension 2. you could also claim a deferral of the requirement for the first three years of being self-employed in Germany. However, that means you are on radar and they will get to you definitely after 3 years.   Staying in NI does not help you, because legally with what you wrote in the other thread, you are fully main resident of Germany and German rules and regulations apply to you. NI-contributions do not free you of your Germany-based requirements and regulations.   Cheerio  
  5. Gebäudeversicherung validity issue

      As said above: I would be very surprised if the insurance company will accept your cancellation because only the combined/joint owners can do this. The other idea of yours, to set up your own insurance on the side - which I can fully understand if you find the existing insurance lacking in coverage in important parts, which unfortunately often is the case - would also not hold in case of a damage claim later because you can not have two insurance side by side to cover the same risk. That would be considered "überversichert" in Germany and the newer insurance would then simply step back and tell you that the older insurance is the valid one and needs to settle the claim. I am not sure if the rather complex German insurance laws allow any loopholes for such a case like yours' . Therefore I would suggest that you either contact the nearest "Verbraucherzentrale" who might be able for relatively small fees to analyze this for you and find a way. Or you hire a "Versicherungsberater", purely fee-based insurance advisors. There are some very experienced ones who have in parts similar rights like "power of attorney" and can assist you and perchance also find ways and means to solve this conundrum you find yourself in.   Cheerio  
  6. Gebäudeversicherung validity issue

    I must admit that I have not come across a situation yet personally where it is just two owner/landlord sharing such building insurance and not several. Hence I am not 100% sure on this. But when applying the normal logic of insurance laws in Germany, you can't cancel the insurance by yourself, neither in parts nor in full. It would require the signatures of all owners of the building that is insured (or, if there is a Hausverwaltung as a designated representative, which you said is not the case here). That does make sense because if just one would be allowed to cancel, the other insured party might become uninsured without their knowledge. Or be forced into something new that - for whatever reasons - would not like to consent to.   Therefore your best course of action is to get one or several quotes for alternative insurances in (and make sure you aren't comparing apples with plums, i.e. that coverage and quality of the insurance match the "old one" for sure) and pass them on to the other landlord. If what you have is better, you guys can decide to switch. With building insurances, it is usually 3 months' notice time before the next renewal (usually not per end of the year but within the year). And more often than not its a 3-year contract anyway. Therefore you'll need to check first at what point you can switch the insurance jointly in the future if you have a truly better comparative offer at hand.   Cheerio  
  7. sorry to hear this - will check it out, but AFAIK, the contact form works fine. Having said that - it is summer holidays and both our office and our advisors are partially enjoying their holidays, which can cause some delays. But please send a direct email to me and I'll see that is answered asap: patrick.o.ott@crcie.com   Cheerio  
  8. Gebäudeversicherung validity issue

    The problem is here, that the Gebäudeversicherung is always for the full building. So you can't partially cancel and then partially set-up something else. You will need to convince the other owner that there is a better solution out there. If it offers better coverage for same price or a lower price for the same coverage, that should not be too hard. But just by yourself is not possible, I am afraid.   Cheerio  
  9. Mortgage extension for non-resident

     and what a great real estate deal you made...! Where have you moved to, dear Axemurder ?   Cheerio  
  10. Thanks... I grew up there (even though I now live since 2004 in the neighbour town of Schäftlarn) and it is great to be back in politics again. Another good article (in German) is this one here: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/landkreismuenchen/kommunalwahl-in-baierbrunn-patrick-ott-1.4862706   But, as said above, after a short while of radio silence on my behalf, I'll be back giving regular info and advice here on Toytown. And will soon start an additional info-website/blogg for Expats in Germany on all financial and insurance topics with tons of free advice. Probably starting late in September, watch out then for info from me when the new blogg starts.   Cheerio  
  11. double health insurance

    @lunaCH well, as said/explained above, that article from Advocard (= Anwalts Liebling :-), what great advertising that was way back when ) is not incorrect in itself. Because not having health insurance is not (yet) punishable by law. Only issue are back-charges which can cause hefty financial concerns when needing to face them (which could come out if one without health insurance falls seriously ill or has an accident and required expensive medical care without having a health insurance for coverage/payments).   Not having the Pflegepflichtversicherung (PVN) , though, is an Ordnungswidrigkeit, i.e. punishable by law with fines. I have seen Expats threatened with extradiction/termination of residence permits if they were found out to be without a PVN. And getting fined, too.   And since you won't get a PVN without first setting up a German public or private health insurance, not having such a health insurance then gets you fined in the end, even though the fine won't be about not having the health insurance but not having the PVN.   Is all I am saying.... :-)   Cheerio  
  12. health insurance: living in two countries?

    Hmmm... a private health insurance company should be able to continue his coverage abroad, as long as it is still within the EU. We usually face rather the opposite dilemma that a German private health insurance company won't cancel the existing contract unless we or the client prove that he switched into the national/state health system of another EU-member state.   Having said that: AFAIK it is imperative in Sweden to be part of the national health system. So, if he is a fully resident there, he would IMO have to join the Swedish national health insurance system...and in that case indeed the German private health insurance would have to end. In all such cases: if there is even a small likelihood that one might be coming back to Germany, make sure you ask for and then set up a so-called "Anwartschaft". For a small monthly fee you'll lock in your current medical status and then, when you come back even with a new chronical or ongoing illness, you'll be accepted back with full coverage whereas otherwise you might find it rather hard or even impossible to be re-admitted as new client due to the new medical issues .   Cheerio  
  13.  That is very true..though I will continue to offer free and unbiased advice here on Toytown. Just so the first 2 months in office did not allow for much spare time to do that, since the pandemic crisis required my attention full scale. But, as can be seen above, our team of advisors (including the director, my wife, Nora Ott) is still going strong and @Paul@CRCIE is our in-house mortgage expert and can certainly assist you there very well.   Cheerio  
  14. Paul already answered this correctly (little wonder, he works at a great advisory company :-) ) There are only three kind of pension plans that bear any tax subsidies in Germany: For employees only: bAV (company pension schemes). Read more about them here: https://www.crcie.com/financial-advice/foremployees/bav-company-pension-schemes/ For employees, public servants and people (even self-employed) married to employees or public servants: RIESTER pension plans: https://www.crcie.com/financial-advice/foremployees/riester/ For everyone (but predominantly high-earning employees and self-employed): RÜRUP pension plans https://www.crcie.com/financial-advice/self-employed/ruerup-basis/   Germany won't recognize any foreign pension plans for tax subsidies in general. At least in my long-time experience tat is so... ( I have read now and then that some contributions to British or US-American pension schemes ought to be tax-deductible, but that is probably only ever the case (if true at all) in special cases like secondment or such, me thinks). Cheerio  
  15. Dispute bill collection fees received when abroad?

    ht legal side of this is: you are beholden to take care of incoming mail if you are longer away from home than 14 days or so. I.e., if post accumulated and you did not receive it, it is legally your problem and not theirs. Don't get me wrong: I am not judging you or anything, just describing the legal situation as is.   IMO if you explain this to the original invoice issuer and ask for understanding, you stand a good chance to get this waived at least in major parts. Of course the collecting company/agency has accrued some real costs for issuing the letters to you and what not and they might demand that at least some of the factual costs are met. Which, I think, would be a fair offer still.   But if they'll insist on you paying in full, you have no legal ground to dispute this, I am afraid.   When in doubt, btw., try to contact the nearest "Verbraucherzentrale" (you should be able to Google which one is closest to you), they might be able to help you with this and even know some legal loopholes that can be used on your behalf   Cheerio  
  16. Riester-Rente termination (moving out)

    if you move to another EU-member-state you can just freeze the RIESTER-plan. If keeping the capital there is a good deal or not depends of course on what kind of plan you have with what initial and ongoing costs. It might make sense to pay some extra fees and switch it to a different kind of RIESTER plan with better investment options for the long term. The good news is that when waiting for this investment to grow, you'll get the payout later based on the full "Zulage" (direct subsidy) and all because other EU-member-state are to be considered like if staying in Germany. If you move outside of the EU, though, it will become a different ball-game altogether. Because if you move outside the EU, you basically have to repay the ZUlage AND the tax advantages received at once (meaning this will be deducted from your accrued capital in the plan). Without that and due to the initial costs for the plans (commissions and all) it will then most certainly be a loss. But you can simply claim a deferral of the liquidation of the RIESTER plan by stating a (vague) intent to return back to Germany later in retirement. That way the capital remains in the plan in full and continues to grow. And that means there are profits from your net investment as well as from the capital come out of the tax savings and the subsidy/Zulage. This will act like a profit leverage on your net-investment and can be significant over time... depending, as said above, what ongoing costs your plan has.   There are advisors here in Germany who can assist you with this in a transparent, fee-based consulting. Might be worth paying some fees to get clarification and perchance protect some good future profits in this plan for you.   Cheerio  
  17. for this initial time, I good Expat insurance or international insurance should be sufficient. You have no legal access to German public health insurance system at this initial stage on one side and no German private health insurance company is going to touch your application with a barge pole as long as you have no proof of sustainable income.   Cheerio  
  18. sadly enough, legally what happened to you is correct per se. Sorry. Of course the Krankenkasse should have speeded up the process of getting you set up right away when you wanted them to, but since you technically/legally "belong" into their coverage system all along, the back-charges are warranted.   Cheerio  
  19. double health insurance

    This statement is only partially true, I am afraid.  Yes, while it is compulsory to have health insurance in Germany since 2009, there is no direct fine or anything if you are found without one. though you can face serious back-charges in such case. However, what is illegal and an Ordnungswidrigkeit that can lead to fines and even deportation is the lack of the equally compulsory Pflegepflichtversicherung (long-term nursing care insurance). Which you can only get in direct combination with either a German public health insurance or a German private health insurance policy. They are not being offered as a stand-alone solution (trust me, I tried for oh so many years to help people who are insured quite well with international health insurances). Therefore and thru this back-door, not having a compliant health insurance is illegal in the end because you won't have the required Pflegepflichtversicherung, either.   Cheerio    
  20. Now this is a surprise... (10 minutes with Elton and you are gay as a maypole!)   Ok, so far the legal situation in Germany was this: if you wanted to get into the German public health insurance as voluntary member (i.e. for instance as a self-employed person), either from the outside of the EU with no prior public/state health insurance coverage within an EU memberstate's public health insurance system or as a person who choose private health insurance in Germany initially and somehow regretted it, you had to become a compulsory member (or dependent family insured member) for 12+ month before you could then continue your public health insurance as a voluntary member in your own right.   In the wake of the new legislation since August 1st, this, too, has changed...and nobody fu...ing noticed, not even me (and I read the fu..ing law) !!! Wow! I just did some online research in some other experts forums for health insurance and stumbled about this info, which then was confirmed by checking out a website of one of the larger public health insurance groups in Germany, BKK: http://www.bkk.de/arbeitgeber/neu-lexikon-sv-und-steuerrecht/?tx_bkklexikon_pi1[bkkl-item]=159909,0 You have to scroll down pretty much to the end to get to the gold nugget of this new legal information:   <h2 class="stw_gld1_head" id="gld3."></h2>     So, what says here is this: do to the new regulation which is supposed to prevent people who were family insured to drop out (because as young folks the exceeded the age limit, for instance), the rule is now that if you have been compulsory insured or family insured and this status ends, you'll become a voluntary member no matter what. And especially (bold in the above quote): you don't have to fulfill any prior insurance time/period.   What does this mean?   Case 1: you are employed with a gross salary over the legal threshold and decided to take on private health insurance because you were young, single and could save a lot of money. Now you meet this girl/guy whom you gonna marry and he/she bring three children into the happy marriage and he/she has no job/income. So far you were in the bad situation that even if he/she already was in public insurance, he/she would have to pay up to 50% of the max premium in public health insurance because half of your income would have counted for computing his/her premium while for each child you guys would have to pay the min contribution of 150+ EUR per month.   Now you only have to convince your boss to reduce your gross salary for 1 month (!!!) under the legal threshold JAEG, by which you become compulsory public insured again (in the past you had to do this for 12 months, which is a bit more complicated and also means more loss of income). After the one month, you can go back to your prior salary but still remain in the public health insurance as voluntary member. And add your wife and kids for free as dependent family members...   Case 2: you have been self-employed in Germany and with private health insurance. Now you only need to find someone for 1+ month for an employment with compulsory public health insurance (midi-job or more) and after that you can go back to being self-employed while keeping this public health insurance as a voluntary member for all it is worth.   Case 3: you come as a self-employed person from outside the EU with no prior public health insurance in an EU memberstate. Therefore you can't enter the public health insurance in Germany as a compulsory member. All you need now is to find someone to hire you (Visa permitting, of course) as an employee for 1+ month and you have every right to stay in the public health insurance system later as a voluntary member.   Case 4: you have been privately insured and are over 55 years old. Not even employment gets you back into public health insurance anymore. But if you become a family/dependent insured member thru your spouse while having no income at all higher than 385 EUR p.m. for just one month, you can afterwards continue to stay in the public health isnurance even as a voluntary member in your own right when you work and earn money again.   this will help solve a lot of problems for people who have a good reason to want to go back into public health insurance. It will. unfortunately, also invite more abuse of the system, because now it is much easier to contemplate going with private health insurance (and save money for yourself while opting out of the social welfare system) because the way back if your situation changes is much easier. But it is the law...make the best out of it. And find a good professional and independent advisor to help you with that, because it will take a long time till the last employee in a public health isnurance has learned and understood this.   Cheerio
  21. Now faster way (back) into public health insurance

      yes. there is such law...and it makes actually a lot of sense, both socially and financially speaking.  Said law clearly states that if you opted out from the German social system (i.e. out of public health insurance) you can't just decide to get into it again when it suits you better.  That is particularly right if you have been with private health insurance for a long time. The rationale behind it is simple: the public health insurance system is based on income. Because it offers really good health insurance for all kind of people, those with low and those with high income, those with major medical conditions or even disablement etc.  Consequently, it is more expensive regarding the monthly contributions for people with higher incomes. Which makes it attractive for those who can (self-employed and employees with a gross income in excess of certain levels) to take private health insurance instead. Because private health insurance - when you are young and healthy when entering it - can be significantly lower in monthly costs in comparison. Moving to private health insurance means, however, that you are leaving (!) the public health insurance for good. And because your decision means that you won't pay into the public pot, you can't later just reverse this decision, it would create otherwise a massive Free-rider-problem in public health insurances. While up to the age of 55 there are some ways to get back into public health insurance thru employment, there is no such way back into public system after that age-threshold. Therefore it is correct that your husband cannot go into public insurance now anymore and that also means - from what John wrote above about your situation - that you can't, either for lack of sufficient prior public health insurance in Germany or another EU-memberstate.   Cheerio