Starshollow

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Everything posted by Starshollow

  1. Mortgage extension for non-resident

     and what a great real estate deal you made...! Where have you moved to, dear Axemurder ?   Cheerio  
  2. 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  
  3. 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  
  4. 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  
  5.  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  
  6. 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  
  7. 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  
  8. 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  
  9. 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  
  10. 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  
  11. 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    
  12. 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
  13. 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  
  14. That will very much depend on your ABH. It is not accepted - and IMO correctly so - by many ABH across Germany, especially for those where the perspective of a stay in Germany is undefined or theoretically unlimited. Cheerio  
  15. Now faster way (back) into public health insurance

    this info is correct.  If he did not/needed not register his business formally at the city hall somehow, he'll probably need to declare the termination of his business in writing, shut down all websites, advertising and what not for good.   Cheerio
  16. HI there, SALUS BKK is just another public health insurance - thus their monthly costs are little-to-no-different to TK. Since you are registered here, you need to sign up for German health insurance. But you already might have missed the 3-month-deadline for signing up with public health insurance (depending on when in January you registered here in Germany). Therefore move swiftly on this NOW ! Private German health insurances have zero interest in new clients who are unemployed - no chance in hell for you to get an application accepted in your current situation. Therefore - and also for a myriad of other reasons - for now, stay with public health insurance in Germany. (plus: private insurance won't be really any less expensive anyway). And stay away from any international private health insurances... they are not meant for people in a situation/status like you and are thus for you not a compliant means of health insurance here in Germany anyway. Cheerio  
  17. Tax / pension relief for freelancers due to coronavirus?

    there are a couple of things open to you: a) you can claim a tax deferral. There are online forms available for this. You can claim this deferal both for income tax as well as local business tax (Gewerbesteuer, but you are probably not liable for that anyway) b ) not sure if this also applies to public pension contributions, but check with the Bundesrentenanstalt directly for that. c) there are also offers from both the Federal governement and the states (I know for Berlin for sure) to get direct funds up to 5.000 EUR or so to keep you afloat.  Check if you can find this yourself, if not, let me know and I'll post something here on Toytown for everyone.   Cheerio  
  18. New restrictions for US citizens getting mortgages?

    I am checking with our mortgage expert (who is currently in lockdown in Spain... ) but I have not heard anything. But as was said above, it is definitely not the German government doing anything here on the law-side of things but rather the SEC or  IRS in the US coming up with some new regulation that makes it for German banks simply too complicated or risky financially to lend out to US-nationals. If that is the case at all... will know more soon, but will take some time.   Cheerio  
  19. IFA reccomendation

    Hi Spider - these are UK pension pots you are talking about, right? Are they defined benefit schemes (DB) or defined contribution schemes (DC). Only in case of DB schemes with a value of >30k GBP is it required to involve a UK-based IFA for a so-called APTA (appropriate pension transfer analysis), something that was implemented to make the life of the typical scammers who have created so much hazards and losses for people with decent pension pots in recent years a bit harder. (you know what kind of "advisors" I am talking about, of course, as a long-time Toytowner).   If you need someone for an APTA, let me know. We do a large number of such transfers for our clients and have the right partners in UK for that kind of additional needs, too.   Cheerio  
  20. Warnig: Cold-Calls from 07554-63729

    For once I was actually at the receiving end of a cold-call... This guy called several times and eventually, I thought it could be a business partner of ours. thus I took the call and a script-trained talking monkey started to try to sell me some triple-A-rated business opportunity. When I told him that this was an illegal cold-call, he got very aggressive and offensive. After I told him to go to hell and hung up, he tried to call several times again, probably in a vain attempt to have the last word. What a (fill in an expression of your own fitting to the case/person :-) )   Anyway, fair warning for everyone out there: don't accept these calls. They are illegal cold-calling and you should never deal with someone who has to use such means to approach you. Violating such simple consumer protection laws in Germany is a bad calling-card if there ever was any.   Cheerio  
  21. Stock market investing in Germany for dummies

    timing of the markets is something that most of the times for most of the people does not work. Therefore time IN the markets is so much more important. While a little bit of fun and speculation can be a nice thing, please make sure that you have an overall balanced and fitting-to-you-personally set up an investment strategy for the long run. Where buy-and-hold is the main parameter to follow for good success. Cheerio  
  22. Well, there have been many discussions here on Toytown about the pros and cons regarding so-called offshore pension plans. There are some companies/agents going around in Germany who mainly sell these to Expats and the particualy companies and persons are know to use illegal cold-calling and also seem to lack the license to offer such products in Germany. AS has been said in other threads, one should be very wary if one wants to let people handle your investments/pension plans if they so blatantly violate and disregard important laws in Germany which are there mainly to protect customers.   After having had a discussion with one client who signed up with such a plan from GENERALI - the plans name is VISION - here are some interesting results when looking at the tax side of this. As I have stated before, too often the salesmen market these plans based on some obscure "tax advantages" the offshore plans are supposed to have. There are none, i.e. there is no EU law or anythng like that which will excempt the profits from these plans from German capital gains tax. The only tax advantage, if one reads the small print of these plans, lies in the fact that for instance Jersey or other such localities do not levy taxes on the the insruance companies directly, i.e. the internal profits of the plans could be higher because of these untaxed internal profits and the compound interest effect from these. But the higher profits from this will have to be taxed as capital gains tax if you are still a resident in Germany when these plans mature. If you are living elsewhere, then the local tax regime where you'll live will be relevant.   The tax situation for plans like GENERALI VISION thru recent changes in tax law is this:   1) These plans (if started after April 2009) do not enjoy any tax benefits at the time of pay-out (i.e. when they mature) if you are still a German tax resident. The reason is that they do not offer a real coverage in case of death (according to the GENERALI VISION info, the death coverage is 101% of the investment value at the time of death). German law requires serious coverage of biometric risks in order to be accepted as life insurance under the tax law with the relevant benefits tax wise. The profits therefore would be entirely subject to capital gains tax in Germany. If you will most likely not be a German resident anymore when you reach pension age, this may of course be of little concern to you.   2) The deferred taxation of profits gained within the policy remains untouched by the changes in tax law. So, you do not have to pay capital gains taxes on the profits from your investments, be they from increase in share value, interest or dividends, as long as you don’t cash in the plan. Most likely (I am not entirely sure but pretty much so, still) also changes of funds (switching) will not lead to a realization of gains and thus remains tax free. However, in my reckoning, you could have had most of these tax advantages by simply investing directly into investment funds, too. Only in case of “switching” funds outside a policy would you face a disadvantage in free investment fund investing as compared to a policy, because profits would be “realized” and then have to be taxed. On the other hand you also lose the ability to write off losses when realizing them if they occur within a policy. Therefore I cannot really see why someone who signs a plan with 30 years duration should pay his initial 28 monthly premiums as costs/commissions and thus limit his flexibility to cash in early if need be (only 25-30 %of such longterm plans make it til the end as recent statistics show, published by the German consumer protection ministry). Therefore I think a direct investment in funds beats the offshore plans when looking at a cost/benefit comparison by eons.   3) Starting 2009 the agents/broker offering international insurance policies have to report each sale to the tax authorities in Germany. They have to give the Finanzamt the name of the German resident who signed the contract, Date of birth, residential address and tax ID, the insurance/policy number of the contract, the amount (payments/contributions) and duration as well if it is a classic whole life insurance or a fund based life insurance (which is the case with GENERALI VISION). Now, I am pretty sure that the usual "cuplrits" do not intend to follow this law, either, after they violate so many others, but as Al Capone found out once, when you mingle with the tax authorities, the fun stops and the law enforcement comes down fast and hard. They will be heavily fined if they did not report these policies sold since Jan 2009 to the authorities in due time. They still have time left to do so, though. Will be interesting to see… Clients should be aware of this fact, though, and be prepared that their plans will be reported eventually, either if the agents toe the line or if they become audited in one way or another.   Once again, this is of little concern to most because who simply use these plans as pension vehicle and to not plan to be in Germany when reaching pension age because your own taxation will only be concerned if and when the plan matures. It may become a problem for some folks who try to stash away some money they earned “black”, i.e. without reporting it in their tax declarations because they tax authorities will certainly check the tax declarations to see, if and how the payments fit to the overall reported income of the tax payer. If this happens you could find yourself up a certain river without a paddle...   Just thought this wanring is worth a new thread here on Toytown. If you are getting an offer for such a plan, talk about this - after checking of the person who offers this to you is actually licensed to offer advice on insurance products in Germany under § 34 d GewO. If he is not, you might have little chance for liablity claims etc if and when you later discover that you have been mislead about certain issues and information.   Cheerio
  23. Voluntary PRSI contributions in Ireland

    very interesting, thank you for all your efforts in this !   Cheerio  
  24. Hi there - this is important info, albeit a bit late for this particular fella after  3+ years, I am afraid. But since you are a professional in this field: a) welcome b ) perhaps support Toytown by advertising? c ) perhaps write a WIKI here on Toytown about this topic to help informing and educating Expats who are looking for such info?   I am active here since 2006 and it is a great place to assist Expats and make a name for yourself by offering free and worthwhile information and content to those looking for such info..   Cheerio  
  25. Pension refund Germany

    HI Theo, great that you want to help...but the questions you answer to are 5-6 years old (2014) and long since dealt with some way or other... :-)   Cheerio