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  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!
  2. Hi,   I have a work visa and I'm allowed to have a formal full-time job and soon also to do freelance in my spare time. My question is regarding declaring both incomes.   - In the Ausländerbehörde they mentioned I might have to file 2 separate tax returns, is that correct? - Does one income affect the other or are they completelly independent? For example, if I earn 100k on my full-time job, does it count for the 22k revenue limit for freelancers to be exempt from charging VAT? Does the income tax affect the combined income or individually on each income? - Since I'll only be doing freelance in my spare time and probably not earn a lot, do I pay income tax if I earn less than 9k (considering I already earn more in my main job)?   Thank you, Luis Mesquita
  3. Hello everyone,   I have been living in Germany for some time and started my own business a few months ago. In order to get things right, I am now dealing with the correct declaration of my revenue for the purposes of the "Umsatzsteuererklärung" and "EÜR". Sorry for the long post, but thanks to everyone for reading!   I work for a few platforms as an independent contractor and have some websites with Google AdSense and Amazon revenue (I have now understood the regulations for this after some research).However, I still have problems understanding how to deal with the money I earned from the independent contractor work.   In particular, this concerns two platforms for which I work as an independent contractor. One of them is based in the USA, the other in the UK. However, most of the jobs I work on are for companies from Germany, and only the payment goes through the platforms. Both of them send me the earned money via Paypal ( Dollars and Pounds) without any further invoice. The US platform states the following in its policies: "Income earned from ….. is subject to your country and local taxes. When you signed on to the ….., you entered an independent contractor agreement. That means income from ……. should be treated per the independent contractor regulations of your local tax law. …… withholds no taxes and, as a US entity, is not subject to VAT."   and the UK platform states: "You would need to collate your own records of income via the site, and you are responsible for considering whether you need to report it to your tax office, according to the tax rules in your own country."   I am now not exactly sure how to classify this income in the "Umsatzsteuererklärung" and the EÜR. Is this taxable or non-taxable revenue for the "Umsatzsteuer"? For the sake of simplicity, I have been advised to simply declare everything as revenue at the normal tax rate and act like this is "normal" German revenue, is that correct?
  4. So I used my awesome Ausweis app login for the first time this year, thinking I would do my final German tax return online like a modern person.   I don't need to do it, I was not freelancing, it's just for the odd quid they normally refund from my boring old income tax. I don't have (or need, AFAIK) any cert. I could login in just fine.   Oh, how wrong I was. The Ausweis app works beautifully, if weirdly, but the Elster system itself just collapsed before I could even start filling in forms.   2 emails to the helpdesk and they've given up answering as well. Anyone else managed to do a simple income tax return from abroad via Elster? Know the secret helpline to get someone to just fix your account?
  5. I've recently moved from Bulgaria to Germany. I got my Anmeldung on 27.10.2020. As far as I understand, 6 months after that I am a tax resident of Germany. I have sent my tenancy termination letter, and I will be vacating my residence on 31.08.2021, getting my Abmeldung and leaving the country. Which means that by then I will have spent 4 months as a tax resident. I don't work in Germany, so my income isn't local. My employer is in Bulgaria (EU), which means I only have a global income, lower than the taxable income. My employer pays my taxes in Bulgaria, I don't even have a German bank account. My question is, do I have to do anything administrative before leaving the country? Do I have to file a tax assessment or tax refund or something before or after deregistering?
  6. I have heard Germany might apply an exit tax to someone who moves out of Germany after having stayed at least 10 years there. I read there was a draft on this in 2019 but was not able to read more detail about that.   I am a freelancer, and I have money both in my bank accounts earned from freelancing and I also own stocks. How much will Germany take from this money?
  7. I am a freelancer (translator) and filling out the above form on Elster. I had four "mistakes" when I reached the end and checked everything, managed to solve three...   But I cannot get my head around the final "conflict". I think it might be linked to whether I should tick the following boxes or not:   Kleinunternehmer-Regelung  Hilfe zum Begriff anzeigen Zeile 134 Der auf das Kalenderjahr hochgerechnete Gesamtumsatz wird die Grenze des § 19 Absatz 1 UStG voraussichtlich nicht überschreiten. Es wird die Kleinunternehmer-Regelung in Anspruch genommen. In Rechnungen wird keine Umsatzsteuer gesondert ausgewiesen und es kann kein Vorsteuerabzug geltend gemacht werden. Hinweis: Angaben zur Soll-/Istversteuerung der Entgelte sind nicht erforderlich; Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldungen sind grundsätzlich nicht zu übermitteln. Zeile 135 Der auf das Kalenderjahr hochgerechnete Gesamtumsatz wird die Grenze des § 19 Absatz 1 UStG voraussichtlich nicht überschreiten. Es wird auf die Anwendung der Kleinunternehmer-Regelung verzichtet. Die Besteuerung erfolgt nach den allgemeinen Vorschriften des Umsatzsteuergesetzes für mindestens fünf Kalenderjahre (§ 19 Absatz 2 UStG); Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldungen sind monatlich in elektronischer Form authentifiziert zu übermitteln. However, when I try ticking these boxes, I get:   Die Felder 'Der auf das Kalenderjahr hochgerechnete Gesamtumsatz wird die Grenze des § 19 Absatz 1 UStG voraussichtlich nicht überschreiten. Es wird die Kleinunternehmer-Regelung in Anspruch genommen. In Rechnungen wird keine Umsatzsteuer gesondert ausgewiesen und es kann kein Vorsteuerabzug geltend gemacht werden. Hinweis: Angaben zur Soll-/Istversteuerung der Entgelte sind nicht erforderlich; Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldungen sind grundsätzlich nicht zu übermitteln.' und 'Der auf das Kalenderjahr hochgerechnete Gesamtumsatz wird die Grenze des § 19 Absatz 1 UStG voraussichtlich nicht überschreiten. Es wird auf die Anwendung der Kleinunternehmer-Regelung verzichtet. Die Besteuerung erfolgt nach den allgemeinen Vorschriften des Umsatzsteuergesetzes für mindestens fünf Kalenderjahre (§ 19 Absatz 2 UStG); Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldungen sind monatlich in elektronischer Form authentifiziert zu übermitteln.' wurden gemeinsam angegeben. Dies ist unzulässig.   The thing is, I hate filling out tax forms (HMRC are the same) when you are just a freelancer, but you are "pretending" to be a business. So I am wary of ticking them, even though the system is suggesting this is where the solution might lie.   I should add that this will not be the end of it and, even if someone can provide authoritative advice on the above question, this will probably inevitably lead to a second question.   For reference purposes, I just do the occasional translation or two to earn a few thousand euros. Otherwise, I am living off savings (but obviously I still need to fill this out).    
  8. Is it required for German citizen to pay inheritance tax if he inherits and gets a property as a gift?   property not located in Germany   Does it matter in this case matter if person is living in Germany or abroad?
  9. Hi guys, I just have a question that could be silly. I paid for the Steuergo tax return service and thought that everything was submitted electronically. However, today I happened to find an old email from them that I somehow missed. It says that I need to print out the form, sign and send it via post to the Finanzamt. Is this the standard procedure? Last year, I used Taxfix and didn't need to send anything via post (though my return then was only 7 euros). Also, I live right next to the Finanzamt, can I just stop by and give them the signed document?
  10. Offset trading losses

    There is a new rule from 2021, that the loss from trading futures, options... can only be offset up to 20000 Euro and the rest is transferred to the next year. Does anybody know what is the rule about the Verlustvortrag (the old losses until the end of 2020)?   For example if someone has a loss of 30000 Euro euro until the end of 2020, and earns 30000 Euro in 2021, should he still pay any tax? Thank you.  
  11. So I have a sort of unique question regarding taxes and divorce and house sales that hopefully someone can help me out with. I already used the search function but didnt see anything pertaining to my situation. So here it goes:   Wife (who is German) and I (American) move back to Germany in early 2017. We sell our home in the California and buy a home here in Germany outright with no mortgage in the end of 2017. House was listed for 390K euro and when it was all said and done it was about 425K ish euro after Makler and Notar fees.    Wife and I are now separated, still really good friends but wont be getting back together. Ive moved out into my own apartment but have not yet registered because we are trying to figure out what to do with the house and tax issues. We are still married on paper and for all anyone in the government knows, I live in the house with her. The house also has a small apartment attached to it that we rent out for 500euro a month.   Wife wants to buy my half of the house from me as she hates moving and likes the house. Ive tried to tell her thats a poor decision on her part financially to take a loan for 250K to give to me on a single income and we could probably sell the house for 550K-600k (we did some renovations and the market has gone way up. just my estimation). I told her I could walk away from it for 250K euro though if she's that passionate about it. I would then wire the money to my american investment account.   What's smarter tax wise? both of us selling the house and splitting it 50/50 or her buying me out? My argument was we took money which we already paid taxes on in the states and bought a home here with it. If I dont really profit off the home ie just get my half of the money out, do I still have to pay taxes to the Germans for 250k since I sort of already paid taxes on it years ago in the states? Or am I going to have to pay the germans like 25% tax on my 250K. I am 100% with the VA and live on that income which is not taxed here in Germany but I know can be used to jump me into another tax class.   Just curious on anyone's thoughts. I know we will need to speak to a German tax person, just wanted to get a general consensus on the idea before hand. All of this is new to me and not my area of expertise. 
  12. Hello,    I know this question has been done in the past, but things might have changed in the years. I am looking for a Steuerberater in Berlin who does not require a high amount of money since last year has been very hard already economy-wise. Is there any you suggest? English-speaking is a plus, but not a must.   Thank you in advance! 
  13. Hi,   I'm looking for a tax advisor, a CPA, with expertise in US expat tax filings willing to work with me on a more flexible basis than usual, because I have some needs that don't fit into the normal business model of expat tax preparation services.   I would like to finally catch up with filing US taxes, now that there are stimulus payments associated. My income is very low, my tax forms will be extremely complex (FATCA, form 5471, CFCs, etc...) and I will owe no tax at all, only a refund. I'm not just guessing here. This is for sure.   I would like to fill out all, or nearly all the forms myself. However I require some assistance regarding a number of issues.   For example, if I apply for the streamlined procedure how to handle the difference in filing deadlines between german corporate tax filing and united states personal income tax, because my 2019 German taxes aren't going to be due for quite some time, and the 2020 German taxes not until next year. Yes, I have a Steuerberater,   Of course I could go to one of the many expat tax advisors advertising on this site or that one can easily find on google. So far I have not found any that can work with me in an acceptable way. Most of these tax advisors are not prepared to deal with CFCs and form 5471. Even if they do, they want to charge a very high fee, despite the fact that my CFC makes like almost no money. Furthermore, the business model appears to be based on charging a flat fee per form or for a package of services. Many of the forms are ridiculously easy to fill out, and the main work is to be performed by me anyway, collecting the information that goes into the form and translating german financial terms into english, which the tax advisor is of course not responsible for.   I certainly cannot afford to spend five to ten thousand euros on tax preparation for my small money-losing business that doesn't even owe any taxes in the first place. This would be a significant portion of my annual earnings. One thousand euros would be a more realistic amount.   Therefore I wonder if anyone on the site can refer me to an expat tax advisor, maybe one actually located in the United States somewhere, able to work on a flexible and cost-efficient basis, where the tax advisor just provides the advice, rather than the actual form filling, and does not charge flat fees.                          
  14. Hi,   I have just submitted Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung an hour ago and realized now that I have filled in the estimate income incorrectly. Basically I have just got my visa this year and don't event know when I will get my first client, I assume that I will start earning from 2019 but because of my bad German, I have incorrectly stated that in 2018 I will earn 10,000 Euro and in 2019 12,000 euro.   - Is there anyway that I ask finanzamt to get my form back and correct it? Or can I simply re-submit a new form?   - Would they interrogate me and make my life difficult when I submit my income declaration (that I earn barely nothing this year while I said I should earn 10,000?).   Also, in the form there is a date when I start working, becuse I don't know yet when so I fill in the date that I received my freelance visa (two months ago), but in fact I have not yet started working because I don't have any client. Would this be a problem?   Thank you and sorry for many question I am in panick attack again ughhh...   Best, N
  15. Till now I have been printing filled tax declaration, attaching all invoices and in such form sending them to Munich's Tax Office. Somebody told me that he never attaches invoices and that the Tax Office would request them if they needed to see the proof. The type of invoices I mean are: monthly transport ticket, extra insurances, costs related to renting apartment, etc. Is that true?
  16. Tax for double employment

    Hello,   I'm currently working in Berlin for the last 2 years. My current company is closing it Berlin operations by 30th June 2021. They have already sent us the termination letter and have agreed to pay us the salary till 30th June 2021.    I have to work mostly for April to transition the knowledge to folks in another country. And then in May and June, I'll be on garden leave (i.e. I will get a salary but I need not need to work). My question is: if I find a new and start a new full-time job before June, how much tax I would be paying? Does anyone have any idea as technically I'm getting two salaries for certain months? My company has already agreed that even if I find a new job they will continue paying me the salary till 30 June 2021 but they will only not pay the employer contribution to the govt.   Salary for example: current: 60K/year new one: 65K/year so for May/June (if I found a job) i will get double salary of [60K/12 + 65K/12]   Personal info: Married, in tax class 3, public insurance     Has anyone has an idea? please share. Let me know if you need any more details. 
  17. Bank letter re Tax Domicile

    We've been away from Germany 16 months and we closed our bank account about 6 months ago.  We've just received a form to fill, from our ex bank with the title Selbstauskunft fuer natuerliche Personen fuer den automatischen zwischenstaatlichen Informationsastauch FATCA. I asked on the bank's helpline and this is what they said I don't understand, I don't have any Verbindungens with the bank or the country. Should I just ignore it? I know it's only a few questions to answer but I find it irritating that they are bothering me with the measly savings, that I had there, while the big bastards get away with billions.