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  1. Hi Everyone,   First of all, apologies if the topic is somehow redundant, but I failed to find this topic in the forum yet.  We are doing the 2018 tax return for my girlfriend, who moved to Germany in October 2017. She found a job and started to work in May 2018, and until then, she paid TK contributions (circa 180€/moth). The contribution were charged to my account for convenience, but she was reimbursing me the cost also monthly.   - Can she include those insurance expenses in the tax return to get some deductions? (from January 2018 to May 2018) - Is the fact that the charges were made to my account going to cause any issues?   My research points that these contribution can be included in Angaben zu Vorsorgeaufwendungen, line 17. This lines states as an example: "bei freiwillig gesetzlich versicherten Selbstzahlern" that I understand it is the case.   Since she was not working on 2017, I believe that no deductions are possible because no taxes were paid at all.    Both my German language and German Tax law knowledge are quite limited, so hopefully someone in the forum has dealt with this topic already and can provide some clarification.   Many thanks
  2. First some background - My wife (citizen of US and Germany but with residence, work history and assets in the US) and I (US citizen), currently still 5-8 years away from retirement, have some thoughts of possibly retiring in Germany. Obviously the decision of where to locate ourselves is a lot more than a financial decision, and perhaps my limited German language ability (rectifiable) and inability to blend in from a skin color stand point (not rectifiable) will play a bigger role in the ultimate decision. However, the tax impact is not an insignificant factor we project to have financial assets between 5 to 10M USD in a mixture of pre- (401K, 303-B) and post- tax portfolio of stocks, bonds, US mutual funds and private partnership assets. The main purpose of this thread to confirm my macro-level understanding at this stage. We will engage professional expertise such as that on this board before making a final decision.   Taxes: From my understanding of the tax situation thus far  - We might be best advised to convert our US pre-tax assets to post-tax before establishing a German tax residency. That'd cause us to pay the top US tax rate at the time of such conversion, but that is below 42/45% German tax rate pre-tax assets would be subject after the German tax residency. Such a conversion would make the portfolio post-tax and we'd incur the German tax rate on only the returns generated by it.  - I understand that the tax rate for income generated from assets is 30.5% (= 25% + 5.5%)   Health Insurance: We will obviously forfeit the US medicare coverage in such a move. What I am less clear is the range of annual health insurance costs we should be budgeting for. Also, what might be a good assumption in the increases in the insurance costs with age. Again, interested in a macro-level understanding. Neither of us has worked in Germany. [I have as an ex-pat but only for a year - though taxes were filed on my behalf for two years.]   Impact of Real Estate investment prior to establishing German tax residency: As I indicated, a move to retire to Germany is yet unconfirmed and likely 5-10 years away. Yet, once in a while - the thought of buy an apartment - likely in Berlin/Hamburg (the two cities that interest us) prior to the move does cross our mind. If we don't retire here, we can sell it or keep it as a second residence. We have resisted it so far as we wonder if that might have a potential to complicate our tax picture outlined above.   We would appreciate any information or advice on the above points.   
  3. Leaving Germany; 2 tax questions

    Hi,   So I will leave Germany in July to start a new job in Canada.   I am an Indian citizen on a temporary German residence permit, single, no kids (Tax class 1) and have had a salary since 2014: before that I was on a tax-free fellowship. I will get this salary  until April 2019, and then switch to a tax-free fellowship again from May to July 2019 before leaving. I never filed a return until now, and my understanding is that I could still claim tax refunds over the last four years (if there is any to be obtained): is that correct ?   1) Is there much to be gained for 2014-2018 ? I am single, no kids and don't have any proven business expenses (and only minor transportation expenses). So I guess there is just the standard deduction and the pension contribution and the private health insurance contribution. These do show up in my salary slip: so does this  mean that my automatic tax deduction (at source) likely already takes these into account ?    2)  I will move to Canada with a similar salary in July. Would I be likely to get much of a refund for the 4 months I will be paid a salary this year ? From May to July, I will go back into a guest fellowship, so I will only have taxable income for 4 months. Will battling with SteurGo or paying a tax advisor be worth it ? My brutto salary is around 70K.    Thanks a lot !!!  
  4. Hi all,   I work as a self-employed and last year I visited my home country (non-EU) and purchased a new laptop there. As a rule of thumb I know that laptop can be filed for tax return with depreciation of three years.   The problem is, does this rule work in the same way if I did not purchase the laptop in Germany? On the invoice there is my name and my home coutry address and my home coutry tax number - should I contact the shop to change all this information to my German details (they said they might be able to do it)?   I only have a few list of tax return since I only start working in November so I think getting a steuerberater might be too costly for last year tax filing.   Thank you!
  5. Tax time help

    Hello, I came to Germany as a working student, over the past year I have made a whoping  €1500 for the entire year. Do I pay taxes or claim the amount?  Or is it to low?  Thank you
  6. Einkommensteuer Pauschalbetrag

    Can someone please explain, I am confused   it seems there is some  Pauschalbetrag for employee each year so if my tax deductible expanses are around 100 euro (less than 1000),  it will be counted 1000 euro Pauschalbetrag instead ?   but is this already calculated or I have to send declaration and I will get it back  ?
  7. Importing capitals to Germany

    Hi All,   I am soon going to relocate to Dresden and I am thinking to sell an apartment I own in Italy to finally settle down there. I currently am a German fiscal resident  and I have purchased my property in Italy more than 10 years ago.   Now the question is: what happens in the eyes of the Finanzamt if I move let's say 200000 Eur from my own bank account in Italy to my bank account in Germany? My take is that they should not be taxed. I have read the Italian-German agreement against double-taxation and there it is clearly stated that income from real estate is taxed in the country where the real estate is. Plus this is actually not income, this is capital and for the fact that the property was purchased more than ten years ago, as far as I know there should not  be a capital-gain tax (which will be anyway microscopic, prices plummeted in Italy since the 2008 crisis . Depending on the negotiation I may even end up selling under my initial purchase value). Are there other taxes to consider on top of the capital gains? Your comments are welcome indeed.   Assuming that the capital should not be taxed (I hope I am right). How do I actually import the money here in Germany? I know there is a limit of 12500 EUR beyond which transactions must be somewhat explained. So when I do a transaction of say 200000 EUR from my italian bank account to my german bank account, do I need to inform the Bundesbank? Where? How? Regarding taxes, is there a way I can flag/explain the transaction so that the Finanzamt will know what that is?   (this leads to another question that I will post in a minute in a following post)   Thank you!!      
  8. Hi All,   I have an apartment in Italy that I rented in the past years.  According to my tax berater and thanks to the agreement between Germany and Italy against double taxation, the taxes over rental income are paid only in Italy (and they duly are).    Now, in the past years I have accrued a (relatively) small amount of money on my Italian account as in fact the incoming rent piled up there (my salary here was enough and I have not invested what I was doing).   Now I will sell the apartment and I intend to close the italian bank account. If I transfer an amount of approximately 20000 Eur from my italian bank account to my german bank account, do I need to inform the Bundesbank? Where? How?  Regarding taxes, is there a way I can flag/explain the transaction so that the Finanzamt will know that this is non-taxable rental income?   Thank you for your help!        
  9. Joint or Single Tax Return Benefits

    Apologies if this has been covered before - I searched but no answer was conclusive.   My wife and I are freelancers here. She earns a very good amount - I earn very little. What is the benefit of us doing a joint tax return?    The tax free allowance seems to be the same for each individual when combined together.    Would love is someone can shed some light on this for me cause I've read a few places it's best practice, and especially if one person earns significantly more than the other (which is the case for us) but I can't see why...
  10. Hello,   I was made 'redundant' from my job in July 2018. I say 'redundant' because I was put in gardening leave until 30 April 2019. As a result, I am receiving my monthly pay and at the end of April I will receive a sizeable redundancy payment and bonus in relation to 2018.   My issue is that I officially left Germany at the end of November 2018 when I completed my abmeldung.   My issue is that in my December pay I have been moved from Steuerklasse 1 to Steuerklasse 6. This means I am paying A LOT more tax. Steurklasse 6 according to Google is for those with a secondary income - this is not the case as I am not working. My HR team are useless and say it is because I have left Germany.   Can anyone give any advice about this and how maybe I can lower my tax bill or move back to Steuerklasse 1. I am still paying a lot for health insurance and tax even though I have left the country. I am currently travelling so am not technically a tax resident of another country.   Any help much appreciated   William
  11. Hello,   I want to ask you how can I do STEUERERKLÄRUNG for my case to get back money.   In 2018 I get 3 different incomes for sure that will affect my tax return, so I started the year as an interner in a company from January to April, then I get hired by the company as a full time employee starting from May. In November I changed the job.   to conclude : January - April : internship May - October : job 1 November - December : job 2   My question is how can I get back money from the 3 different period as well I have payed a monthly ticket to travel to work in the internship and in my second job, also as I heard I can get back money for the moving expenses to new city for starting a new job and the cost for looking for a new job.   Please, let me know if someone knows how can I manage that.   Thank you, Souheib
  12. Hello all,   I think I've got a tricky/weird tax situation for 2018, and I'm not really sure how to proceed with my German tax return. This is my first time posting, but I browse here quite a bit and you've already collectively saved me from committing a couple of big blunders - so thanks and cheers!   First, the facts: I'm a dual citizen of the US and Italy. I moved to Germany in August of 2016 to do a Master's degree. When I first arrived, I had only a US passport and was given the "standard" student visa. After living here for a couple months, I discovered I had a claim to Italian citizenship via birthright. The process took a while, but my Italian citizenship was (finally!) officially recognized as of June of this year. I've since gotten my Italian passport, updated my Anmeldung, etc. This year will also be my first time dealing with the Finanzamt - before this year, I'd only ever had a Minijob and a tax-free research stipend from my university.   Here's where the fun begins, I think:   1. I've picked up a bit of freelance work this year, and I'm wondering how best to handle that with the FA given that I also had a student visa (i.e., no freelancing allowed) within this same year. The paperwork for my research stipend says that, according to their policy, the university notified the FA of my receipt of the stipend. I don't know exactly what information was given to them, but it's probably safe to assume they were given at least a copy of my US passport and therefore only know me as a US citizen.   1a. Unfortunately, I seem to have done things a bit backwards - I have yet to submit the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung. (I didn't know I needed to register in advance.) I've been finding conflicting advice here and elsewhere about whether this is a huge deal or not. Some claim there's a backdated fine, others have said their late forms were accepted without question - but some of the posts on this are over 10 years old. Does anyone have an idea of what might happen when I submit it? I'd really just like to be prepared.   1b. I also don't yet have anything from my current client that would count as an "invoice" under the German legal definition - and since I haven't even registered yet, certainly not anything with the required Steuer-ID! Due to regulations on their end, my new contract won't be ready until the end of this month, but (as we'd worked together a lot before I moved here and we trust each other implicitly) I've been doing informal off-contract work in the meantime. I had thought of just creating an "invoice" for the purposes of the FA that summarizes the work I've done to date in 2018, my rate, and how many hours I've worked. But if that invoice wasn't created at the time the work was done and was never officially "used," would that count as falsifying records/keeping two sets of books? I'd hate to make the wrong move there. Of course, I'm also not sure how big a deal this is, since (if I've understood everything correctly) invoices aren't submitted directly to the FA and are mostly just for me to keep for my own records, in case I'm ever asked for them.   2. Meanwhile, I've got another separate but related situation going on. In addition to the freelance stuff, I've been working for my academic department all year as Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft on a Minijob basis. During the year, I was approached by a second potential employer who needs the kind of work I specialize in, who also wanted to hire me on a Minijob basis. We began the paperwork process, but she then needed to push out the project until early 2019, and then my citizenship recognition process finally concluded and she decided to just hire me as a freelancer now that it's legal to do so. So, the second Minijob never actually came to be. However, it has had the lasting effect of pushing my WHK job to tax class VI, and it now seems to be stuck there. I tried to resolve this with my school in November, and even though they had me resubmit the paperwork to reflect what really happened, I just got my paycheck for December and it's once again been taxed at the (really stiff) class VI rate. Is there any way to retroactively reclassify it as class I, since it never should have changed at all? Or is my only option to claim all that tax back in the 2018 return?   And to top it all off, I made so little this year that I'm several thousand under the Grundfreibetrag - and that's before deductions!   I'd really appreciate any help or insights you have. I've already tried contacting several Steuerberaters to ask their advice, but every last one of them who responded has declined to take me on, claiming I don't earn enough to justify their services.   Thank you all so much in advance!
  13. Hi,   I read recently that article 7 of the US-Germany Tax treaty provides that businesses located in Germany that are subject to German tax and have no US permanent location, are not subject to US tax on business profits at all. And that this would include self-employment of US citizens permanently located in Germany.   Does anyone have experience with using this provision instead of claiming a foreign tax credit? I read on the IRS site about using form 8833 for reducing withholding taxes, but I can find nothing concrete regarding usage of the treaty provisions to specifically exempt business profits from taxation, and how exactly to fill out the 1040 schedule C forms in such a case.   Any help will be appreciated.        
  14. I moved from Berlin to Vienna, and am now trying to fill in my tax declaration though ELSTER. Because my "Zertifikatsdatei" had expired, I tried to get a new one -- but was then met with the following message:   Has the finanzamt already waved me goodbye, and thus will not issue me a new "Zertifikatsdatei"? If so, how do I do this?  Do I file the old fashioned way by post? (is it even possible? Thanks very much in advance! (And apologies in advance if I had some possibility of finding my answer already posted -- I searched and searched, but the pertinent posts seemed to be from before the time of ELSTER)  
  15. Two living places

    Hi   I've recently separated from my physically and financially abusive husband even though i'm frightened of him i'm going to fight for the best deal for me and my son considering i moved to Germany to be with him and left my career, family and friends behind.   I have three queries:- I'm wondering why my husband is still registered to live at his parents even though he moved out 17 years ago. He also forced me and my child to be registered at his parents address even though we don't live there, so all my mail and parcels goes to their house. Whenever i questioned him he would shut me down and became very aggressive stating that in Germany you are allowed two living places. Is this actually correct? I know my husband is registered as severely disabled 'he grossly exaggerates his condition in order to receive more security at work (they cant sack him basically). As he is registered as 'schwerbehindertenausweis' he is allowed to claim travel to his medical appointments and i think he claims travel to and from work. His parents house is 15km further to his work/Dr than from where we actually live. Could this be classified as tax fraud?   My husband is also refusing to pay child maintenance stating that based on his disability he wouldn't be able to meet the suggested payment on the dusseldorfer table as his travel expenses are too high he earns around 30k a year. It's very upsetting that he is not willingly to support his baby son and will try and scam the system.   Where would be the best country to divorce as i'm applying for a relocation order back to the UK and when i'm there i plan on divorcing him. But i've been told it may be more beneficial to divorce him in Germany. All i want is some of his pension and half his savings (the proceeds of our martial home which he's banked and kept for himself). Can i apply for pension sharing if i divorce him in the UK? Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated
  16. Hi everyone!   First of all, I would like to apologize if those question has already been posted on Toytown. I searched multiple times but didn't find any answer.   I was receiving money from the Agentur für Arbeit during the 4 first month of the year 2018. I then started a new job in Mai 2018 for which I am still working until the 15th of January 2019 before definitely leaving Germany 5 days after.    My questions are the following :  - Is there anything special I should notify in my tax returns of 2018 concerning my unemployment ? - Is there other taxs I can get back because of my departure from Germany ? (I will be living in Germany for 2 years and 8 months and will not come back)    Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post.   I wish you a lovely evening.   Kindest regards.
  17. I am a resident (and tax resident) of Germany, work in full time Job in Germany, and recieve rental income from an apartment in Australia.   As a non tax resident of Australia, I pay 32% tax on the rental income from the first dollar.   Then on the German tax return, I need to declare that rental income from Australia. There is a Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen with Australia but the language they use is difficult to understand. From what I understand, you can either use the Anrechnungsmethode or the Freistellungsmethode.   For the Anrechnungsmethode, you would pay tax in Australia, and then declare the income as well as the tax already paid (up to an allowable amount - Höchstbetrag).   For the Befreiungsmethode, you would pay tax in Australia, and then declare the income as Tax Free income, which then raises your tax rate, and uses us a portion of your tax free German income (Progressionsvorbehalt). This method does not take into account tax already paid in Australia.   Since, I have already paid a lot of tax on the income in Australia (32%) which is higher than my tax rate in Germany, my preference would be to use the Anrechnungsmethode to have the already paid tax recognised.   If I use the Befreiungsmethode, the tax already paid is not recognised and I end up having to pay extra tax because of the rental income. Am I allowed to choose which method I use?   If not, which part of the Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen specifies which method to use?   Many many thanks
  18. Hi! I'm looking for advise on following:   I'm doing Steuererklärung for one of the previous years. My child lives abroad (outside of EU/EEA), therefore I can not receive Kindergeld and never did. Nevertheless my Finanzamt added Kindergeld to the tax amount (1104 EUR). In the same time they reduce my income to 0.5 of Kinderfreibetrag (3504 EUR), so in the end it gives no-profit/no-loss, although I'm supporting my kid and I think therefore should be eligible for a tax relief some way.   I'm thinking if one of the following is possible: - Convincing Finanzamt that I don't receive Kindergeld by requesting a confirmation from Familienkasse. - Requesting to increase Kinderfreibetrag amount to full (7008EUR), not just half, because mother of my child (ex-wife) also lives abroad and have not been a tax resident. In this case I wonder if Finanzamt will also increase amount of Kindergeld to full, which will not give any benefit in the end. Anyone familiar with the case?
  19. News about taxation after Brexit

    Looks like Germany has been considering tax implications after brexit:
  20. Hi Everyone!   So I moved here to Germany from Singapore at the end of August last year, and for my tax declaration of 2017 I am unsure as to what additional details from Singapore I would need to provide.   I have the following clarifications/questions:   1. Interest earned from Foreign Bank Account (less than €801): - On the Mantelbogen ESt1A form under the question              "Unterhalten Sie auf Dauer angelegte Geschäftsbeziehungen zu Finanzinstituten im Ausland?"  - Do I need to simply indicate "Ja" without having to answer any other question? - I understand that the Anlage KAP form will also have to be filled in. However I'm not sure which question/section needs to be answered and what supporting documents I would need to supply.   2. Government Based Social Security System (CPF) - Singapore's government has an social security savings system called the  Central Provident Fund(CPF). These savings earn a certain percentage of interest as well. Is this something that I would need to declare in my tax declaration? If so where would I have to declare this?   I would greatly appreciate anyone's help in answering my questions 😀 Thanks!   Saima  
  21. Hi all, brand new to this forum. I am moving from London to work in Mainz for a Biotech company starting in January. I've looked through the forums and got myself a bit confused about the tax on my 2018 earnings from the UK as my German partners brother suggested that I would have to pay tax on my UK income from 2018 although I believed there was an agreement between the UK and Germany that meant I wouldn't get taxed twice on my income.   A little more info for you, my job finishes at the end of November in London and I will have no income in December when I move and register in Germany. My new job officially starts on the 1st of January. I could register in January also (move to Germany later in December) to avoid this according to my partners brother. However I want to get my bank account, tax ID etc all setup asap for obvious reasons and I need to register for these. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
  22. Closing of a GbR

    Three of us started a GbR because to apply for a grant to do a project. The project will soon be over and I am trying to find out how we can close the GbR.   All three partners are in agreement to do this and we have no disputes whatsoever   I would like to know what sort of document I need to send it to the Finanzamt stating that the GbR is over.   I have reached out to my Finanzamt but all the advice I got was to check with the city administration if our activity is required to log off with the trade office. The other piece of information I was told is "it is sufficient if you provide the tax office, the date of deregistration."   Which sounds easy, but how does such a document look like? Is there a template somewhere I could use as base?   Thank you!
  23. Reopen freelance tax number

    Hello, I had a freelance tax number a few years back, which I then cancelled because I wasn’t doing any work. Now I’m considering working freelance again and I was wondering if there is any way to simply reopen the number without having to fill in forms, etc. again   Thanks in advance!
  24. Tax advisor

    Hi Is here some tax adviser who can advise me  how to set up companies (holding, offshore, paying salary or dividends etc) structure so that I can reduce my average 30-40% German tax to 0-20% ? Legally of course   The problem is my tax adviser is suggesting me a very generic model which does not really seem the best solution as I see after searching in internet for several weeks!   please write me with your offer and price at  or PM / comment   Thanks  
  25. HI,   I have a permanent residence visa and has accepted an offer from a company in Belgium. As my wife and I are settle in Germany, we would not want to move to Belgium. My query is how would my Belgian employment affect my tax and social security (health insurance, pension, unemployment, etc). Would i be tax in Germany or in Belgium?   Thank you