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  1. Hi everyone, I have a(another) dilemma. I am employed part-time (a job I would like to eventually leave) and I am also registered as self-employed as a writer/translator and photographer, for this second activity I have a very small income (well, even for the first one...    I would like to apply to obtain an MA in a discipline I am very interested in, and I have read it is possible to deduct the costs of further studies from the freelance income. My doubts regard the entity of these deductions, I have researched online but, due to my limited German, I am not 100% confident I understood what I read.   1) Is it possible to deduct said costs even if the "Weiterbildung" is in another country, or does the institution have to be in Germany? Is there a limit to the taxes I can deduct? And can I deduct the costs of tuition as well as books, materials and even the cost of travelling to the institution's country to attend my exams?   2) Am I still allowed to deduct these costs if the studies already (to a point) are already linked to my freelance activity, but I believe I would benefit from them as they would give me a greater insight in the subject?   3) What happens if I end up finding a job that has nothing or little to do with these studies? Will the Finanzamt claim this money back? I am asking this because the areas of the studies I want to undertake is not a very lucrative area, I am just very interested and passionate about the subject...   4) One last question: I am married and my husband has a higher income than me. When we do our combined tax declaration later this year (it is the first time for us) will we apply for a deduction of these University costs from our overall income, or do we need to keep our declarations separate?   Many thanks for your help! Have a good day!
  2. Hi Toytowners! I could really use some help with adjusting to this new (to me) tax system. So I moved to Germany from Canada at the end of May 2019. Based on what I’ve researched so far, I would report the income from Jan–May as foreign income to be taxed in Canada on Anlage AUS, right? Also, I have multiple income sources and get paid in four different currencies, and my EU-income is so low that I do not qualify for registering for VAT. Do I clarify on my tax forms how much of my income is from within the EU and how much is from outside? Basically I don’t want the tax office to see my total income being over the Kleinunternehmer limits and wondering “Woah, why isn’t she paying VAT on all of this? Let’s send her an angry letter and back-charge her a ton of VAT!” Also, when I list my total income in euros, where should I take the yearly average exchange rate from and where do I record this exchange rate (if anywhere)? Thank you for any and all help!
  3. Costs to file taxes - Tax Deductable?

    Are the costs associated with filing taxes (in Germany and/or abroad) tax deductable in either of these cases: 1. If I file Independently with a broker; 2. if my employer pays for taxes (could it be considered a business expense?).   Apologies if this has been asked before, I wasnt able to find it after several minutes of looking.
  4. Hi all,   I've read tons and tons of posts and websites on how to write off a training course from my taxes and I seem to not quite fit any of them. Maybe someone here can point me in the right direction?   I am doing an intensive Software Engineering "bootcamp" course in NYC. I'm doing it there as the programs there are more advanced and have a better network than the ones I interviewed at in Berlin. I am a freelancer in the "tech" of digital marketing so it is not through my employer. I do a bit of code for my current work setting up websites, sales funnels and email automations, but this training would probably be more of a career change than deepening my current field.   My understanding thus far:   - It doesn't count as an "Ausbildung" as it's not recognized by the German government (since it's out of Europe entirely). - It doesn't could as a "Weiterbildung" because I am doing it to add a NEW career service I can offer rather than improving my existing one (though I might be able to argue that if I needed to as I do do a bit of coding stuff for work currently...bu it might be a stretch).   I'm paying about US$14k to do it so it would be very unfortunate if I cannot write that off, however I am starting to doubt! Maybe I am googling the wrong words?   Anyone have experience with something similar and can point me in the right direction of which form or what it would be called so I can write the training off my taxes?   Thank you!   Nicole    
  5. I've been freelancing in the US since December 2018. I just moved to Germany and need to fill out the Fragebogen zur steuerliche Erfassung, but I am really at a dead-end with a couple questions:   Clarifications: I am Freiberufliche   MAIN/GENERAL QUESTION: Do I count freelance work I did before I moved to Germany, or am I registering as a new freelancer in Germany?    1.) For the "Start of Activity" date, do I need to put when I started freelancing in America or when I started freelancing here in Germany? 2.) In Section 3.1 "Information on the determination of advance payments", it asks for expected income "in the year of opening" and "in the following year". This includes money my husband and I made in America, correct? 3.) If I made over €17,500 in freelance while living in the US earlier this year, do I need to immediately register for VAT? Or does the threshold only apply to money earned while living in Germany? 4.) Does the €17,500 threshold count money not earned from Germany, either? Some of my income was and is from companies in the US. 4.) My husband is both a freelance technical consultant and a freelance translator, does he need to fill out two separate Fragebogen zur steuerliche Erfassung? Or is it considered one "freelance business"?       4.5) Does the VAT threshold apply to his combined income from both freelance ventures, or are they treated separately?   Thank you for your help, guys. I have combed the internet for days trying to find solid answers, but I either find nothing directly addressing it, or, worse, conflicting answers.
  6. Hello,   I would like to start an online business with a partner selling other people's goods but not exactly sure what type of business we must register for. Some more info: We will register in Germany but we will be operating all over the EU, we plan on getting less that 17,500 Eur at least for the first year.   Thanks in advance! Michelle    
  7. Do online marketplaces charge VAT in EU?

    Hello,   I have a question about businesses like Etsy & VAT. Do online market place (like ETSY) which is an online platform for sellers to sell their goods charge VAT to the sellers, or do the sellers charge it to the people who bought their products via Etsy?     Thanks in advance!
  8. Hi,  I'm an EU National (not british). I just moved to Germany from London two weeks ago. Here I have a 3 year contract to work at the university (as a public employee) but I want to do some side-work on top of that. While I was in the UK I registered as a sole trader (which here is the equivalent of Freiberufler I believe) and I already had a small contract with a company for this work. My plan now is to basically fly back to London about once a month and work there 1,2 days and charge the clients. The income generated from the freelance activity (IT-related stuff) is smaller than 17k euros/year, which means here I would qualify as a Kleinunternehmer I believe.    So, some questions:  1. Since I'm resident of both countries (my boyfriend still lives in the UK and we have an apartment together), if I carry out the work in the UK but I'm not there 183 days a year, can I still pay taxes for the income generated in UK in UK? I'm essentially trying to avoid registering here for the Finanzamt as a Kleinunternehmer and doing the taxes here, solely because I find it much much easier to handle/file taxes in the UK (in english).  2. If the answer to q1 is no, am I right in my assumption that here I would be a Kleinuntenehmer, even though the total yearly income from my main work (as public employee at Uni) summed with my freelance work exceeds 17k/year?  2.1. If I have to register as Kleinunternehmer, when I file for taxes at the end of the year do I have to include in my statements the money I receive from my main work as well and treat all income as a whole?  2.2. I read already that there is this ELSTER system that allows you to file taxes online and it's the official online thing from the Finanzamt and it's what many freelancer use. But I also found these other websites (, steuergo etc). Are these other websites able to handle freelancer activities as well or are the for tax returns of normal employees only? I ask because I saw these are in english, so they would be easier to work with.    Thanks for the answers. I really scanned most forum entries here and I now have some basic understanding of how Germany does taxes, I just wanted to make sure I understand things correctly. (In UK, it's much easier, but I might be biased given my english is better than my german and tax-speak in german is very complex from my POV).    
  9. Hi all -   Will be grateful if you could help me clarify some tax matters as it seems the impact is quite significant. I'm trying to understand a bit better what this impact is.   Context -   I have been working in Germany since 5-6 years and had various jobs at different levels in multinationals. In 2018 I got a job with an American company (HQ Silicon valley), office in Germany. As part of the compensation package, I got stock options.   1.5 years later, I decided to change jobs and was offered the chance to buy my options. These costed ca. $24k to exercise. The company did an IPO recently with +75% growth in the first 7 days which is amazing. Nevertheless, due to process being closed around the IPO I could only exercise few days after the event (July 2019), which made me end up with a realised taxable income of $ 111,000 (total net worth of stock is $135,000 - acquisition cost of $24,000 = ca. $111,000 to be taxed).   detail: I am not able to sale the stock for the next 6 months as it is locked in a lock-out period (common practice in tech companies), thus have no access to these funds for 5 more months. According to German tax law, any exercise of options is taxable as income. As I left the company before exercising the options, they couldn't collect the tax via payroll thus it will be reported to the Finanzamt by my ex employer and I will need to include the 'income' in my tax return 2019 (done in 2020).   Now, given the amount of $111,000 or ca. EUR 100,000, the rough taxes applicable are 42% (normal income tax) = ca. EUR 42.000. This is a very large amount and I want to understand whether I can reduce it by using 'Werbungskosten'.   I paid the tuition for my MBA degree in 2019 ca. EUR 60.000 that are considered 'Werbungskosten' (unlimited to be applied as part of tax return for 2nd degree):   In this way, my 2019 income will be ca. EUR 190,000 consisting of EUR 90,000 employment salary and EUR 100,000 taxable stock option income.   Questions (I will highly appreciate your support to clarify):   1) Can I offset the EUR 60,000 Uni cost against the total income of EUR 190,000 (this includes the stock options EUR 100,000). In this way, If I take out the taxable employment income (for which I pay tax as part of payroll) of EUR 90,000, then the rest is EUR 100,000 - 60,000 = EUR 42,000 that is taxable on 42%? or roughly EUR 16.800 taxes (instead of the EUR 42,000 initially requested from the exercised options).   2) My tax rate is ca. 36% (as I have private insurance), so probably will be even less than EUR 16,800... I assume the 42% tax rate include the social contributions and healthcare... the actual lohnsteuer is less than the 42%? not sure if I can apply the 36% as taxable rate than the 42%.   3) Do I have time to report all these costs (University tuition and stock options taxable income) in my 2019 tax return which is to be prepared by the end of 2020 so that I get the benefit of the 'Werbungskosten', or probably the Finanzamt will ask me to pay the EUR 42.000 income tax before the end of this year?   It is a bit strange how they make you pay income tax on something you never had access to...   Thanks a lot for your support!        
  10. miniGmbH profits

    Obvious pro of a miniGmbH is that it is much less paperwork than a full GmbH.  It seems that two major limitations are that  1) @ 100K€ in profits, the miniGmbH is required to become a GmbH (which requires much more paperwork) and 2) capital can only be accrued in cash.       1) Could a miniGmbH simply and prudently continually spend its 'profits' at year's end, making sure that profits are non-existent?  Don't all corps try to minimize profits so that they can pay less taxes anyway?  Simple example would be employee bonus, but there are unlimited creative ways to spend all revenue if employee bonuses don't count or something like that.   2) Does that mean that miniGmbH cannot have, eg a company-owned car, warehouse, or plane?  They could simply rent those, however, correct?  Makes the company more quick-on-its-feet anyway, however, as spacex was able to simply not renew the lease to the port of los angeles.  If spacex had owned the spot, they'd be stuck with more work in an industry they're not trying to focus on.  It does sound like real estate and certain other industries would be out-of-bounds for miniGmbH's, however.   Side note on 2): what's defined as cash?  Could company accumulate assets in usd, yen, and crypto, or only euros?   
  11. I just moved to Stuttgart two weeks ago.   1. Sept (or close to that) I will start work at a German subsidiary of a multinational.  Paid here in Euros.   I'd like to talk to a tax advisor who works with clients who are Americans working in Germany.  I want to start a relationship now so I'm prepared when April rolls around.  I'm not someone to do things last minute.   I have 3 businesses in the US that will continue unchanged and I'll have my salary here.  I think I've heard that the first 90K or so Euros earned in Germany are tax free in the US but I'll have to pay taxes on the amount over 90K.  But where do I put that on my US taxes?  I've used turbotax in the past for all my taxes.  Can I put it in there?   Like I said, just want to get in front of these questions before it gets last minute.   Let me know if someone has had this experience and knows someone who I could talk to!   Keri
  12. I currently work for a Germany company and I live here. I will change my current contract with the same company from a permanent position to a free lancer and I will be payed by working day. The company knows that I will be moving to Brazil and asked me to leave my bank account opened here so they can deposit my wage on it. The part where I will transfer the money to Brazil and pay taxes there I have figured out.   My questions are: 1. Do I have to inform the German government about this? Fill taxes or something similar? Or since I won't be registered in Germany nobody cares? 2. Related to my bank account, I just need to update my address to my Brazilian one and that is it?   Thank you for taking the time to help.