Pension Refund from German Pension System after moving to the U.S.

97 posts in this topic

I think the DRV is a bit stretched at the moment with all the work for the new Grundrente.  Historically they have been really quick when I have contacted them but this year is appalling. I finally got a reply last week to a question I first asked in November last year and in relation to which my reminders have become shorter and shorter and more to the point over the past couple of months.  I would suggest turning on the nag function on your requests...   

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On 2/24/2018, 12:33:20, Lorongmambong said:

Hello there,

 

I've managed to navigate the process of getting my refund from Germany (lived in Berlin for 4 years, now back in the US) and recently received my funds in my account.

 

Question on the refund itself: Do I need to declare this as income in my US Tax prep? Or was this post-tax money in Germany that I dont need to pay tax again for?

 

Any info/guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Hi there:) I know that time has passed since you completed and turned in for your retirement funds and this is my question as well that you wrote above - did you have to declare this income in your US taxes - I had heard that it is money we wouldn't be taxed on but I am confused and also wondering if I should select to put it in my German bank account which I still have active over there or if I should have it deposited to my US bank account. I am thinking US but just wasn't sure how taxes work on it. Thanks for any help!  Also - I saw other people said about getting it certified by the German consulate - I just showed my passport to a notary and got that section stamped on the V0901 refund application form and then I had copies of our passport to include...now wondering if they should have stamped the actual passport copies rather than the section in the form. Ahhh - I want to make sure I do it correct so I don't get it sent back. ANY help/reflections from you would be much appreciated. Thanks! 

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On 7/9/2021, 9:56:37, Leila2014 said:

 

 

Hi there:) I know that time has passed since you completed and turned in for your retirement funds and this is my question as well that you wrote above - did you have to declare this income in your US taxes - I had heard that it is money we wouldn't be taxed on but I am confused and also wondering if I should select to put it in my German bank account which I still have active over there or if I should have it deposited to my US bank account. I am thinking US but just wasn't sure how taxes work on it. Thanks for any help!  Also - I saw other people said about getting it certified by the German consulate - I just showed my passport to a notary and got that section stamped on the V0901 refund application form and then I had copies of our passport to include...now wondering if they should have stamped the actual passport copies rather than the section in the form. Ahhh - I want to make sure I do it correct so I don't get it sent back. ANY help/reflections from you would be much appreciated. Thanks! 

 

With my husbands return we made the deposits over a few months from our german to USA bank account. The US already taxed that money when we filed our taxes so I do not believe it would need to be taxed again.

 

I wish this forum was a little more active because I do need some help. I did all the forms for my husband and the whole process barely look 6 months, and during the pandemic. The DRV however has been jerking me around for over a year. I sent final paperwork Jan 1, they received on the 7th. I have sent so many emails inquiring about the status and just today I received a letter that they need info about the child rearing period that is about 20 pages long! I never even checked that box i the initial application.

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On 7/9/2021, 9:56:37, Leila2014 said:

Hi there:) I know that time has passed since you completed and turned in for your retirement funds and this is my question as well that you wrote above - did you have to declare this income in your US taxes - I had heard that it is money we wouldn't be taxed on but I am confused and also wondering if I should select to put it in my German bank account which I still have active over there or if I should have it deposited to my US bank account. I am thinking US but just wasn't sure how taxes work on it. Thanks for any help!  Also - I saw other people said about getting it certified by the German consulate - I just showed my passport to a notary and got that section stamped on the V0901 refund application form and then I had copies of our passport to include...now wondering if they should have stamped the actual passport copies rather than the section in the form. Ahhh - I want to make sure I do it correct so I don't get it sent back. ANY help/reflections from you would be much appreciated. Thanks! 

I used the German consulate as that was recommended by the DRV. You may be able to manage with a confirmation from a notary. 

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On 7/26/2021, 1:20:47, jennyjennyMK said:

 

With my husbands return we made the deposits over a few months from our german to USA bank account. The US already taxed that money when we filed our taxes so I do not believe it would need to be taxed again.

 

I wish this forum was a little more active because I do need some help. I did all the forms for my husband and the whole process barely look 6 months, and during the pandemic. The DRV however has been jerking me around for over a year. I sent final paperwork Jan 1, they received on the 7th. I have sent so many emails inquiring about the status and just today I received a letter that they need info about the child rearing period that is about 20 pages long! I never even checked that box i the initial application.

With the pandemic, things are probably worse. Just send a response that this form isn't applicable and keep emailing them. There is no way around the bureaucracy.  

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On 7/9/2021, 9:56:37, Leila2014 said:

Hi there:) I know that time has passed since you completed and turned in for your retirement funds and this is my question as well that you wrote above - did you have to declare this income in your US taxes - I had heard that it is money we wouldn't be taxed on but I am confused and also wondering if I should select to put it in my German bank account which I still have active over there or if I should have it deposited to my US bank account. I am thinking US but just wasn't sure how taxes work on it. Thanks for any help!  Also - I saw other people said about getting it certified by the German consulate - I just showed my passport to a notary and got that section stamped on the V0901 refund application form and then I had copies of our passport to include...now wondering if they should have stamped the actual passport copies rather than the section in the form. Ahhh - I want to make sure I do it correct so I don't get it sent back. ANY help/reflections from you would be much appreciated. Thanks! 

You can do either, based on multiple sources on this forum it appears there is no additional tax liability in the US. My taxes were done by my CPA and he didn't mention any additional tax liability. 

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On 7/5/2021, 9:33:43, jennyjennyMK said:

Has anyone used any of the pension refund assistance companies out of Germany to assist? I really don't want to since I already filed and did all of the work myself. But I am having a hard time getting the DRV to correspond with me. My paperwork was filed ages ago and I still do not have a deposit in my account.

I had a friend who used such a service, i believe he had to pay 30% of the refund to them. Not worth it in my opinion, if you've already filed. They don't have any additional leverage. With the pandemic, bureaucracy takes a bit more time. Just be patient and keep sending them emails every 2 months.   

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On 7/5/2021, 9:33:43, jennyjennyMK said:

Has anyone used any of the pension refund assistance companies out of Germany to assist? I really don't want to since I already filed and did all of the work myself. But I am having a hard time getting the DRV to correspond with me. My paperwork was filed ages ago and I still do not have a deposit in my account.

I had a friend who used such a service, i believe he had to pay 30% of the refund to them. Not worth it in my opinion, if you've already filed. They don't have any additional leverage. With the pandemic, bureaucracy takes a bit more time. Just be patient and keep sending them emails every 2 months.   

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On 1/7/2020, 6:34:04, APATWA1988 said:

Can the funds be deposited into regular checking account? Or do they have to go into 401K account?

 

And if you deposit in regular checking account, do you have to pay taxes on the refund amount/

 

Thank you.

Checking or savings account is fine. It cannot go into your 401k. 

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On 12/21/2020, 7:23:13, justjfer said:

Thought I'd share my experiences here on getting a German pension refund. I don't have any background in this, so not any sort of advice / I'm just an internet rando.

 

I'm a US citizen who lived in Munich for a little under a year, during which I worked for a German company. I then moved away, and after two years of being back in the US with no intention of returning to the EU, I filled out my application.

 

My local German embassy directed me to this URL, which has the forms I completed: https://www.germany.info/us-en/service/07-Pension/pension-refund/905438

 

I filled out two forms, V901 “Antrag auf Beitragserstattung bei Auslandsaufenthalt" (to request my pension refund) and A9060 “Lebens- und Staatsangehörigkeitsbescheinigung" (to verify my citizenship). I did not complete A1312 “Zahlungserklärung”, as I still had my German bank account open and didn't need to request one from abroad. That said, if you need a deposit into a US bank account, you would need it.

 

For form V901, some questions that were tougher to answer at first:

5.1 Has a German insurance record already been issued? (I answered no -- I didn't receive any sort of form, at first I thought it may have been my insurance card, but it isn't)

6.3 Are you currently liable to pay contributions to a state pension insurance scheme outside Germany (I answered yes, as I pay into Social Security)

 

I had both V901 and A9060 notarized at my local Bank of America branch for free before I sent the document off with:

  • copies of my passport (+ copy of my blue card)
  • my Meldebescheinigung
  • my Lohnsteuerbescheinigung
  • copies of my initial registration and deregistration forms from Germany (Anmeldung, Abmeldung)
  • copy of my German social insurance card
  • (I forget, but potentially) my employment contract and/or my rental contract

I mailed these documents to Deutsche Rentenversicherung Nord (Friedrich-Ebert-Damm 245 22159 Hamburg) on Oct 6, 2020. I received a piece of mail back (at my US address) on Nov 5, 2020 with a form where I had to confirm that I wished to receive a refund.

 

I mailed this form back from the East Coast of the US two days later and received the money in my German bank account on Nov 24, 2020. I additionally received a confirmation in the mail of the deposit on Dec 21.

 

Hope this helps! Doing this myself saved me a few hundred euros.

 @justjfer -- thanks for the update, this will benefit the community 

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On 4/13/2021, 9:46:09, APATWA1988 said:

Thanks for your feedback. 

 

I checked my tax documents from Germany and realized that I paid income tax on gross income minus the standard deduction. So you are right that the pension contribution is already taxed. 

 

So even though certain standard deductions for pension were taken during tax filing, I don't owe any taxes on that amount?

 

Just trying to clarify before I file my taxes in US. 

 

Thanks. 

as far as I know, there are no additional tax liabilities. My CPA did my taxes in the US and he didn't mention anything. 

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I'll join this discussion just to add another timeline for reference. I sent out all my documents from the US to the DRB's Berlin address. I went to a german consulate, just to have them review my paperwork. A few strange things happened there - they signed/notarized some documents, refused to notarize others. The ones they refused to notarize (saying it was not necessary), i had it done anyway at a UPS store. Better safe than sorry. 

 

They also told me to NOT use the hamburg address, but to use the Berlin address as "they are more competent" in Berlin. I found this pretty funny. The tribalism is real in the German consulates. 

 

Anyways, documents were delivered to them Oct 20th. Nothing so far, I just sent out my first e-mail query for a general status update. 

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Update: The DRB replied to me relatively quickly, a few days. They stated that I was missing some documents, and that they would send them to me to fill them out. I was fine with this - but found it a bit strange since the documents claimed missing were in fact originally sent to them. We sorted this out via e-mail and am now good to go. E-mailing them was very helpful! and FYI it was the Hamburg office that handled my paperwork after all. The "Dezernat Rente International" to be exact. Best of luck to everyone else doing this. Its not hard at all, can't believe how much some of these 3rd parties are charging...

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8 hours ago, WaitingSnake said:

They stated that I was missing some documents, and that they would send them to me to fill them out. I was fine with this - but found it a bit strange since the documents claimed missing were in fact originally sent to them

I had a similar experience with them and was told that it might have been due to the fact that their software automatically deletes documents not sent in PDF format without telling you.

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