German/American Dual National Looking to Relocate from USA to Ffm.

73 posts in this topic

Thank you for taking the time to write. I trust that you're managing nonetheless. Best wishes.

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My last posting in this thread was made last summer, just after I had arrived (permanently) in Frankfurt, but before the sale of my U.S. residence had closed.  In the months since that post, I have fully integrated myself into German society, including getting my German driver's license via a standing reciprocity agreement with my former U.S. state-of-residence, New Mexico. Additionally, I found a more permanent residence and have moved in as of December. I am presently dealing with the matters of U.S. and German income taxes for 2018 and beyond.  So far, my only takeaway is, I'm glad not to have any earned or investment income!

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Glad to hear you are settling in.  I feel your pain, last year we were being audited by both the US and Germany at the same time!  I wouldn't agree totally with your last sentence, though.  I have income from rental property in the US and that is not taxable in Germany.  Germany was trying hard to find something to tax but ultimately failed (my other income is from a government pension which is also not taxable in Germany). 

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6 minutes ago, Buzznut3000 said:

Germany was trying hard to find something to tax but ultimately failed (my other income is from a government pension which is also not taxable in Germany). 

 

That's interesting.  Unfortunately, I think my status as a dual national and my permanent-resident status make my SSA benefits susceptible to taxation in Germany. At least, that's how I read the relevant section of the Double Taxation Avoidance Compact.

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4 hours ago, wmlgage said:

 

That's interesting.  Unfortunately, I think my status as a dual national and my permanent-resident status make my SSA benefits susceptible to taxation in Germany. At least, that's how I read the relevant section of the Double Taxation Avoidance Compact.

SS income is taxable in Germany when one is a permanent resident there, just as it is taxable income when one resides in the US. (Dual National doesn't play a role.)
 

But some types of government pensions are exempt from taxation. A pension, and SS income, are different vehicles.

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Just to sum up this thread as I see it.  1. Housing in Frankfurt is high and going up every year.  We started looking in 2015 and its hard to believe how much things have gone up, although rent seems low to me compared to comparable places in the US.  We decided to buy outside of town and it looks like our house has gone up about 20% in 3 years.  2. You cannot get on the public health insurance if you are 55 or over unless you had been on it before (even if your German spouse is on it and you are in perfect health).  3. State and Federal pensions from the US are exempt from German tax as well as rental income from a property there (although, of course they are taxable in the US).  The only other income that might be exempt is if you are an American citizen working for the US government here for example at the Consulate. All other private pensions and Social Security benefits are taxable.  4.  Germany is expensive to live IMO, especially if like me your income comes in US dollars.  Even so we found most things more expensive than where we lived in the US (Austin , TX which is about the same size as Frankfurt).

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I would disagree only to the extent that, as the originator of this thread, a "summation" of it would reflect the success I have had in pursuing the stated goal, as outlined just over a year and a half ago.  I am now resident in Frankfurt, living in a very nice two-room apartment in the southern part of Fechenheim.  I am covered by the state health insurance and I am therefore able to pay all of my "overhead" expenses (including rent, insurance, utilities and the so-called TV tax, e.g.) with my relatively meager SS benefit.  So far this year, my monthly costs of living have exceeded my monthly income by less than 150 Euros, and given my reserves, I will be dead long before they could ever be exhausted.  Of course, it will be a while before I have a complete financial picture, but even my most pessimistic forecasts are nevertheless pretty rosy.

 

I do want to acknowledge my extraordinary luck in this regard.  Some have said I was extraordinarily brave to do what I have done, but I have met others whose courage and fortitude far exceeded mine and who have managed not just to survive but to thrive in circumstances much more challenging than mine ever were.  In the end, all I can do is thank you for your input and wish you the best.

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Good to hear life has turned out well. Diligence, research and fact finding  can make  all moves smooth. 

 

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6 hours ago, Buzznut3000 said:

  2. You cannot get on the public health insurance if you are 55 or over unless you had been on it before (even if your German spouse is on it and you are in perfect health).  

A US citizen over 55 can join as a dependent (familienversichert) on the publically insured spouse’s plan if that person comes to Germany and lives for a few months with income under a threshold of about 450E a month.  Of course this poses a problem if one is already drawing on SS (so some folks have deferred it as a workaround), and it also poses a problem if one no longer works but has investment or rental income in the US.

 

All of these rules are very complicated. Each case can have a just a shade of difference that can mean a “yes” or “no”.  Sometimes the insurance company representative gives out incorrect information, not necessarily with evil intent. All of the information on TT threads is useful, but at the end of the day some cases are just so complicated that a Versicherungsberater or health insurance lawyer is really a necessity for advocacy.  One hopefully doesn’t make an irreversible misstep and one needs to be prepared to challenge matters if/when necessary. 

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6 hours ago, Buzznut3000 said:

Just to sum up this thread as I see it.  1. Housing in Frankfurt is high and going up every year.  We started looking in 2015 and its hard to believe how much things have gone up, although rent seems low to me compared to comparable places in the US.  We decided to buy outside of town and it looks like our house has gone up about 20% in 3 years.  2. You cannot get on the public health insurance if you are 55 or over unless you had been on it before (even if your German spouse is on it and you are in perfect health).  3. State and Federal pensions from the US are exempt from German tax as well as rental income from a property there (although, of course they are taxable in the US).  The only other income that might be exempt is if you are an American citizen working for the US government here for example at the Consulate. All other private pensions and Social Security benefits are taxable.  4.  Germany is expensive to live IMO, especially if like me your income comes in US dollars.  Even so we found most things more expensive than where we lived in the US (Austin , TX which is about the same size as Frankfurt).

Point 2- it can work if over 55 , a low earner and married to a publicly insured German. Sometimes, the “ German” may even be an American who has acquired German citizenship and never been to Germany before- under certain curcumstances, that person can get German public insurance for the first time and then include the low earning spouse.

It is complicated, though, and doesn’t always work😟.

By the way, “ perfect health “ has nothing to do with it- that is only relevant for private health insurance and not easy for anyone anytime over the age of 55.

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1 minute ago, john g. said:

Point 2- it can work if over 55 , a low earner and married to a publicly insured German. Sometimes, the “ German” may even be an American who has acquired German citizenship and never been to Germany before- under certain curcumstances, that person can get German public insurance for the first time and then include the low earning spouse.

It is complicated, though, and doesn’t always work😟.

By the way, “ perfect health “ has nothing to do with it- that is only relevant for private health insurance and not easy for anyone anytime over the age of 55.

Yes.  We were responding at the same time John. 

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I was told by Barmer there is no way you can get on after 55, no matter what your income.  We even filed an appeal and it was rejected.  They said income had nothing to do with it, although they didn't specify want happens if you are completely destitute. I can only go with my own experience.

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I appreciate your frustration. The answer lies in the title of the thread: I'm a dual national. Back in December 2017, on the recommendation of another Toytowner, I wrote to a particular Krankenkasse to ask about coverage in my particular circumstances (born in Germany to a German mother and removed at the age of 17 months by my prospective American adoptive parents), to which they responded by sending me an application form, which I dutifilly filled out and submitted. A couple/few weeks later, they responded affirmatively, at which point I had only to establish my residency in Germany to become a paying member. The whys and wherefores remain a mystery to me, and I've chosen not inquire further.

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