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Moving to Germany short term for work. Which city to choose?

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Over the last year I have been working on a few potential contracts for my employer around Europe and the US.

My boss told me yesterday (we have a bit of lag as I am over in the UK) that our bids for three contracts have been successful.

 

Due to my work on this he has offered me the chance to work on one of the projects on site.

I had the choice of contracts in the US, the UK, Germany, France or Spain.

 

From those I have decided I will either go to the UK or Germany.

UK options are - 

Manchester or Birmingham.

 

Germany has the choice of - 

Gottingen

Hamburg

Berlin

Heidelberg

Somewhere called Worms (?)

Cottbus

Dresden

Frankfurt

I know this kind of thread may pop up from time to time but I would be interested if people could reply with what they live about the city (from the above, that they live in, even what they do not like if they think it is relevant). I have a few colleagues in the UK who can give me info on the UK locations, but I thought this would be the best place to ask about Germany.

Money is not so much of an issue as my employer will pay my rent so a major outgoing is off the table.

The contract will also only last 2 years so I am not looking to stay longer than that (things may change, who knows).

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19 minutes ago, John Bail said:

Money is not so much of an issue as my employer will pay my rent so a major outgoing is off the table.

 

They are not allowed to do so, they have to tax that rent as if they had given you that amount of rent in cash additionally to your normal salary as a "geldwerter Vorteil", i.e. you would have to pay German income tax and German social security deductions on that rent amount - though if they post/second you to Germany, you are allowed to stay in the US social security system for the first two years, so only German income tax would be left.

 

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If it's a delegation contract, you employer can pay your rent and also give you other allowances, such as a car allowance, country allowance, etc. Some of my IT colleagues work in the US on such delegation contract. Most of the salary can be saved since they have all sorts of allowances covering most of their expenses. Typically, delegation contracts last for the project duration up to 3 years. Some of my former colleagues were on delegation contracts in different countries for longer periods w/o having an apartment in Munich, so they saved shit loads of money enabling them later to buy an apartment cash in Munich.

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50 minutes ago, John Bail said:

..Due to my work on this he has offered me the chance to work on one of the projects on site. I had the choice of contracts in the US, the UK, Germany, France or Spain.

...

The contract will also only last 2 years so I am not looking to stay longer than that (things may change, who knows).

 

Sounds like a classic secondment. Then the procedure should be quite easy.

 

Will you have to travel a lot? How much of a budget will you have per month because, for example, rents in Frankfurt and Cottbus are miles wide apart! It's an interesting selection of German cities for sure. What are your hobbies? Will you bring family along? Do you speak German?

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56 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

If it's a delegation contract, you employer can pay your rent and also give you other allowances, such as a car allowance, country allowance, etc. Some of my IT colleagues work in the US on such delegation contract. Most of the salary can be saved since they have all sorts of allowances covering most of their expenses. Typically, delegation contracts last for the project duration up to 3 years. Some of my former colleagues were on delegation contracts in different countries for longer periods w/o having an apartment in Munich, so they saved shit loads of money enabling them later to buy an apartment cash in Munich.

 

Sorry, but no.

Delegation is just another word for secondment or posting - there is no way around German income tax law, all geldwerte Vorteile have to be taxed.

What may have worked outside Germany will not work in Germany.

 

I recommend that @John Bail suggests to his employer that they consult a Steuerberater (= tax adviser) who will then tell them that paying an employee's rent means taxable income for that employee.

The only exception would be for SOFA contracts, since those people are not considered resident in Germany and are therefore not subject to German income tax law.

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1 hour ago, PandaMunich said:

Sorry, but no.

Delegation is just another word for secondment or posting - there is no way around German income tax law, all geldwerte Vorteile have to be taxed.

What may have worked outside Germany will not work in Germany. I recommend that @John Bail suggests to his employer that they consult a Steuerberater (= tax adviser) who will then tell them that paying an employee's rent means taxable income for that employee.

 

It was the same for my husband who was seconded to Singapore. Tax rate was lower there so we did save money, but yeah he had to claim the rent and additional compensation on those tax declarations (still was less than in Germany).

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I assume the OP is a US citizen and when working abroad being in lower tax countries does not help that much as what that country does not take, the US government will.

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A lot depends on what your interests and plans are and what you are looking for in a city. And what Elfenstar said.

I can only offer some ideas since I have not been to all of the cities you mention. Others will probably know a lot more or have different opinions, but I'll just make a start... 

 

Göttingen - I remember that it had a lot of students. 

Hamburg - Very cool, very hip, close to the sea. Not cheap though. 

Berlin - The most international of German cities. Very cool, very hip. A lot of expats and travellers end up there. Sometimes hard to meet real Berliners. I find people in the North generally more unfriendly than in the South and Berlin is infamous for its rudeness. 

Heidelberg - pretty, full of students and tourists. Expensive living. Not far from France.  

Somewhere called Worms (?) - about 45 min South of Frankfurt. On the Rhine river. Famous for its wine festival. Much smaller than the other ones. Claims to be the oldest city in Germany (Trier is the other contender. Never start a discussion on that with a local.) 

Cottbus - never been, no idea

Dresden - said to be pretty, have not been there yet 

Frankfurt - big, rather international but less alternative than Berlin, influenced by banking, very expensive, airport close by is a plus. 

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I don't know whether it matters for you, but crime rates increase from the south to the north.

Berlin has the highest crime rate in Germany, towns in Bavaria the lowest.

15000 accidents/100000 inhabitants in Berlin to 6000 in Munich.

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hmmm...is it too late to choose Spain?

 

The weather in northern Germany is miserable.  Berlin is in full-swing gentrification and is much less cool or hip than it might have been in the past, and generally has a serious slacker vibe.  Air connections from Berlin are pretty crap, considering that it is a capital city.  

 

That said, it is hard to give helpful advice without knowing basic things about you, such as your age and what you are looking to do.  

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Fresh northern weather up here, sea breeze, lovely summers, good fish, near to our Scandinavia cousins.

Great city of Hamburg plus lots of other towns, and not forgetting Meck-Pom and castles.

What more could you want?

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Start off on Manchester...

 

Its a dump... its cold and wet... and a shithole!

 

Then move to Birmingham... You will then be glad to move back to the delights of Manchester..

 

Warm Beer.. fish and Chips... No grumpy German neighbours whinging at you... No language issues    ( Learning "Brumm" isnt hard...)  

 

All other countries will lead to no end of moaning from you!

 

Best!

 

 

 

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45 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

Start off on Manchester...

 

Its a dump... its cold and wet... and a shithole!

 

Then move to Birmingham... You will then be glad to move back to the delights of Manchester..

 

Warm Beer.. fish and Chips... No grumpy German neighbours whinging at you... No language issues    ( Learning "Brumm" isnt hard...)  

 

All other countries will lead to no end of moaning from you!

 

Best!

 

 

 

Keep south of M4!

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4 minutes ago, RedMidge said:

Keep south of M4!

Last time Ilooked at a map of the uK... Both choices, Brum and Mancland... Were North of the M4..

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2 hours ago, SpiderPig said:

Last time Ilooked at a map of the uK... Both choices, Brum and Mancland... Were North of the M4..

Exactly! To Op- choose London, Southampton, Winchester !!!!

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9 hours ago, John Bail said:
5 minutes ago, RedMidge said:

Exactly! To Op- choose London, Southampton, Winchester !!!!

 

9 hours ago, John Bail said:

 

From those I have decided I will either go to the UK or Germany.

UK options are - 

Manchester or Birmingham.

 

 

RedMidge...   It would appear that reading comprehension wasnt you subject in school...

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33 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

RedMidge...   It would appear that reading comprehension wasnt you subject in school...

It seems you missed the grammar lessons!

Of course I understood- just my way of advising against any moves to the north of England!:P

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If I had the choice between Spain, France, Germany and UK, my first choice would be Spain, second France :D

 

Out of the German cities mentioned: My first choices would be Hamburg and Berlin - cool cities. However, if weather is a criterion, Hamburg is not a good choice - Heidelberg is also a nice option. I would suggest to avoid Cottbus - honestly, I have never been there, but I don't know what positive thing to say about Cottbus. 

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