Living in Germany, Wife has Job Offer from American Company - What are our Options?!

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Hi there! My wife and I have been living in Germany for over a year now, recently she was offered a job by her old company in NYC. The job would be permanent, full-time and completely remote. Is there a way to structure things so that she can accept this job and pay into 'the German system' while working for a company based in the US? So far I've read a bit about potentially setting up a subsidiary, or perhaps using a payroll service so that she technically works for a Germany company that's reimbursed by the company she works for? What about being 'self employed' here in Germany? The job would be fairly lucrative and the company would probably be willing to incur some costs to set it up the right way in order to make it work. Have no clue where to start or who to talk to - any help massively appreciated! 

 

PS I have a German passport so we have no concerns/questions regarding visas/etc.

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I imagine asking an accountant here in Germany is the way to go.

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If she's self employed, her health insurance would be fairly expensive.  If she stayed with public insurance, she would have to pay a minimum of something like 350 or 15% whichever is more or she could go private.  There's also a problem being self employed if you only have one client.  She should definitely talk to an accountant.  Possibly she can just work for them on the US payroll, pay taxes there and also pay taxes here on "world income".  There are tax treaties between the two, see https://www.irs.gov/businesses/international-businesses/germany-tax-treaty-documents

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3 hours ago, punkfan said:

So far I've read a bit about potentially setting up a subsidiary, or perhaps using a payroll service so that she technically works for a Germany company that's reimbursed by the company she works for? What about being 'self employed' here in Germany? The job would be fairly lucrative and the company would probably be willing to incur some costs to set it up the right way in order to make it work. Have no clue where to start or who to talk to - any help massively appreciated! 

 

PS I have a German passport so we have no concerns/questions regarding visas/etc.

 

Try contacting @Starshollow for assistance. IIRC he has experience helping clients in these situations. 

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I have been looking into Shield GEO services for a similar situation i have found myself in (offered a job by a US company, who initially wanted to hire me as a contractor). They seem very reputable, however their serives fees are quite expensive. But, if you said the company is "willing to incur some costs to set it up the right way in order to make it work." is could be the easiest and fastest solution.

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Per CFQ and LeonG, talk to a Steuerberater with international experience.  There's no short cut, it's not a unique situtation but it is not standard and you'll need advice for your family as well as the employer will need to know what to do.

 

The NYC company will probably want to make sure it does not have a 'permanent establishment' or 'permanent representative' in Germany from your wife -- or it'll be liable for German income tax. 

 

Your wife of course will be liable for German income tax, as well as likely U.S., NY state, and NY city income tax.  To some extent the US/German treaty will help with the U.S. federal income tax, and you can try to get credit with Germany for the state and city (and medicare and social security) taxes as Sonderausgaben. 

But I think as a German resident she is still going to need Kranken and Pflegeversicherung and contributions to Rentenversicherung and Arbeitslosenverischerung. 

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There is a lot of grey zone here, even though a lot of foreign employers tread in it...

 

The US employer can either go thru the process of doing an actual secondment for your wife to Germany. That way they can keep her on US payroll, social welfare contributions and she'll only have to do her taxes in Germany, too. 

 

Or she can be on a German-law-compliant contract with social welfare contributions etc in Germany. There are many providers of payroll services for such employers who do not have an establishment in Germany nor want one. So you can get things totally above board and legally sound without getting the US employer in any trouble.

 

Cheerio

 

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K thanks all - looks like doing this through a payroll company is the way to go, I'm glad it's not gonna be super complicated.

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