Peter Scheller
Berater für Wirtschaftsprüfer, Rechtsanwälte, Steuer- und Unternehmensberater

„Wenn es knifflig wird.“

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Kategorie Auswanderer / Expatriates

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There are various situations where an expatriate who relocates to Germany would benefit from a “tax cover” to avoid undesirable tax consequences. One way to avoid unwanted tax implications is the transfer of property which generates respective income to a German or a foreign company. However, this transfer often results in tax consequences at a later stage which may be considered not to be beneficial and so it must only be done after proper research. Another tax planning tool might be the transfer of respective property into a pension plan.

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There are several important reporting obligations in Germany. Most of them have to be observed by both German citizens and expatriates who relocate to Germany. The obligations apply especially to persons who are shareholders of companies, or members of partnerships who have set up a business activity in Germany. Persons in this respect are considered as both individuals as well as corporations.

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Living and working in another country requires careful tax planning as there are always many tax issues to be considered. In addition, social security and other legal issues such as immigration law must be observed. This applies for all US citizens who relocate to Germany and it is important to note that there are special issues to be observed. Different tax and social security systems in Germany and the USA may cause problems in addition to those contained in special provisions in the Double Taxation Convention between Germany and the USA (DTC USA).

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Living and working in another country requires careful tax planning as there are always many tax issues to be considered. In addition, social security and other legal issues such as immigration law must be observed. This applies for all US citizens who relocate to Germany and it is important to note that there are special issues to be observed. Different tax and social security systems in Germany and the USA may cause problems in addition to those contained in special provisions in the Double Taxation Convention between Germany and the USA (DTC USA).

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Finding the best way to relocate to Germany is important and seeking early advice will save time, cost and avoid difficulties later.

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During this pandemic many companies are trying to keep their economic or professional activities going by sending people home and letting them work from there. This measure is not suitable for all businesses, but it is keeping many alive. Manufacturing companies or craft businesses will not be able to do this, but many of those in the service sector are taking this route right now.

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From 1st March 2020 skilled workers and professional specialists are able to move to Germany in order to work in Germany. This is due to the Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz (Specialist Immigration Code), which allows skilled personal from non-EU or non-EEA-countries to live and work in Germany. The previous restrictions in controlling the number of  specialists and skilled workers into Germany have been reduced  significantly.

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German income tax regulations are relatively generous if it comes to deductibility of job related expenses.

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Die Limited Liability Company - kurz LLC - ist eine in den USA wegen ihrer großen Flexibilität sehr beliebte Gesellschaftsform. Diese Vorteile können aber steuerlich zum Boomerang werden, wenn ihre Gesellschafter in Deutschland ansässig sind oder es werden. Der Beitrag in der ISR 3/2019, Seite 114 behandelt die einzelnen Problembereiche.

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Self-employed people as well as employees may work some of the time or permanently from home. This raises the question of whether and when expenses for a home office are tax deductible in Germany and if so, what kind of expenses are valid.

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Es gibt eine Anzahl von US-Staatsbürgern, die nach Beendigung ihres aktiven Berufslebens ihren Wohnsitz in Deutschland haben oder nehmen. Die kann familiäre oder andere private Gründe haben, im Einzelfall auch politische. Es stellt sich in diesen Fällen immer die Frage, wie Altersversorgungsbezüge aus den USA in Deutschland besteuert werden und ob eine Doppelbesteuerung droht. Dieselben Fragen stellen sich natürlich auch für Deutsche, die in ihrer aktiven Zeit Rentenansprüche gegenüber US-Altersvorsorgeeinrichtungen erworben haben. Die Autoren Peter Scheller und Michael Dauer haben hierüber in der ISR 1/2019, Seite 32 einen Artikel veröffentlicht.

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Traditionally Germany has had a so called synthetic tax system. That means that the total income from each and every source is amalgamated and the sum multiplied by the individual tax rate of the taxpayer. This method also means that losses from certain sources (such as trade and business or renting out real estate and property) can be credited against other positive income. Germany abolished this system with regard to income from capital investments and now this kind of income is not part of this amalgamation but is taxed at a special tax rate.

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The United Kingdom and the European Union are still negotiating about an exit agreement. The hard line of EU negotiators and more so the deep discord within the governing Conservative party about Great Britain’s negotiation strategy make it more and more unlikely that both parties will come to an agreement by 29 March 2019. A hard Brexit become more and more a likely scenario. This will have wide-reaching consequences for British citizens living in Germany.

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Die deutsche Wirtschaft zieht viele Fachkräfte aus dem Ausland an, die für eine gewisse Zeit in Deutschland leben und arbeiten. Diese Fachkräfte sehen sich mit einer Vielzahl steuerlicher und sozialversicherungsrechtlicher Fragen in Deutschland konfrontiert. In der Praxis sind Krankenversicherung und Altersvorsorge wichtige zu klärende Punkte. Im ersten Teil der Untersuchung stehen die sozialversicherungsrechtlichen, im zweiten Teil die steuerlichen Regelungen zur Kranken-und Rentenversicherung während der Tätigkeit in Deutschland im Vordergrund. Die steuerlichen Wirkungen während der Auszahlungsphase von Renten müssen einem weiteren Artikel vorbehalten bleiben. Der Beitrag wurde veröffentlich in der ISR 2018, Seite 178.

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US citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) may wish to retire in Germany. This has tax implications in Germany and in the US.

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LLC – Limited Liability Company and German taxation

There are good reasons to form a LLC in the USA. It combines preferable characteristics such as a far-reaching legal flexibility of the corporate structure with a limited liability of its shareholders. Beside this the shareholders can choose whether the …

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Freelancer and the „false“ self-employed phenomenon

Some service industries employ freelancers rather than employees in order to carry out certain jobs. To work as a freelancer can be beneficial both for the freelancer and his/her customer. However, if the freelancer’s position is similar to the one of …

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Umzugskosten bei Arbeitnehmerentsendung nicht leichtfertig verschenken

Die Autoren Peter Scheller und Michael Dauer haben in der Zeitschrift Praxis Internationale Steuerberatung (PIStB 11/2017, S. 304) einen Artikel um Thema Umzugskosten bei Arbeitnehmerentsendung nicht leichtfertig verschenken – Teil 1: Werbungskosten veröffentlicht. Der 2. Teil zu den Bereichen Umsatzsteuer und …

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Expatriates: 10 issues to be considered as a retired person in Germany

In general expatriates relocate to Germany for business or job reasons. However, there is a growing number of expatriates especially from the US and the UK who are moving to Germany when reaching retirement age. The reasons for this move …

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S Corporation as tax trap for US-expatriates?

The number of US citizens who are living and working in Germany increases steadily. Although their number with circa 110,000 persons is relatively small, their economic significance is high. US-citizens who move to Germany generally have either well paid jobs …

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German social security rates 2017

In general expatriates moving to Germany are interested in their tax situation. For people with high income this is understandable. However, foreign employees and their employers should not ignore social security obligations in Germany. There are certain issues to be …

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German tax residence

Residence is one of the most common criteria for the taxation on income. Most states tax the worldwide income of a person who is a resident within their territory. Unfortunately every state is free to define the term residence differently. …

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Investment in German real estate

For foreign investors Germany’s real estate property is still attractive although property prices are still rising. Foreign investors have to consider legal and tax issues in Germany. This article covers 10 main tax issues. (1) German real estate and taxes …

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Beschäftigung als Arbeitnehmer in der Schweiz (2)

Im Rahmen einer internationalen Zusammenarbeit haben Hugo Schauli, Wirtschaftsprüfer der Wirtschafts-Treuhand AG, Basel und Peter Scheller die steuerlichen und sozialversicherungsrechtlichen Fragen deutscher Arbeitnehmer, die in der Schweiz einer Tätigkeit nachgehen, untersucht. In der Internationale Steuer-Rundschau 5/2016, S. 182 wurde der zweite Teil …

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Beschäftigung als Arbeitnehmer in der Schweiz

Im Rahmen einer internationalen Zusammenarbeit haben Hugo Schauli, Wirtschaftsprüfer der Wirtschafts-Treuhand AG, Basel und Peter Scheller die steuerlichen und sozialversicherungsrechtlichen Fragen deutscher Arbeitnehmer, die in der Schweiz einer Tätigkeit nachgehen, untersucht. In der Internationale Steuer-Rundschau 4/2016, S. 151 wurde der …

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Taxation of Stock Option Plans in Germany

As an US expat, it’s important to understand the differences of how stock options are taxed in different countries. Knowing the ins and out will help you properly file your taxes in both the US and your host country – … 

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Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedure

Die USA sind eines von zwei Staaten, die ihre Staatsangehörigen und Personen mit Daueraufenthaltsberechtigung besteuern. Das führt dazu, dass alle US-Staatsbürger und Greencard-Holder zwingend jedes Jahr eine US-Einkommensteuererklärung abgeben müssen. Dies gilt auch dann, wenn diese Personen nicht in der USA …

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Will overturned by Royal Court of Justice

It does not happen very often that a Court decision over inheritance law gets high profile publicity. However, the recent verdict of Her Majesty’s Court of Appeal regarding Heather Ilott’s share of inheritance attracted public attention on a large scale. You may …

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German Business Tax

Germany imposes certain taxes on profits of domestic and foreign corporations with a tax representation in Germany. There are federal taxes such as corporation income tax (tax rate: 15%) and solidarity surplus charge (tax rate: 5,5% on corporation income tax …

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The Ins and Out of US Taxation for German Citizens

American tax rules are complex for US taxpayers, but they can also be confusing for others who spend time working in the US or have US investments. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more common tax situations …

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Taxation of spouses in Germany

In Germany resident spouses will be jointly assessed for income tax purposes unless they opt for seperate assessment. Joint assessment decreases the tax burden if one spouse’s income is highrer than that of the other spouse. If a spouse qualifies for …

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Assignment and social security

Employed individuals who work in Germany are subject to Germany’s social security systems. Self-employed persons are in general not liable to German social security contributions. There are certain exceptions from this general rule. The most important exception is the assignment of an employee. The …

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German social security for expatriates

In general expatriates moving to Germany are interested in their tax situation. For people with high income this is understandable. However, foreign employees and their employers should not ignore social security obligations in Germany. There are certain issues to be …

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Salary payments by third parties

Sometimes employees receive wage payments by third parties. This happens within company groups or through benefits granted by business partners.        This occurs, for example, in the following cases: discounts granted by business partners (for example: discounts on …

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Filing US-income tax returns

Our co-operation partner Geenback Tax Services provided us with the upcoming deadlines to file US-income tax returns. It’s that time of the year again and the US tax deadlines are rapidly approaching! Are you ready to file? Here are the …

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Deductible expenses for work-related second household

Expatriates who start working in Germany may keep the main household in their home country. This is especially the case if the family stays back home. This situation results in two households and leads to the question: Are the expenses …

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Child benefits in Germany

In Germany there is a wide range of tax incentives for parents and other persons who provide a home for children. However, the complex network of regulations makes it hard for Germans and especially expatriates to keep a sufficient overview. The following … 

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Taxation of Stock Option Plans in Germany

Expatriates especially from the USA and the Anglo-Saxon world who have been sent to Germany by their employers are often beneficiaries of stock option plans. Regularly these employees exercise options while staying in Germany. This raises the question of how benefits will be …

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Foreign source income and German income tax

Foreign source income is in general not subject to German income taxation if a person is not resident in Germany. However, in years where a person enters or leaves Germany this sort of income might affect the progressive German income tax …

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Deductible relocation expenses in Germany

Employees can deduct relocation expenses from their taxable income if these costs are job or work-related. Alternatively, the employer may reimburse those expenses free of tax. If the employer does not reimburse all relocation expenses, the employee is entitled to …

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Income tax assessment in Germany

A lot of countries such as the USA and the UK adopted a self-assessment regime in order to collect income tax. This means that an individual has to declare tax relevant items such as taxable income and deductible expenses. Every taxpayer has …

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Property Service Fees

Individuals can claim tax deductions for expenses connected to private homes. These rules promote family homes but also secondary residences or holiday homes. In Germany these fees are called Haushaltsnahe Dienstleistungen. Services must be linked to the household. These favourable regulations cover employments …

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Profit distribution and German Church Tax

In Germany religious communities can request the tax authorities to collect a church tax from their members. In the past the Roman-Catholic Church and most of Protestant communities gave the authority of tax collection to the tax authorities. The church tax will …