Paying taxes in Germany
The tax in Germany isn’t as hard as you think. We’ll help you learn the ins and outs of taxes for expats, including tax brackets, the easiest deductions you can submit, and more.
Whether they’re looking for a change of scenery, moving for a job, or even for a new love, the new lifestyle that awaits expat Americans in Germany can be very rewarding.
The transition from the US to Europe isn’t all that shocking, despite a language barrier. British expats have also been coming over more and more steadily since 2016’s Brexit decision. The European lifestyle is similar enough to America and the UK to make a move fairly simple.
In America, the average employee is entitled to 10 days of paid vacation– two weeks. Generally, sick days also count against their paid leave time. When employees are forced to choose between spending their vacation days at the beach, or bringing their sniffles to work with them, everybody suffers. But in the European Union, countries are legally obligated to offer their employees at least 4 weeks of paid time off per year. In Germany, the average young professional receives 28 days of vacation annually. In a country where the work-life balance of the employee is so valued, it’s easy to see the appeal for Americans in Germany.
The luxury of being able to explore and experience so many international cultures within arm’s reach is irresistible for Americans in Germany. With planes, trains, buses and cars crisscrossing the continent, European residents enjoy a high degree of mobility. From Italy, it is only a few hours by car or train to Munich. From Berlin, visitors are only a hop, skip and a jump away from the Czech republic. Residents of Cologne can travel to France or the Netherlands with great ease. For many US citizens, this kind of travel is what dreams are made of. British expats are also notorious for their love of travel, and while the UK is also well placed, Germany’s location in the middle of Western Europe gives them an even better head start when it comes to planning vacations.
Although no place is perfect, residents of Germany can enjoy a high degree of stability in most infrastructural services offered. For example, public transportation is well planned and offers great accessibility throughout German cities and even access to the suburbs. When trains or subways are delayed, passengers are informed via digital displays, text message notifications, spoken announcements at the train station, and more. Due in part to the sheer size of the country, many cities in the US have outdated buses and trains, and an infrastructure that could use a facelift. Ask any American in Germany, and they’ll tell you how much they appreciate the ease of getting around in a German city. Then, consider public programs like free college tuition and additional discounts for university students. These policies make life for American and British expats more pleasant and contribute to a healthier, happier society in Germany.
For many Americans, their current access to healthcare coverage is constantly in question. Private insurance providers are an option for those who can afford them, but even this coverage isn’t always guaranteed, and the employer also plays a large role in determining what healthcare employees are eligible to receive. Congress’ daily decisions mean that public policies frequently alter coverage, and leave citizens guessing how their health might be affected. In Germany, residents are legally required to have health insurance, and two systems ensure that all residents have access to some sort of healthcare. In contrast to the UK system, where British expats are accustomed to the National Health System, Germany’s two options offer great flexibility for its residents. The public system is available for students, employees earning less than the yearly minimum (2021: 64,350 EUR), and family dependents. For those earning above the yearly minimum, private is also a great option for more comprehensive healthcare. Medical professionals in Germany have a reputation for excellence and medical tourism is not uncommon for visiting expats.
Americans in Germany have full access to this high-quality healthcare system and with private plans, they can save money while receiving the absolute best medical attention available in Germany.
Cities in Germany are ranked among the safest in Europe. In fact, recent studies show that Germany’s crime rate is the lowest it’s been in the last 30 years . Police and local security forces offer peace of mind to citizens in Germany, especially in comparison to other countries on the continent. Americans in Germany value the high quality of life. Other studies show that Germany is the 14th safest country in the world to call home. British expats and American transplants can rest easy knowing that Germany offers a safe and secure lifestyle for those who want to settle here.
More about the German healthcare system:
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