Germany is great. Living in an actual society is great. Not being worried about being bankrupted by a hospital visit is great. Being able to grocery shop or exist in public without fear of being gunned down randomly is fucking amazing.
Unfortunately there’s a huge caveat if you are self-employed. You won’t get to live in the same society as everyone else. This nightmare isn’t over yet as I’m staring a tax bill of 11000 EUR due between the end of this month (5k I do not have) and the end of Dec (6k I also do not have but my accountant is hopeful she can get that lowered significantly based on my lower income this year).
I wish in all my research any of this information had been made available to me and I would have been able to make an informed decision about how or whether to keep working. Basically, it’s a financial crime to have the audacity to be self-employed in Germany. It’s hard enough as a citizen but as an immigrant it is utter hell. 0/10 do not recommend.
When this is over I’m going to make a video about it but in the meantime, here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- If you’re self-employed you have to pay both the employer and employee portion for your healthcare costs based on your average monthly income. I pay 288 EUR/mo because I make about $1k/mo. No
freesubsidized healthcare for me.
- If you work over 20hrs a week when you move here and apply for health coverage, you are barred from accessing Public insurance (best option if you’re trans and/or chronically ill).
- If you work in tech and you don’t have any already established German clients you won’t have access to the collectives/co-ops that could take some of the incoming tax nightmare off your hands.
- If you are self-employed and live in Germany you have to pay your income tax to Germany and you also have to pay social security taxes to the US.
- Governments don’t care which currency you make your money in or which country your bank is in, only where you sleep. This was entirely unclear to me in all my research, because the only terms that were explained for tax purposes were currency based.
- If you are a small business making ~20k EUR, expect to owe a little over half of your income in taxes between both countries.
- If you make over ~22k EUR you must figure out how to pay/charge the VAT. *unless your clients are outside the EU
- If you are self-employed expect to have an extremely difficult time finding accountants with availability to take on complex cases (like being self-employed).
Sometimes I really wish I had a normal body, that would let me have a normal job, and a normal education that would allow me to get said normal job.