Moving to a new country is always daunting. Dealing with taxation must sit at the top of the “Oh My God” list for most expats, especially given that German taxation is complex even for the natives. Rightly or wrongly, I relied on my employer to get it right although my payslips always used to mystify me given that they were a full A4 sheet of seemingly endless deductions.
However, for me, things became complicated after I bought an investment property in Berlin and a small business. All this meant doing income tax and VAT returns electronically in German. To attempt to do it myself would have been a recipe for disaster, so I got professional help.
I was living in the city of Essen at the time and after a bit of hunting, I found a local accountant called Carsten Greiwe. I have been using Carsten for several years now, and he has been worth his weight in gold. He has handled all my income tax and VAT matters, calmed the ruffled feathers of the tax office when I myself made a cock up, plus he has given me stacks of advice on my tax position and how to legitimately minimise my liability. Now I don’t have sleepless nights worrying about incurring the wrath of an angry tax man for falling foul of the complex German tax laws.
He is not local – he is in Essen a couple of hours from the Mosel valley. That has never proven to be a problem though and I deal with him remotely from both Zell and Kuwait (where I often work). He speaks perfect English and his website is here.
So, unless you are fluent in German, I strongly suggest you leave all of your tax matters to a professional such as Carsten because it will save you an awful lot of bother later on.