Leasing a car as an expat

So I'm shopping around and I've found a few websites with some great rates. I don't drive that much and it doesn't make sense to buy a new car or(winter auto) and honestly I can use the tax write off.

Questions for people who have done this before.
What are the requirements as an expat contracted to work here?
Does foreign income count(the company is American)?
Best company you would recommend.
Reviews of companies that you have leased under?
So far I've looked at Sixt, Leasingmarkt and a few other sites. They seem fair but if you have experience dealing with this my eyes and ears are open. I'm an ex car salesman and one thing I learned is upscale, adding unnecessary extras and making them seem like an obligation etc, I'd prefer to avoid that here if possible😅. Thanks for any input, 🙌🏾

Americans can visit visa-free in Schengen for up to 3 months for tourism. To work they are going to need a work visa/permit, or have a family reunion visa which also allows them to work. Whether a company is German or American is irrelevant, what matters is where the work is done. Once here one will have to have health insurance and file and pay taxes.

And one can drive with an American license but usually only up to 6 months although I think it can be extended up to 12 months if they are leaving after that point. Getting a German license depends on the exchange provision with the specific State that issued your license. Some have a full exchange provision so that it is just a bit of paperwork and a minor fee. Some has no exchange provision and one would have to do not only the written and practical tests but also a full driving-school program that usually costs a couple of thousand Euros. Some States have a partial exchange; say one still has to do the tests but is spared any or most of the driving school hours. If one has to do the written test, it can be done in English but one still needs to understand basic German signs.

As far as car rental places go, I have almost no experience. I got rid of my car a few years back and get one from the Stadtmobil cars-sharing program when I need one. They also have special rates for leasing and are found in all decent sized cities.

I have no experience with car leasing, but I support Tom's idea of car sharing, which is very popular in German cities. If you "don't drive that much" (i.e. not every day), it would be cheaper and more convenient to get a car as and when you need it - you can even choose which type is best for the purpose: family van today, Smart for the way to/from an evening out in the city, transporter for heavier loads, fun car for the weekend, etc. You pay a small monthly administrative fee and for the car by usage (hourly or km rates) - and never have to worry about parking or repairs. In German cities (but not so much in the countryside) there is usually a car available within walking distance and can be booked from your handphone.

Cool, unfortunately I live in a village so nothing available here😭. I've lived here now for 4 years and I've gotten a German license a few years back. Its interesting what you mentioned about Germans not caring where your income comes from though. Care to elaborate a bit more on that one? My income is legal btw😂.

JonnyVo wrote:

Its interesting what you mentioned about Germans not caring where your income comes from though. Care to elaborate a bit more on that one? My income is legal btw😂.

I see no such mention above.
In case you mean the German tax authority: You are income-tax-liable on your world income while you reside (not work!) in Germany, unless a bilateral tax treaty specifies differently - and even then you must disclose your entire world income in the yearly tax declaration, because it is up to them (not you) to decide whether it's taxable or not. Declaring incorrectly is a criminal offense. (You may think the chance of being found out is low, but the German authorities are known for buying customer data from banks abroad to find tax dodgers!)

We definitely pay taxes😂, I had a bud kicked out for dodging and he has kids here. I meant that my company is American and as such I'm payed through them but living here. I'm from Chicago and beppi... It's just not safe. My wife is German and she encouraged me to move us back here. The only bump I've had is that when I want to do something as a German usually it's denied. Partially why I'm opening a business here😅. I feel it makes no sense to live here(it's amazing) and not enjoy some of the services available.

Well of course if one is legally living in Germany then all income even earned elsewhere is almost always going to be taxed in Germany. This is the world-wide standard. The domicile of the employer is usually irrelevant. But I hope you know that America is one of 2 countries that also requires its citizens and all US persons (an IRS definition that can include non-citizens) to file tax returns. If one has zero income of any kind then they would not have to file. But any other income and they usually do; even if there is no tax obligation in the end. Any it is even more complex if one is self-employed. And they also separately have to file an annual FBAR form reporting any financial assets over 10,000 USD. This is a long and complex subject I have posted about before. If you are not aware of it then it is worth looking into. Just ignoring it can lead to future trouble if one returns to the States or needs to apply for a new passport or say decides to renounce their citizenship. Obligations to the IRS will have to be reckoned with.

About the Stadtmobil car sharing; you are correct that it is usually not an option if one doesn't live in a city where they are readily available – although if one gets one for regular usage it might be worth going to the nearest city. What they offer fits well to my needs but I live directly in Stuttgart and only need a vehicle on rare occasions but for a leasing option it is of course good to look around and compare offers.

You write "The only bump I've had is that when I want to do something as a German usually it's denied." What does this mean? Other than being allowed to vote, I was never denied anything in Germany before becoming a citizen.

And that is another matter you might want to inform yourself about. Usually, an American must renounce US citizenship to naturalize as German but there is a possible exception so that one becomes a dual citizenship (I did this in 2019) and saves the 2350 USD renunciation fee. I've also posted about this or you can ask if you would like more details.