Temporary Assignment from US to Germany, Address to Use?


New member
Trying to figure out what the heck I’m supposed to be doing legally/financially.

I am on temporary assignment to Germany. Wife and I are both US citizens, previously living in California. I have accepted a temporary assignment from my employer to be based in Germany. I remain a US/California employee, paid in dollars, etc, assigned to a German subsidiary with a German work visa etc. My employer is covering all costs like health insurance, paying for housing and car, paying an extra stipend, etc. I will get tax equalization and filing assistance, per my contract, but I think that might not include state taxes? I’m unclear on that. I am a W2 employee, paid through salary as well as RSUs and ESPP. The current contract is only 7 months, but I am expecting it to be extended, and possibly extended by multiple years. The benefits I get will likely change if I’m extended that long, but I don’t know what the new rules would be.

I have a 401k which will continue receiving contributions (maxing out). Wife and I both have IRAs, and typically max them out through back door contributions. We also have old 401ks (not rolled over) and HSAs, none of which are receiving contributions any more. We use Fidelity for all the above accounts, including as a our main checking account.

We don’t own a home, so we broke our lease and gave up our rental house. Sold both cars and many possessions, so we no longer have a residence in the US. My employer is paying for mail forwarding using an address in New Jersey.

I don’t know what addresses to put on accounts. If I go through and update all addresses to my German address, eg with Fidelity, I am concerned they will close accounts. I don’t have any address in California any more, though I could ask a friend to use their address. I may one day be able to stop paying California taxes, but not if I leave California addresses on the accounts. If I’m tax-equalized, that might not matter anyway…but idk about state taxes and I may not always get equalization if my stay is extended for multiple years, I don’t know the policy. If I change address to the forwarding address in New Jersey, I worry New Jersey will start looking for tax money as well, and I think many places will recognize it’s a business address, not a residence.. The brokerage my employer uses for RSUs will get an address from my employer (I can’t set it), which I think will be the German address(?), I don’t know what’s going to happen with that either.

My employer is basically expecting people on short term assignment to keep themselves as California residents while on assignment, but without an address there, I’m a little lost. If Fidelity closes our accounts, we’d be screwed. I think it’s too late to move everything to a Schwab account, who seems less likely to close the account when I move.

Should I ask a friend to use a California address for residence for all financial institutions, and resign myself to always having to pay California’s high income tax rate if I lose (or already don’t have) equalization? That might be the simplest answer anyway.
@batgirl0078 afaik if you are on temporary assignment you will continue to be a CA state resident regardless of what you do, the only way to stop paying CA taxes is if you permanently leave - yes this sucks, but this is how CA works :-/
@batgirl0078 I had Fidelity for my 401k. I called and ask and they told me it was ok to have a foreign address. A few days after I changed it to my EU address they cashed out my policy and closed my account.

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