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Steuern in den USA

Einführung in das amerikanische Steuersystem

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Ziehen Sie bald in die USA? Es ist immer ratsam, vor jeder großen Entscheidung sich gut über die jeweils zutreffenden Regelungen und Gegebenheiten im Ausland zu informieren. Das amerikanische Steuersystem gibt es bereits seit 1860 und ist mitunter sehr komplex. Daher haben wir hier für Sie eine Übersicht über die Steuern in den USA zusammengefasst.

When are you subject to tax in the USA?

In principle, everyone who has their primary residence and works in the USA is obliged to pay their taxes. The taxes are differentiated between:


Residents are people who have received a green card with permanent residency , meaning if you live in the USA , you are required to pay tax on your worldwide income .


Non-residents are people who live abroad but have a green card – i.e. if you are based in Germany, you usually do not have to pay taxes in the USA and are billed according to German taxes . However, you still have to file a tax return in the USA .

General basic allowance

In this case, you have to pay taxes if your income is above the general basic allowance, otherwise you are exempt from tax liability.

Federal Income Tax

In the USA, income tax is levied independently of the state and by different states . Accordingly, the amount of income tax depends heavily on where you live and work. In addition, there are currently seven income tax brackets in the USA and is part of the progressive income tax. The following tax rates (2020) apply in the USA:

IndividualMarried couple/life partnerTax rates
to $9,700 to $19,40010%
$9,700 – $39,475$19,400 – $78,95012%
$39,475 – $84,200$78,950 – $168,40022%
$84,200 – $160,725$168,400 – $321,45024%
$160,725 – $204,100$321,450 – $408,20032%
$204,100 – $510,300$408,200 – $612,35035%
from $510,300from $612,35037%

Note: The more you earn, the higher the tax rate is. In addition , double taxation agreements also apply here to avoid double tax payments.

States with no income tax

If you are considering moving to the cities mentioned below, you will not have to pay any state income ” , just federal taxes :

  • Florida
  • Alaska
  • Nevada
  • Texas
  • South Dakota
  • Washington
  • New Hampshire
  • Tennessee
  • Wyoming

Are you considering moving your residence to the USA? Sirelo explains what you need to pay attention to!

Sales and Use Tax

Unlike in Germany, there is no VAT in the USA and is viewed more as a sales tax for the end consumer (Sales and Use tax ) . The tax is not calculated in the prices as we know it, but rather only when the purchase is made at the checkout.

Here, too, the tax is not uniform across the country , as individual states can determine the amount themselves. However, the tax burden from state and local sales tax rates does not exceed 10% .

Note: There is no sales tax in states such as Delaware, Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon .

Social Security Tax

You are required to pay social security tax in the USA. Accordingly, you have to expect these tax rates :

employers and employees6.2%
Self-employed people12.4%

Municipal tax (C ommunity / City T ax )

Local taxes can be in the form of parking taxes, real estate taxes, consumer goods or inheritance. According to this, it varies from state to state . We therefore recommend that you inform yourself thoroughly in advance.

Tax return (Income Tax Return)

You are required to submit your tax return on April 15th of the following year either online or by post. If you are outside the USA during the period , you have the option to extend the tax . As a rule, it takes 2 months, i.e. your tax return must be submitted to the responsible tax office by June 15th.

Tip: To learn more about the Income Tax Return , read here. You can also download the form as a PDF .

Overall, we advise you to consider a financial advisor who specializes in US taxes.

For more information about working life and the requirements you must meet to get a residence permit in the USA, you can read our pages: “ Working in the USA ” and “ Visa in the USA “.