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Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Old Nov 5th 2015, 5:29 pm
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Default Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Hi. I'm in the process of finalising a move to Mountain View, CA between Xmas and New Year. My family are all UK citizens and will be travelling on an E2 visa.

My new employer has provided me with a generous relocation budget but I need to incur the costs first and then claim them back.

I think I've got the major things covered but would really welcome any further advice to help us off to a smooth start.

House
We intend to do an Airbnb for a couple of weeks to start and then rent for the 1st year or so. We'll shortlist some properties via pad mapper or Zillow and schedule viewing during our 1st couple of days in the US with a view of moving in wishing 2 weeks - Is this realistic?

Bank
We currently bank in the UK with HSBC, and am in the process of opening a checking account with HSBC US.

Car
Will arrange a short term rental (Dollar, Hertz, etc) for the 1st couple of weeks with a view of leasing a car via Autosource or via a local dealer. How tricky is the lack of US credit history likely to be in leasing a $50-60k car? (+ a cheap one for the mrs!)

Car Insurance
Having driven a company car in the UK for many years I do not have any co claims bonus. Any suggestions for getting reasonable car insurance in the US?

I'm sure there are lots of things I haven't considered yet , thanks for any advice

Mark
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Old Nov 5th 2015, 5:44 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Your UK driving history means nothing over here, so budget $1K per 6 months as a ball park for your car insurance. Only time to build up US credit history and driving history will help.

The Wiki, up top, has a lot of good info about relocating which should help.

Certainly budget a fair bit for deposits on all your utilities.

Finding a rental, as long as you've got the deposit and probably offer more than asking as you don't have credit history, getting a place shouldn't be to hard, you apply, you get accepted or not, then you pay up and move in whenever you want but don't expect folks to hold a place till you're ready unless you're signed up and paying rent.
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Old Nov 5th 2015, 7:24 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Originally Posted by Markg5150 View Post
Hi. I'm in the process of finalising a move to Mountain View, CA between Xmas and New Year. My family are all UK citizens and will be travelling on an E2 visa.

My new employer has provided me with a generous relocation budget but I need to incur the costs first and then claim them back.

I think I've got the major things covered but would really welcome any further advice to help us off to a smooth start.

House
We intend to do an Airbnb for a couple of weeks to start and then rent for the 1st year or so. We'll shortlist some properties via pad mapper or Zillow and schedule viewing during our 1st couple of days in the US with a view of moving in wishing 2 weeks - Is this realistic?

Bank
We currently bank in the UK with HSBC, and am in the process of opening a checking account with HSBC US.

Car
Will arrange a short term rental (Dollar, Hertz, etc) for the 1st couple of weeks with a view of leasing a car via Autosource or via a local dealer. How tricky is the lack of US credit history likely to be in leasing a $50-60k car? (+ a cheap one for the mrs!)

Car Insurance
Having driven a company car in the UK for many years I do not have any co claims bonus. Any suggestions for getting reasonable car insurance in the US?

I'm sure there are lots of things I haven't considered yet , thanks for any advice

Mark
Houses go very quickly here, although it may be a bit slower at that time of year. Expect to view something with 10+ other people, and if you want it, you'll need to get your application in that day. I found it easiest to go prepared, complete an application form before you go view, and take proof of your employment with salary, and an Experian UK credit report with you, along with a copy of your last 6 months' bank statements. You'll need to explain that you've just moved to the US and have no US credit history. In my experience, most people will accept that along with the back-up paperwork you are providing. Moving in within 2 weeks is definitely possible, most places are viewed empty, in some cases you can move in as soon as all the paperwork is complete.

We found VW and Audi have an International lease scheme, they'll only do a deal over the length of your visa though. There are lots of threads on car purchases/leases and insurances on here.

When you get here, open a bank account with a US bank. HSBC is shit, and only have one branch in this area.

I live in Mountain View also, it's a fantastic place. Let me know if you have any questions on the area.

Nicky
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Old Nov 5th 2015, 7:39 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Financial stuff - get rid of any UK funds-based investments outside of pensions, as the US tax and reporting requirements are too onerous.

Move any pensions you might want to, as you won't be able to open new accounts once here (we've got a couple stuck in useless zombie companies, but can't do a thing about it now and just have to leave the money sitting there not growing much for two decades).
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Old Nov 5th 2015, 7:40 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Useful stuff, thanks
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Old Nov 5th 2015, 7:42 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

As I would say to anyone moving to the US: make sure you don't hold any assets or investments outside the US that will cause problems when you become liable to US tax on your worldwide income.
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Old Nov 5th 2015, 9:57 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
When you get here, open a bank account with a US bank. HSBC is shit, and only have one branch in this area.
HSBC is inconvenient on the west coast, but they can also be handy for a quicker start - especially if you can get a credit card (Premier or otherwise). It may well be worth going with them, but then open a local account ASAP.

I finally gave up after four+ years when I needed to deposit a large check, couldn't do it with their mobile app and the closest branch OR ATM is an hour's drive away! Now a proud member of San Diego County Credit Union - figured I might as well go fully native.
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Old Nov 5th 2015, 10:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Originally Posted by FinnDiego View Post
HSBC is inconvenient on the west coast, but they can also be handy for a quicker start - especially if you can get a credit card (Premier or otherwise). It may well be worth going with them, but then open a local account ASAP.

I finally gave up after four+ years when I needed to deposit a large check, couldn't do it with their mobile app and the closest branch OR ATM is an hour's drive away! Now a proud member of San Diego County Credit Union - figured I might as well go fully native.
An easy start was in my mind. It does look like there's an hsbc branch in mountain view ...
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Old Nov 6th 2015, 12:22 am
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

As you are probably aware, any relocation payments that your employer makes to you are taxable. You can, however, use some of your moving related expenses as deductions when you file your tax returns.

I'm not 100% certain about this but I think that it will make your life a lot simpler if, to the extent that it is possible, you make sure that any moving expenses that you want to claim as deductions are incurred on or after January 1, 2016 since I am not sure that expenses incurred in 2015 (a year in which I assume you will have no US tax liability) can be "carried forward" and used as a deduction against your 2016 income (which will include your relocation package).
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Old Nov 6th 2015, 2:40 am
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
As you are probably aware, any relocation payments that your employer makes to you are taxable. You can, however, use some of your moving related expenses as deductions when you file your tax returns.

I'm not 100% certain about this but I think that it will make your life a lot simpler if, to the extent that it is possible, you make sure that any moving expenses that you want to claim as deductions are incurred on or after January 1, 2016 since I am not sure that expenses incurred in 2015 (a year in which I assume you will have no US tax liability) can be "carried forward" and used as a deduction against your 2016 income (which will include your relocation package).
Is it usually complicated, though? When we moved over, things like the removals were paid direct and we never saw a bill; flights and accommodation we paid for, then claimed as dollar-for-dollar expenses. The only thing that was taxable was the Miscellaneous Relocarion Allowance of some thousands, and that was grossed up for tax and paid like a bonus, taxable at source and appearing on the W-2. We had tax prep done for us that first year, and I don't remember anything about tax deductible moving expenses.
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Old Nov 6th 2015, 2:43 am
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Originally Posted by Markg5150 View Post
An easy start was in my mind. It does look like there's an hsbc branch in mountain view ...
This completely works, especially if they'll give you a credit card; this is a massive credit history time saver.

We did exactly this, so we had the HSBC account/ checkbook for pre-moving and immediate expenses, then opened a local account a week or two after we arrived (Chase, because they were right on the doorstep, and doing a $125 bung if you set up a checking account with a salary deposit).
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Old Nov 6th 2015, 2:57 am
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Originally Posted by kodokan View Post
Is it usually complicated, though? When we moved over, things like the removals were paid direct and we never saw a bill; flights and accommodation we paid for, then claimed as dollar-for-dollar expenses. The only thing that was taxable was the Miscellaneous Relocarion Allowance of some thousands, and that was grossed up for tax and paid like a bonus, taxable at source and appearing on the W-2. We had tax prep done for us that first year, and I don't remember anything about tax deductible moving expenses.
Well, if everything is done for you, the taxes are grossed up and you are provided with tax preparation serviced for the first year then, no, it really shouldn't be complicated at all.

It sounds like the OP does not have quite the same deal that you had since he is going to end up paying for things and then claiming them back from his company. He didn't mention whether his employer was going to gross up his relocation budget to offset the tax liability. As for moving expenses, yes, some (but not all) moving expenses are deductible for tax purposes.
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Old Nov 6th 2015, 3:19 am
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
It sounds like the OP does not have quite the same deal that you had since he is going to end up paying for things and then claiming them back from his company. He didn't mention whether his employer was going to gross up his relocation budget to offset the tax liability. As for moving expenses, yes, some (but not all) moving expenses are deductible for tax purposes.
Am I missing some arcane tax expenses thing there? We relocated this year, from AZ to OH. Our relocation package included things like flights, and a hotel for up to 60 days. We paid these ourselves (LOTS of credit card reward points!), sent in receipts for the exact amount, that amount then turned up in our bank account a week or so later. I don't think there's any tax liability here, is there? It's not income, it's an expenses claim to replace (previously taxed) money that we've had to pay out up front for work purposes. Aren't they different?

I thought the 'deductible moving expenses for a new job' thing was for situations where the employer wasn't paying, so it was a way of at least making it tax-free for the relocator.

Mind you, the OP will only have a few days of tax liability for 2015. Can someone even claim deductions if they're (almost certainly) filing non-resident for that tax year?
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Old Nov 6th 2015, 4:04 am
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Originally Posted by kodokan View Post
Am I missing some arcane tax expenses thing there? We relocated this year, from AZ to OH. Our relocation package included things like flights, and a hotel for up to 60 days. We paid these ourselves (LOTS of credit card reward points!), sent in receipts for the exact amount, that amount then turned up in our bank account a week or so later. I don't think there's any tax liability here, is there? It's not income, it's an expenses claim to replace (previously taxed) money that we've had to pay out up front for work purposes.
It's complicated ...

It isn't clear to me that all of the things for which you were reimbursed would be regarded by the IRS as being legitimate business expenses although it is certainly possible that your employer managed to structure things so that they appeared to be. If none of that money shows up on your W2 then your employer obviously takes the view that these were just reimbursement of business expenses and you should be OK.
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Old Nov 6th 2015, 4:28 am
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Default Re: Moving to Mountain View, CA - what else do I need to do?

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
It's complicated ...

It isn't clear to me that all of the things for which you were reimbursed would be regarded by the IRS as being legitimate business expenses although it is certainly possible that your employer managed to structure things so that they appeared to be. If none of that money shows up on your W2 then your employer obviously takes the view that these were just reimbursement of business expenses and you should be OK.
Isn't it always...

I shall go back to assuming it's all fine and ignorable, unless the IRS tells me otherwise. I've got enough to worry about this year, what with working out how to do returns in two states. Every tax year, something new. Hopefully 2016 won't have relocation, stock options, accidentally overpaying the HSA, or any of the other delightful things I've suddenly had to learn all about.

Last edited by kodokan; Nov 6th 2015 at 4:31 am.
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