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Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Old Jan 6th 2016, 2:32 pm
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Default Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Hi,

I will be moving to New York in the next 3 months - hamptons to be exact and here in the UK I'm use to the typical wage deductions so national insurance, tax etc. What can I expect in New York?

Finally I've never learned to drive as I'm based in London it was not necessary and now do not have enough time to pass my driving test. On a work visa can I take my test in the USA - I will be on a 3 year work visa. I intend to first take my theory and motorbike test when I arrive and once I have this licence commence on a driving licence. I'm concerned I will arrive and will not be allowed to take any tests or lessons due to not being a US national!

Thanks!
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Old Jan 6th 2016, 2:37 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Originally Posted by Alexdm50 View Post
Hi,

I will be moving to New York in the next 3 months - hamptons to be exact and here in the UK I'm use to the typical wage deductions so national insurance, tax etc. What can I expect in New York?

Finally I've never learned to drive as I'm based in London it was not necessary and now do not have enough time to pass my driving test. On a work visa can I take my test in the USA - I will be on a 3 year work visa. I intend to first take my theory and motorbike test when I arrive and once I have this licence commence on a driving licence. I'm concerned I will arrive and will not be allowed to take any tests or lessons due to not being a US national!

Thanks!

You can take the test and lessons without being a US national, so you can calm down about that. Lessons are super expensive here though ($90 for 90 minutes being the average) and driving schools are not as stringently vetted as in the UK. The average US driver is bad at driving, so take from that what you will. Check the DMV site out.

Use this site to work out possible deductions ... Salary Paycheck Calculator | Payroll Calculator | Paycheck City

Bear in mind you will also have deductions for health insurance - and it also depends on your filing status (married, married filing separate, single, head of household) and number of dependents etc etc. You can use software like TaxAct and the like to help you out with this for Federal (but not State) returns.

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Old Jan 6th 2016, 3:14 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Deductions from your salary will depend on how much you're being paid, but you will likely lose around 30% to state and federal income taxes and social security (equiv to NI). It could be a little less than 30%, but not much, and it will be more if you're paid more. Even in NY I would be shocked if you lose more than 35% to taxes and SS unless you're raking it in.

Health insurance you have some control over, and if you're generally healthy, or even only moderately healthy, you will likely be best advised to take a "high deductible" policy, though you will have to meet your own healthcare costs up to the amount of the deductible - but there is usually a significant deductible even on "regular" policies, and if you don't exceed even the lower deductible any money you have paid for regular insurance over and above the (lower) cost of a high deductible policy, is totally wasted.

Regarding driving, you might want to look into a crash course (lots of lessons) in the UK (in an automatic if you can find an instructor with one as most cars in the US are automatic and pretty much everyone takes their test in an auto), that should help you get going, with just a few lessons in the US needed to prep you for the test.

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Old Jan 6th 2016, 3:40 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Which part of the Hamptons? I visit East often and much prefer it to NYC although it can get very quiet in the Winter, and it's expensive.

If you are moving in 3 months then you have plenty of time to get a licence in the UK. I was in a similar situation, and passed within 5 weeks with about 25 hours of lessons with no prior experience, and drove in the US a week later. In US everyone drives automatic so its better to get your full manual licence in the UK so you can drive both in the future if needed.
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Old Jan 6th 2016, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

If you work/commute in the city you may be liable to pay city taxes as well as federal and state.

I don't recall exactly but I think NY has a mandatory class you have to take before the driving test.
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Old Jan 6th 2016, 4:00 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post

Regarding driving, you might want to look into a crash course (lots of lessons) in the UK
Bazinga!
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Old Jan 6th 2016, 4:00 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Originally Posted by Alexdm50 View Post
I intend to first take my theory and motorbike test when I arrive and once I have this licence commence on a driving licence.
Do you already have a UK motorbike license? Check with the state but you are probably legal to ride a bike in the US for a short period on a UK license.
I found the US Motorbike test a lot harder than the driving one (at least in California - NY may be different).

The driving test was a real doddle compared to the UK one, but the motorbike test was actually pretty difficult. (Although that may be just that I had a lot of experience driving in the UK but relatively little on a motorbike).

Also I never had any issue with driving on right hand side of the road, but on the bike it never felt natural - I was always having to think about where I should be positioned in the lane at junctions etc.
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Old Jan 6th 2016, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Originally Posted by sir_eccles View Post
.... I think NY has a mandatory class you have to take before the driving test.
Yup, 5 hours of "classroom education" one Saturday, spent with a bunch of speeders and other minor violators doing their penance in lieu of points on their licence, listening to a talk about the benefits of wearing a seat belt and not drinking and driving. About half of the people in my class seemed to have a limited grasp of English.

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Old Jan 6th 2016, 5:07 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Not having a license from the UK, you'll probably have to do the drivers ed over here and get how ever many hours driving time done before being allowed to take the actual road test. Each state is different so I don't know what that would be for NY, but it's x number of hours and 30 days from the learners permit and actual road test, plus to practice, the "sponsor" driver has to have had the state license 3 years and be over 21.

Most folks on BE, who have a UK license can just do the theory permit test and then go straight into the road test.

Motorbike, might be worth holding off till the spring. No one really rides a bike in New England during winter as the roads/driving is bad enough in the summer without adding to the winter conditions.
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Old Jan 6th 2016, 5:12 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Not having a license from the UK, you'll probably have to do the drivers ed over here and get how ever many hours driving time done before being allowed to take the actual road test. Each state is different so I don't know what that would be for NY, but it's x number of hours and 30 days from the learners permit and actual road test, plus to practice, the "sponsor" driver has to have had the state license 3 years and be over 21.

Most folks on BE, who have a UK license can just do the theory permit test and then go straight into the road test.

Motorbike, might be worth holding off till the spring. No one really rides a bike in New England during winter as the roads/driving is bad enough in the summer without adding to the winter conditions.
In NY/NYS, if he is over 21 (past college age), he won't have to do any lessons beforehand, just pass the written exam, attend the pre-licensing bit then pass the practical. I don't advise this however for a completely green driver.

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http://dmv.ny.gov/brochure/mv21.pdf

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Old Jan 7th 2016, 12:11 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

I never learnt to drive in the UK but did in NYS, the year before last. It was very straightforward.

1) Go to the DMV to get a learner's permit. To do this you need to
a) Pass a sight test (read a line from an optician's chart behind the DMV clerk's head)
b) Pass a written theory test - you do this at the DMV. This is a multiple-choice test and is pretty easy so long as you download the NYS Driver's Handbook from the DMV website and take a bit of time to mug it up.
c) Prove your identity and status in the US. This is going to be the most difficult bit most likely as the DMV's evidence requirements are quite involved (they're on the DMV site).
One thing is that for a new applicant the NYS DMV requires sight of your Social Security Card - you can't just quote your SSN. This means you won't be able to get a learner's permit until you have your actual SS Card, which will take a few weeks to come through once you've applied for an SSN.

You'll get a temporary permit on the day at the DMV and a plastic card will come in the mail a couple of weeks later. Your permit, and any full licence you get later, may be limited in validity to the date your status in the US expires.

2) Your learner's permit will allow you to take driving lessons. The restrictions are broadly similar to the UK in that you need to be supervised by a fully-licenced driver and there are certain classes of road you can't drive on. No L-Plates though.

3) At some point before taking your road test you will also need to attend the five-hour pre-licensing course mentioned above. If you're using a regular driving school for your lessons, they'll almost certainly be able to arrange this. If memory recalls, the certificate of attendance you get from this lasts six to twelve months and you have to bring it to the road test.

4) Finally take your road test, which will be absurdly easy and the biggest anti-climax ever. If you're using a driving school, it may be easiest to hire your instructor to accompany you to your test and use their car as it will have the necessary insurance.

Two things to note: you are still required to be supervised on your way to the test and you are not allowed to drive in the test area (which is a designated set of public roads) until the examiner tells you to begin the test - in fact my instructor told me not to even touch the wheel, let alone turn on the ignition, until the examiner said to begin.

But I was able to pass the test after about three months lessons, in my forties with no previous driving experience at all, so I'm sure you'll be fine.

Last edited by rpjs; Jan 7th 2016 at 12:14 pm.
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Old Jan 7th 2016, 12:24 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Answering your other question about deductions, I agree that you should allow about 35%. My take home pay after all tax, health premiums, 401k, commuter etc has been deducted is almost exactly 65% of gross.

Working out how much tax to withhold (it is not done for you like PAYE) is a dark art. Like many Americans, we've decided it's easiest not to take any deductions when filing the W-2 but allow for maximum withholding (for instance I withhold at the single rate rather than married) and then get a refund at tax time. Many people on this board will tell you that's dumb and that we're giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan over the year and I will not say they're wrong, but when we did try to work out an amount to withhold we almost always under-withheld and ended up having to cut checks to Messers Obama and Cuomo every year so we decided to suck it up.

If you'll be working in the city and commuting in from the Hamptons (which I would not recommend - my sister-in-law did that for a year and it nearly killed her) then you don't have to pay any city tax as you won't be resident in NYC and there is no commuter tax for individuals (employers pay a city payroll tax but that's transparent to you as an employee). There used to be a commuter tax and some city pols talk about resurrecting it every now and again, but I don't think there's much chance of that happening.
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Old Jan 7th 2016, 12:31 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Hi everybody.

Thanks for the responses first of all. So I will be based out of the east hamptons and I'm 28 years old. Some great responses but the best option I see is:

- take some manual lessons over here
- arrive and apply for pre drivers licence (how do I do this?)
- take some more driving lessons at the hamptons driving school.
- take the drivers test

I'm really excited to arrive and get started its just all these small things as I process the visa and crazy thoughts. Taxes and driving lessons are just the beginning!!!

Thanks!!!
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Old Jan 7th 2016, 12:41 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

Originally Posted by Alexdm50 View Post
Hi everybody.

Thanks for the responses first of all. So I will be based out of the east hamptons and I'm 28 years old. Some great responses but the best option I see is:

- take some manual lessons over here
Optional but not necessary - most cars in the US are automatic and most Americans never learn how to drive manual. It will be useful if you plan on returning to the UK and continuing to drive there though. If you want to keep up manual lessons in the US you may need to seek out a school that offers that.

- arrive and apply for pre drivers licence (how do I do this?)
See my post above! I think I've covered everything you need to know about getting an NYS learner's permit. Just be aware you'll need to have your Social Security Card in hand to get a permit from the DMV which might be a few weeks after you arrive.

- take some more driving lessons at the hamptons driving school.
- take the drivers test

I'm really excited to arrive and get started its just all these small things as I process the visa and crazy thoughts. Taxes and driving lessons are just the beginning!!!

Thanks!!!
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Old Jan 7th 2016, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: Wage deductions and driving in USA - new Visa

I meant automatic not manual sorry.

I can either take a number of lessons here in the U.K. - then arrive get my licence and book my test or just start learning in the hamptons I figure with about 20 lessons I can pass in the USA. My concern is is it really beneficial to take a crash course in lessons here in London when road rules are completely different! Thankyou all.
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