Individual Financial Matters

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1. Social Security Number – Many transactions with the government require use of a Social Security Number. This includes the reporting of wages earned while working in the United States and filing tax returns. To obtain a U.S. Social Security Number, an individual must be authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to work in the U.S. To see the requirements and process for obtaining a Social Security Number furnished by the Social Security Administration, click here.

2. Lack of Credit - Because expatriates to the U.S. may not have a U.S. employment history, it may be difficult to obtain the credit needed to buy a home or to lease a car. It may be possible for the employer to obtain credit, subsequently leasing the property back to the executive or employee. Keeping in mind there may be tax consequences to this, always consult with an accountant before entering into this type of agreement.

3. Insurance – To operate a vehicle, and for many other purposes, insurance is required. This can be difficult for an expat to obtain. In particular, auto insurance is a challenge because most insurance providers will not recognize a foreign driving record. It may be possible to obtain a letter from a foreign insurance company to help facilitate acquiring a policy in the U.S.

4. Taxes – Taxes in the U.S. can be complicated! There are taxes at every level; Federal, State, and (sometimes) Local. Additionally, there are taxes imposed on the purchase of certain goods and services (sales tax), and the rate and applicability of these can vary by locality. Income taxes at the Federal level are based on worldwide income. Generally, taxes are withheld from your paycheck by your employer to pay your taxes over a period of time, rather than making a large, lump sum payment.

5. Employment “At-Will” – In the U.S., contracts for employment are typically only for senior executives or others with special compensation agreements. Most employment arrangements are “At-Will”, meaning either the employee or employer can decide to terminate the employment without cause.

6. Employee Benefits – Many employers in the U.S. offer various benefits to their employees, such as paid time-off for vacation or illness, and various insurance programs such as health, dental, vision and life insurances. Employers often require employees to contribute to the cost of the insurance programs offered, and the rate of contribution varies from employer to employer. Many employers also offer some type of retirement savings program, which typically includes employee and employer contributions to fund for future retirement needs.


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