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Relocating

Are you considering relocating your federal career - either by your choice or by Uncle Sam? There are practical issues and concerns to think about when deciding whether or not to relocate. Others have done it while still others have not. This forum will allow for all to offer their insight, post their questions, and help each other out.

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Mmmkay  
#1 Posted : Saturday, March 09, 2019 10:26:12 PM(UTC)
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I've accepted a civilian position overseas that offers relocation. I plan on shipping my household goods but don't want to bring everything. Is longterm storage covered in the JTR if you also intend to shop HHG?
USTrans  
#2 Posted : Sunday, March 10, 2019 12:05:22 AM(UTC)
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Is it offering PCS or relocation? They are different.
Mmmkay  
#3 Posted : Sunday, March 10, 2019 6:00:01 AM(UTC)
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It's offering PCS
GWPDA  
#4 Posted : Sunday, March 10, 2019 9:07:02 AM(UTC)
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Is it your first federal position?
Mmmkay  
#5 Posted : Sunday, March 10, 2019 9:40:42 AM(UTC)
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No, I am a current Federal employee
USTrans  
#6 Posted : Sunday, March 10, 2019 10:17:46 AM(UTC)
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Since PCS is authorized, yes, "long term storage", which is commonly referred to as Non-Temporary Storage or Non Temp Storage or NTS. You would normally be authorized HHG, a Unaccompanied Baggage shipment, a NTS and one car. Of course, its all about what your orders say. I am currently overseas and I sent one email to HR with about 20+ questions asking specifically about my particular situation. Keep in mind how the tax law affects you and your PCS entitlements. Good luck.
Mmmkay  
#7 Posted : Sunday, March 10, 2019 11:51:42 AM(UTC)
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Thanks for the feedback!

I've been trying to figure out how much I'd have to pay in taxes based on a total move of hhg, storage and vehicle shipment. Anyone have a general ballpark number?

Surely that figure doesn't rival the financial benefits of various years of paid housing....
FS0201  
#8 Posted : Sunday, March 10, 2019 12:06:54 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Mmmkay Go to Quoted Post
Thanks for the feedback!

I've been trying to figure out how much I'd have to pay in taxes based on a total move of hhg, storage and vehicle shipment. Anyone have a general ballpark number?

Surely that figure doesn't rival the financial benefits of various years of paid housing....


I paid 1100+ in taxes on my way back. I didn’t bring a car back, and had less than 5k lbs of HHG, so depending on what you have, you’d likely pay more.

It was a shock to get bill from DFAS, but having not paid rent for 3 years made it less so.
The excuse of, "I read it on FederalSoup..." won't work. Please do your due diligence.
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Al329 on 3/11/2019(UTC)
Mmmkay  
#9 Posted : Sunday, March 10, 2019 1:01:58 PM(UTC)
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That doesn't sound too bad. I was afraid it would be so high that it would negate the financial benefits of working oconus.
Mmmkay  
#10 Posted : Sunday, March 10, 2019 1:04:57 PM(UTC)
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That doesn't sound too bad. I was afraid it would be so high that it would negate the financial benefits of working oconus.
RVRGRL  
#11 Posted : Sunday, March 10, 2019 11:11:41 PM(UTC)
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Taxes on PCS payments are now taken out when they reimburse you (as of 1 Oct 18). I haven't seen the cost for HHG yet, probably won't until next tax season but I've adjusted my tax with-holdings to account for an estimate. However, on my costs associated from PCS travel (flights, per diem during travel) what I was reimbursed still more than paid back my credit card.

Also, TQSA is not taxed. Only TQSE, which is stateside lodging and meals on the return PCS. Which is good, since my TQSA in Germany ended up being over 20K.

What's most difficult is ensuring you have enough for the deposit and first months rent for your rental apt/house, and something for a car--whether buying or trying to rent one until your shipped car arrives. PCS costs don't include a rental car. I'm not sure where you're going, but if you're coming to Germany, find a place that offers a free 'rental' car. So worth it.

Take the TQSA advance. Avoid pay advance it you can help it. Once you're settled, being overseas is worth it--but it can be a rough few months if you aren't prepared.

Edited by user Sunday, March 10, 2019 11:13:33 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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JDSIII on 3/11/2019(UTC)
FatHappyCat  
#12 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 2:04:23 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: RVRGRL Go to Quoted Post


Take the TQSA advance. Avoid pay advance it you can help it. Once you're settled, being overseas is worth it--but it can be a rough few months if you aren't prepared.


Agreed with almost all of RVRGRL's post except for the above. There's absolutely no reason, unless you royally suck with $$$, for you not to take as much advance pay as possible; it is basically an interest-free loan paid back over a year. Consider if people were allowed to choose to take their whole pay up front for 3 months, with no penalties or interest, or every 2 weeks, I'd venture most people would take up front.

As for figuring out how much tax you would owe, the big consideration you need to consider is where you are in the tax bracket. Remember, it's not technically a tax on the amount of your PCS, but income added to the total you make. Most of us are in the 25%, so if you use the entire amount listed (which most people never do) it would be 25% of that amount that would be due. Some people may be in a lower bracket because of deductions or having 10 kids, so they may pay less even though the amount is exactly the same.

Financially, you are almost always better off overseas unless you're in the high-GS13/14/15 range in a high locality area.
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Al329 on 3/11/2019(UTC)
RVRGRL  
#13 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 3:28:49 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: FatHappyCat Go to Quoted Post
There's absolutely no reason, unless you royally suck with $$$, for you not to take as much advance pay as possible; it is basically an interest-free loan paid back over a year. Consider if people were allowed to choose to take their whole pay up front for 3 months, with no penalties or interest, or every 2 weeks, I'd venture most people would take up front.



I guess we will agree to disagree in regards to advanced pay. TQSA advance, yes very much needed. Pay advance, I still say to avoid if possible. It's not about the ability to budget, but more about how much do you want to take out of your check each pay period that you could be using for fun/travel/paying upfront for medical, even savings. Just because it's a tax free loan doesn't make it right for everyone. If you can save enough prior to going overseas, IMHO, you're more flexible and less stressed when it comes to reimbursement delays (and there's almost always some delays), and overall better off financially.
Al329  
#14 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 4:24:39 AM(UTC)
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Just read a pdf from DFAS on the new taxes for PCS. They did have 5 example claims...kinda disappointed to see only one example was from CONUS to OCONUS .. and was a GS14 .. um ok thanks for that.

I second the advanced pay. As stated its a free loan. You will may need a very large deposit on a rental. You may need a large payment to a rental agent to find you a place. Yes I understand base housing should find you one ... I say should. So yeah a lot of up front expenses you can incur.

As for the NTS .. I'll tell you my experience. Each year a letter would come saying payment was late for the storage. Needless to say kinda scary when you see shows like storage wars... selling off all your stuff! And each year I had to email CAPC and ask you gonna pay this? Yes they paid...always late. So once back in the States I have my stuff I haven't seen in 7 years delivered. Side note .. don't bother making the same mistake I did...some things just don't keep.. that nice new appliance.. haven't seen it in seven years...its out of date now! haha But worse part. ALL the stuff was damaged! When they took my storage away.. they crated it all up. Ok that's normal. Funny when it was delivered... was all lose on a truck. So much for the crate with the bands?!? Like I said.. ALL damaged. The storage place took my "new" fridge out and used it! Came banged up and dirty inside! Grill .. used.. broken! I called to complain...no one cares. File claim and get paid. Ok .. so you get pennies in the dollar for what they damaged....thanks.

My advice is, sell off what you can...or take it all with you...or store it yourself. Don't let the lowest bidder take care of anything you value.

Side note .. I wouldn't ship a car again. Why ship a crappy American spec car to Germany...pick up one there built for the roads ;)

Edited by user Monday, March 11, 2019 4:29:49 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

DaVinci95  
#15 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 5:24:10 AM(UTC)
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When I PCSed to Okinawa in 2012, we were about $15K out of pocket (rent & deposit, utility deposits, 1 week rental car, down payment on 2 used cars, etc.) before we started getting reimbursed. Unless you have enough in the bank to cover that, I'd recommend the pay advance.

I'd also recommend purging before putting things into storage. When we moved back CONUS, we ended up giving or throwing away most of the stuff we had put into storage. Some of that was due to moving from a house to a condo (bye-bye lawnmower!), but we'd been living just fine without this stuff for 4 years and didn't have any need for it, other than some furniture and a few keepsakes.
Mmmkay  
#16 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 5:30:36 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: RVRGRL Go to Quoted Post


What's most difficult is ensuring you have enough for the deposit and first months rent for your rental apt/house, and something for a car--whether buying or trying to rent one until your shipped car arrives. PCS costs don't include a rental car. I'm not sure where you're going, but if you're coming to Germany, find a place that offers a free 'rental' car. So worth it.



It will be Germany, Stuttgart.

Could you kindly explain what you mean by finding a place that offers a free rental car?
Mmmkay  
#17 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 5:33:47 AM(UTC)
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I've heard that with a PCS you also can get reimbursed for closing costs associated with selling your home.

Is this true? Anybody have experience with this?
RVRGRL  
#18 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 6:11:33 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Mmmkay Go to Quoted Post


It will be Germany, Stuttgart.

Could you kindly explain what you mean by finding a place that offers a free rental car?


Some TLA owners have gotten wise to the difficulties of personnel PCSing in and lack of affordable rental vehicles (Feasible for a week or so, but not months).

I'm not sure about whether or not Stuttgart's local TLA providers are doing this, but in the KMC area (Kaiserslautern/Ramstein), a couple have gotten into ensuring a higher occupancy rate by having a few cars on hand to loan to occupants. TLA's will most likely advertise that they have loaner cars available.
FatHappyCat  
#19 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 6:28:41 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: Mmmkay Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: RVRGRL Go to Quoted Post


What's most difficult is ensuring you have enough for the deposit and first months rent for your rental apt/house, and something for a car--whether buying or trying to rent one until your shipped car arrives. PCS costs don't include a rental car. I'm not sure where you're going, but if you're coming to Germany, find a place that offers a free 'rental' car. So worth it.



It will be Germany, Stuttgart.

Could you kindly explain what you mean by finding a place that offers a free rental car?


So the TLA places either a - provide a rental car as part of your place or b - deduct the price of the rental from the TLA they will collect from you; usually capped at 25-30 euros.
FatHappyCat  
#20 Posted : Monday, March 11, 2019 6:30:02 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: Mmmkay Go to Quoted Post
I've heard that with a PCS you also can get reimbursed for closing costs associated with selling your home.

Is this true? Anybody have experience with this?


Yes JTR does authorize this charge but is almost never exercised unless you're in super high demand job. The only guy I've seen actually get this was an EOD guy...

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