‘Treated Like Criminals’: US Troops in Germany Slam Leadership Amid Mounting Tax-Liability Cases

Germany-based US military personnel and their families claim American leadership has left them to fend for themselves as the Kusel-Landstuhl tax office seeks to collect income tax from troops and military civilians unable to prove that they intend to return to the US.

German regional tax collectors with the Kusel-Landstuhl office, which oversees an area near the Ramstein Air Base, recently issued a questionnaire to an undetermined number of individuals and families within the American military community.

Job histories, real estate holdings and names of associates have also been requested by the officials, according to the outlet.

Impacted military personnel and family members have highlighted that, in addition to their hesitation to divulge sensitive information, the regional tax office’s endeavors also come contrary to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which protects personnel from double taxation.

However, the regional tax office has argued that, under its interpretation of the agreement, such protections are not applicable for individuals or families with “special ties” to Germany, including marriage to a German, prolonged military tours, property ownership or sending one’s child to a school in Germany.

To avoid taxation, service members and civilians must prove they have a “willingness to return” to the US, but there are no exact methods to demonstrate that commitment, leaving German officials to evaluate each case separately, Stars and Stripes…

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