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I'm an EU citizen living in Berlin, and my partner is visiting me in a few months. He wanted to stay for the full three months (as tourist) due to my depression. However, my partner only has one month of vacation, meaning he would have to work remotely for the last two months while in Berlin.

He is an Argentinean full-time programmer in a non-EU company, so technically it is feasible, but would that work legally? The problem I can see is regarding taxation, but we wanted to know if there is any way to make it work.

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De jure there are dozens of complex laws and regulations regarding remote employment, under which you may or may not need a special visa in order to work in a given country. Tax laws are an additional complication, where countries such as the UK can deem you as a tax resident for spending as little as 16 days on British soil.

De facto, as long as you don't mention your remote job to immigration personnel at the airport, there's a 99.99% chance no one will ever find out. There are millions of people breaking the law by being employed at on-site jobs in any given country, so digital nomads are a pretty low priority for law enforcement. People do this all the time in Germany and other nations, so your partner can relax and enjoy their "work vacation".

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    Agreed. Even if there's a perfectly legal route, in practice it's much less hassle for everyone involved to simply shut up about it, and with very high likelihood nothing will come of it.
    – deceze
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 0:21
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I cannot see any rules by which your partner would become taxable in Germany in this situation.

The primary rule which applies here is: If you stay less than 183 days in Germany within either 12 months or a calendar year (this depends, but he will not reach either threshold) and you receive your salary from your "home" employer (which I understand is the case) you are not taxable in Germany.

As long as he sorts his visa I also cannot see anyone asking.

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  • EStG section 49(1)(4)(a) says, according to Google Translate: "(1) Domestic income within the meaning of the limited income tax liability (§ 1 paragraph 4). 4. Income from employment (§ 19), which a) is or has been exercised or exploited domestically," Does that not include income from work he performs while in Germany? The law does not say anything about where the employer is located.
    – user102008
    Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 1:54
  • Your partner needs a visa that allows him to work while in Germany. You can't work in Germany (or in most countries for that matter) with a tourist visa. And if your partner plans to stay for three months, someone might want to see evidence that they can afford it without working. On the other hand, after two months you are not a tax resident, so you don't pay income tax. But you can get thrown out.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 0:46
  • @gnasher729: "you are not a tax resident, so you don't pay income tax" But non-residents are still taxed on Germany-sourced income.
    – user102008
    Commented Oct 1, 2023 at 4:44
  • @gnasher729 Actually, for stays under 90 days, the logic of the Schengen system is a little different, you need a (separate) permission to work next to your Schengen visa. In fact, if you are coming to the Schengen area specifically to work, you need to secure that permission before applying for the visa. There is no separate tourist or work visa for short stays and, in fact, Argentine citizens do not need a visa at all. But the important thing is that you're indeed not allowed to work without a permission.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 16:09

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