This year, I did an internship in the US, and during that time I bought some stocks. Now I am back in Germany, and got dividend payments on these stocks, and also want to sell some of them soon. However, I still have to do my taxes for my time in the US. Do I have to declare my profits/losses/dividends in my US taxes or German taxes? Also, I will be in Canada soon. If I sell stocks while I am there, will I have to do a Canadian tax declaration?

The stocks were bought via the app Robinhood if that matters. Also, I am talking about small amounts, about $1000.

  • 2
    Capital gains are typically sourced to the country of your residence. At the time you sold the shares, were you a resident of the US or Germany [Note that being physically present in a place is not automatically the same as being a 'resident' for tax purposes]? Jan 14, 2020 at 14:23
  • So far I havent sold any shares, only got dividends (miniscule amounts, about 1.20$). I plan to sell them soon though. Jan 14, 2020 at 16:25

3 Answers 3


This is a difficult matter for capital gains of only $1000. To answer your question, you need to first understand whether you are a tax resident in Germany and/or in the USA in 2023. You can be a tax resident in several countries in the same year. In that case, you need to pay taxes in all of these countries. For the US and Germany, we have a double taxation treaty which is good for you because you do not pay taxes on the same income two times. But you might still need to declare your income in both countries.

I simply don't know if you are considered a tax resident of the US. For sure your employer paid some taxes for your internship (if it was a paid internship), but this does not necessarily mean you are considered a US tax resident.

In Germany you are a tax resident if you have access (=a key) to an apartment. That's the most prominent reason to be a tax resident in Germany. Even if the key is for your parents house (which is in Germany but not owned by you), you would be considered a tax resident of Germany in 2023. If you lived in Germany in 2023 before or after your US internship, chances are high that you are a full tax resident in Germany in 2023.

In Germany 2023, if your earn more than 10.908 Euro you pay taxes on every additional Euro. This includes your capital gains as well as your US internship salary. However, you can earn 1.000 Euro from capital gains which are not taxed (“Sparerfreibetrag 2023”).

But before we go down that road, let's look at your capital gains. Capital gains are:

  1. Interest and Dividends paid to you.
  2. Stock price increases that you realize. That is, you sell the stock to take the profit (or loss). If your Tesla stock doubles but you don't sell it, you have zero taxable capital gains. From your question I understand you only plan to sell in the future? Then you did not realize your capital gains. Of course, realized profits from stock price changes can be offset with realized losses from stock price changes.

Some tax deductions does your broker for you. However, when you have several tax residencies there is a good chance that these deductions are incorrect (i.e., too high or too low). Two more things: First, if you forget to update your tax residency with your broker they will not be able to do the right thing. Second, a German broker will apply German tax rules on Germany tax residents and German non-tax residents. But the German broker will not apply US tax rules to a US tax residents. Of course, this is true vice versa!

So, what can you do?

  1. Try to get rough idea what capital gains and other income you actually have in 2023.
  2. Check your brokers receipts and try to understand what taxes they already deducted, if any.
  3. Consider the 10.900 Euro free of tax in Germany and try to understand if you paid too many taxes on your dividends and if you might get some money back. Probably, the opposite situation – you paid too little taxes - does not apply with your capital gains. But I am not a tax adviser and I do not know the details of your situation.
  4. If you believe you overpaid taxes, decide if you want to take the effort to get your money back by filling the tax returns yourself. Maybe it is not worth the Dollar/Euro amount. However, it is a great learning experience for a young person like yourself. Particular if you plan a career in business/law/engineering or just want an international lifestyle. For Canada, the same applies analogously. After internships in US, Canada, and living in Germany you can tell a lot about the ‘ease of doing business’ in different countries in the world which can be a game changer for you.

Good luck!


If you have your investments in a US brokerage, then they will probably send a form to the IRS each year on your activity.

Since you haven't sold your investments, there are no capital gains to worry about. Just the dividend income. I believe you have to earn at least $400 in dividends for the IRS to even be interested.

The tricky part will be when you sell. If you are an American, then your income pretty anywhere in the world is at least potentially subject to taxation

But if you are living in another country and you cash out, your American brokerage is still going to send that report to the IRS. There may be some threshold where the IRS doesn't care too much, but I don't what that is.

In any case, the IRS is still going to think that the transaction took place in the USA and so should be subject to its taxes. You will have the burden to prove that your situation makes you exempt. I don't know how to do that either.

Next time maybe wait until you get to your permanent residence before investing. It may simplify your life in the long run.

  • There's too much missing from this answer to be trusted; it misses some key information. Jan 16, 2020 at 0:44

Sell the shares, file a 1040 with the IRS and declare it on the equivalent with Germany (just to be safe). Do you have to do that, probably not. So why bother? I doubt you will owe anything for such small amounts/gains anyway in either country and just be done with it.

Incidentally, I wouldn't bother messing around with stocks and other such investments until your life stabilizes and you figure out where you are going to be long-term, just stash away the cash and buy into the market when things become more certain in your life. There's nothing wrong with that.

Or you can try to keep them and file tiny tax returns every year, but that sounds like too much effort really.

Your other option you can choose to have Robinhood issue the stock certificates to you and you can carry them around with you from country to country paying the applicable taxes as you go, not keeping them in any brokerage, and not have them tied to any given country's tax laws. But then you need to make sure that your address is always current with the company that you own, etc. Plus you will have to declare that you have them when you enter a new country. And all of that is probably not worth the hassle, especially for such small amounts. Really I think you should just sell them before the end of the year and be done for a bit.

  • I'm not sure there is any piece of this answer which is correct; it is largely conjecture, much of which seems ill-informed [such as the suggestion that taxation of capital gains on stock is based on whether you hold a paper certificate or hold it through digital brokerage]. Including advice to simply report in both countries 'because why not' seems particularly troublesome. Apr 29, 2022 at 14:25

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