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Hi all.
I would appreciate any advice on the info below please.

I have the opportunity to move to CA next year with my job. I am a UK resident, so is my wife and we have 2 small kids <2yold and 2 dogs.

We would be going for up to 3years.
My salary would be around $100k plus the company would pay for rent and a car.

I need to be in the LA region though have no real ties to any one area. Would be good to be<1hr from LAX though.

My wife would not work initially but may look for something after a year or so - she is a primary teacher in the UK.

So now I have set the scene I have a few queries that I hope people can help me with? sorry for all the questions!

1) I pay 40% tax in the UK - is the take home less or more in CA? Do you recommend getting paid in USD or GBP?
2) how much does the fact that I would have my car and home paid for by the company effect the tax I pay?
3) do I need a new driving licence?
4) How much does renting a family car cost? (I drive a BMW 5 series in the UK)
5) areas to live - safe family area top of the list with good links to LAX
6) my company is talking about $3,000/month for a place - we need 4 bedrooms - is that enough?
7) is the cost of utilities (gas/electric) comparable to the UK?
8) does anyone have any recommendations for a relocation broker/advice company?

Thanks in advance.

Steve
 

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Hi all.
I would appreciate any advice on the info below please.

I have the opportunity to move to CA next year with my job. I am a UK resident, so is my wife and we have 2 small kids <2yold and 2 dogs.

We would be going for up to 3years.
My salary would be around $100k plus the company would pay for rent and a car.

I need to be in the LA region though have no real ties to any one area. Would be good to be<1hr from LAX though.

My wife would not work initially but may look for something after a year or so - she is a primary teacher in the UK.

So now I have set the scene I have a few queries that I hope people can help me with? sorry for all the questions!

1) I pay 40% tax in the UK - is the take home less or more in CA? Do you recommend getting paid in USD or GBP?
It's hard to tell from what information you have given. You learn how to work the US tax system after a while and there are lots of deductions and advantages based on "life style" type decisions (like, own or rent your home, participate or not in the retirement savings plan, etc.) If you're only over for a few years, you might want to ask your employer about tax assistance - to prepare the tax returns as well as to equalize your net take home to what you would have gotten had you stayed home.
2) how much does the fact that I would have my car and home paid for by the company effect the tax I pay?
The fair market value of the car and housing provided by the employer is added to your taxable income.
3) do I need a new driving licence?
Yes - usually within 30 days of "taking up residence" in the US - though the test is FAR easier than in the UK.
4) How much does renting a family car cost? (I drive a BMW 5 series in the UK)
I think you're talking about leasing a car - which works out much like purchasing it. If the company will be leasing you a car for business purposes, you might try to organize a second lease through the same company to get a "deal."

I will leave the rest of your questions to someone familiar with the LA area.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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The payments for the car and rent will be included as part of your taxable income (not considered a business expense). They probably will push you into a higher tax bracket, but my hunch is that you'll have more deductions available in CA than in the UK (but I'm not overly familiar with UK tax system). If the company gives you moving money, unless it is directly paying the actual cost, that money will also be included in your taxable income but you can deduct the costs of moving such as airfares, shipping, storage (but not meals or more than one nights accommodation).

Leasing a BMW Series 5 will be around $500 per month, plus some money down, but you may have difficulty without a credit rating. Your company might be able to help you out in that respect. You will need to get a CA drivers licence if here for more than 30 days.

Sorry to say, but $3000 won't cut it for 4 bedrooms, unless you are talking about somewhere further out in the valley or inland, i.e more than an hour from LAX. You should look at the Los Angeles forum on city-data for more specific information on areas and costs. Lots of people post with the same kinds of questions. Keep schools in mind, even though your intention is to return to the UK around the time your kids will start school. You never know how things might turn out and there are big differences in schools in LA.

Will you be working from home? If not, go for the closest decent place to where you have to work. For the sake of your sanity and family harmony, do every single thing you can, including paying more rent, to keep your commute the shortest you possibly can. Ignore that at your peril.

We live in Santa Monica, excellent for families, great schools, great weather, very safe, 5 mins from the beach, 20 mins from LAX, but very expensive compared to the rest of LA. You will be paying upwards of $4000 p.m. for a 3 bedroom house. I'd also look at Venice, West LA, Rancho Park, Cheviot Hills, Culver City. Los Feliz and Silverlake are cool areas, but can be intense living with very young children and probably an hour from LAX. Lots of people like Manhattan and Redondo Beach, not quite my scene, but close to airport and good schools. Look on Westside Rentals as a guest to get an idea of the cost of housing.

Good luck. LA can be a city that is slow to reveal its charms, but I don't know if I could live anywhere else now.
 

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100k salary plus 36 k for housing and 6 k for car lease minus Federal, State (13%) Social Security, Medicare taxes will eat up a good portion even with allowable deductions. Don't know if you will be provided medical insurance or be forced under Obama Care. If you wife does work, then her wages could push you into a higher tax bracket for Federal taxes.
 
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