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Thursday, May 31, 2012

H-1B Cap Might be Reached Soon

USCIS started accepting H-1B petitions subject to the numerical caps starting on April 2, 2012. The number of H-1B petitions submitted subject to the general cap as of May 25 was 48,400 counting toward the 65,000 cap. The number of H-1B petitions subject to the advanced degree cap was 17,500 counting toward the 20,000 cap exemption for individuals with advanced degrees.

At this rate, both H-1B caps could be reached in mid-June. Detailed information is available on USCIS’ H-1B Fiscal Year 2013 Cap Season web page.

(c) Picture:  USCIS  

North Carolina May Face Federal Lawsuit Over Disabilities Investigation

A U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation claims that North Carolina is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The claim is that thousands of North Carolinians with disabilities are being needlessly institutionalized. An agreement could be struck between the state and the DOJ which would allow people with disabilities to receive care in their own home or community when possible.

This agreement raises the concern that the state does not have sufficient funds to provide for such an increase in home care for disabled persons. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) officials plan to provide lawmakers with an exact dollar amount in costs which will be necessary in order to make these changes.

Vicki Smith, the director of Disability Rights North Carolina, the organization who filed this complaint with the DOJ in 2010, believes these changes would bring help to at least 6,000 people in adult care programs. “A lot of people who are living [in] adult care homes now would be able to go back to work, pay their own rent, pay taxes and contribute,” said Smith.

If the state does not take any action this year, the looming threat of a lawsuit may become reality.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Scam Alter for Green Card Lottery

Applicants for the Visa Diversity (DV) program (also known as "Green Card Lottery") are warned by the Department of State, Office of Visa Services of a notable increase in fraudulent emails and letters sent to them.The scammers behind these fraudulent emails and letters are posing as the U.S. government in an attempt to extract payment from DV applicants.

Please note, that as an DV-2012 and DV-2013 applicant you may receive an email from the U.S. government reminding you to check your status online through DV Entrant Status Check.  The U.S. government will never send you a notification letter or email informing you that you are a successful DV entrant

You can only find out if you were selected to continue with DV processing by checking your status online through the DV Entrant Status Check.

Finally, remember that fees for the DV application process are paid to the U.S. Embassy or consulate cashier at the time of your scheduled appointment. The U.S. government will never ask you to send payment in advance by check, money order, or wire transfer.

To prevent scamming, please make yourself familiar with information about Diversity Visa scams and review the rules and procedures for the Diversity Visa Program.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Skechers Agrees to Pay $40 Million in Settlement for Deceptive Sneaker Ads

Although Skechers, USA Inc. is the latest company to backtrack on advertising statements, this scenario isn’t exactly unprecedented. Our blog recently covered a settlement made by Nutella for $3 million after they advertised their spread as being nutritious. In the latest example of deceptive advertising practices, Skechers agreed on May 16, 2012 to pay $40 million to resolve unfounded claims that its “toning shoes” would help consumers lose weight and strengthen their butt, leg and stomach muscles. This line of shoes gained much of its attention after being endorsed by reality-TV star Kim Kardashian in a commercial which aired during the 2011 super bowl.

The Federal Trade Commission challenged several Skechers ads as deceptive, including one in which the company urged consumers to "get in shape without setting foot in a gym." Another ad wrongly claimed that the shoes’ benefits were backed by an independent chiropractor study. In fact, the FTC concluded the study didn't produce the claimed results, and that the chiropractor who conducted the study is married to a Skechers marketing executive.

You would think Skechers might have learned a lesson from Reebok. It was just in September of last year that the FTC settled charges with Reebok International Ltd., a unit of Adidas, for its EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes for $25 million. Other examples of misleading advertising leading to multimillion-dollar settlements include a 2010 case involving Wrigley’s Eclipse gum (it doesn't actually kill bad-breath germs, as the company claimed -- it only masks them) and a 2008 settlement from Airborne (the supplement that didn't actually prevent colds).

The line of “toning shoes” eligible for refunds includes Skechers Shape-Ups, Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-Ups. The FTC says the amount of refunds eligible to consumers who purchased these shoes is unclear and will depend on how many claims are received in the eight-month filing period. Buyers can go to the FTC website to file a claim.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Germany: “Pay-when-paid” clauses in General Contractor GTCs held invalid

In a decision dated November 7th, 2011, the District Court of Saarbrücken (Germany) found a “pay-when-paid” clause within a general terms and conditions contract used by a General Contractor to be invalid (3 O 201/11).

The Court held that, in the sub-contracting arena, there is no good reason to allow a General Contractor to pass the risk of non-payment by his debtors to the sub-contractor.

We now review only the facts and discussion of this case pertinent to our analysis of the future validity of “pay-when-paid” clauses:

Defendant was the General Contractor (“GC”); Plaintiff was a sub-contractor (“Sub”) for heating and sanitary work. Prior to the contractual relationship Plaintiff was provided with the General Terms and Conditions contract (“GTCs”) as well as payment conditions and safety clauses of Defendant. The dispute arose with regard to six invoices as a result of emergency repairs due to a pipe break.* All the work by the Sub was performed according to the professional standards and final invoices were provided to Defendant who in turn delivered said invoices – plus his margin – to his customer. The customer had no complaints with regard to the work performed as described in the disputed invoices.

Most of the outstanding invoices were settled during litigation. Nevertheless, Defendant rejected payment for the remaining invoices by referring to their GTCs. The said GTCs included a “pay-when-paid” clause which allowed that payment of invoices of the Sub would be due and payable five working days after the GC received payment from his customers for the services. Plaintiff argued first that the GTCs were not properly included into the agreement and in the alternative that the “pay-when-paid” clause is invalid because it creates a duplication of payment risk to the detriment of the Sub. The Sub would therefore be at risk not only with regard to the payment and payment ability of the GC but also as to the GC’s customer.

Plaintiff therefore requested payment notwithstanding the “pay-when-paid” clause. Defendant motioned the Court for dismissal of the action, arguing that the clause and the GTCs were a) properly included in the contract and b) cannot be considered unlawful.

Although the Court found, in favor of Defendant GC, that the GTCs were properly included in the contract,** the Court rejected the notion that Defendant GC can successfully rely on the “pay-when-paid” clause within the GTCs. The Court held that this clause is invalid and a deferment of an outstanding claim/payment under this is disproportionate in light of 307 II Nr. 1 BGB (German civil code). The court found further that the clause in dispute inadequately discriminated against the Sub in light of the principal of “utmost good faith”. The court stated that the given “pay-when-paid” clause departs from the basic idea of the respective regulations in the German civil code and cannot be brought in a line with such.

If the GTCs in question together with the “pay-when-paid” clause were permitted, Defendant would be allowed a deferment of payment to the Sub beyond what is provided with regard to the due date of such invoices in the German civil code, section 641 II Nr. 2 BGB. It creates an imbalance insofar as the Sub’s compensation is conditioned not upon the quality of his work or proper performance but instead upon a contract to which the Sub is not a party. Moreover, the clause does not contain a provision in the case that the customer of the GC delays payment for an indefinite time, nor does it contain a provision permitting the Sub to request the GC to take any action against his customer in the case of delayed or non-payment. The Court did not see that modification of the clause was possible to the extent that would be legally acceptable under § 305 of the German Civil Code. Thus, the Court states that such indefinite and undue deferment is a fundamental deviation from the legal provisions of the German civil code (§ 641 II Nr. 2 BGB).***

The Court cited other case law and commentaries in its holding that a “pay-when-paid” clause, when used in GTCs between a GC and a Sub, is in violation of German law and therefore invalid.


The District Court confirms that a “pay-when-paid” clause within the GTCs between a General Contractor and a Sub-contractor is invalid under German law. While an individualized agreement might be considered valid, the prevailing practice in this industry is to use standardized terms, forms and contracts which often qualify as GTCs under German law.

Nevertheless, parties should consider modifying “pay-when-paid” clauses found within their GTCs according to the Court’s findings. In particular, this might include providing deadlines for any deferral of payment and/or providing conditions as to what actions the GC must take toward his customer in the case of deferred or non-payment. 

Author:  Rechtsanwalt Oliver Bolthausen, LL.M (USA), FCIArb (UK) - BrideghouseLaw Munich 
*For the sake of simplicity, we leave aside the fact that one invoice relates to work performed by the Sub without specific and agreed upon GTCs.

**The Court found that the content, circumstances and form of the provisions constitute GTCs within the meaning of section 305 BGB (German civil code).

*** The Court acknowledged Defendant’s argument that a change of due date can be determined by the parties under § 641 II Nr. 2 BGB however only with regard to individualized agreements. If such changes are included in the GTCs, they must comply with § 307 of the German civil code. 

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BridgehouseLaw Munich wins Acquisition International M&A Award

Acquisition International
CONGRATULATIONS to BridgehouseLaw Munich and Oliver Bolthausen for winning the Acquisition International M&A Award Cross Border Dispute Advisory Firm of the Year: Germany.

To learn more about the award, please click here.

„Der gläserne Fluggast?“ – Speicherung und Weitergabe von Fluggastdaten*

Noch in diesem Monat soll das lange umstrittene Abkommen zwischen den USA und der Europäischen Union in Kraft treten. 

Das Europaparlament stimmte im April 2012 einem umstrittenen Abkommen zur Weitergabe von Fluggastdaten zwischen der EU und den USA zu. Dieser Vertrag erlaubt den amerikanischen Behörden den Zugriff auf Informationen über jeden EU-Passagier und die bis zu 15-jährige Speicherung von 19 personenbezogenen Daten von Flugreisenden, die auf einem Transatlantikflug aus den Vereinigten Staaten kommen oder dort einreisen wollen. Zu diesen Daten zählen u. A. Name, Anschrift, Telefonnummer, E-Mail-Adresse, Sitzplatz- und Kreditkartennummer, Anzahl der Gepäckstücke, Menü sowie Sonderwünsche der Passagiere an Bord sowie gegebenenfalls Hotel- und Mietwagenbuchungen.

Zweck dieser Speicherung soll die Bekämpfung von Terrorismus und schwerer Kriminalität sein. Der Vertrag soll eine in 2007 in Kraft getretene vorläufige Vereinbarung ersetzen, welche den USA jetzt unmittelbar Zugriff auf personenbezogene Daten erlaubt. 

Das Europaparlament hat das Flugastdatenabkommen mit den USA abgesegnet. Die europäischen Mitgliedsstaaten hatten dem Fluggastdatenabkommen bereits im Dezember vergangenen Jahres mehrheitlich zugestimmt. Deutschland enthielt sich der Stimme. Aus deutscher Sicht ist das Abkommen zur Weitergabe von Fluggastdaten zwischen der EU und den USA datenschutzrechtlich bedenklich.

Im April 2012 stimmte die Mehrheit der EU-Innenminister für ein ähnliches System für Flüge aus und nach Europa. Der deutsche Innenminister stimmte diesem Mehrheitsbeschluss, Diplomatenangaben zufolge, nicht zu. Passagierinformationen sollen in einer EU-Datenbank fünf Jahre lang gespeichert werden. Nach zwei Jahren werden die Angaben in den Datenbanken jedoch anonymisiert. 

Die Daten sollen zur Verhütung, Aufdeckung und Verfolgung von Terrorismus und schwerer Kriminalität dienen. Ob auch Fluggastdaten innereuropäischer Flüge gespeichert werden, soll den einzelnen Ländern überlassen bleiben. Auch hiergegen äußern Datenschützer Bedenken.

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*Autorin:  Kerstin Kolander - Rechtsreferendarin aus Hagen, die derzeit die Wahlstation bei BridgehouseLaw Atlanta ableistet.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gastonia Eliminates Wage Requirement in Business Incentive Program*

Changes made to Gastonia’s Business Incentive Program are likely to attract more businesses to the area. Previously, city incentives were only available to those businesses who agreed to pay their employees a certain minimum wage. The calculation of this minimum wage benchmark was tied to Gaston County’s median hourly wage of $16.33 and North Carolina’s minimum wage of $7.25. These changes also help to bring the city’s inducements more in line with those offered by Gaston County.

It seems City Council members have now for some time sought to eliminate this wage requirement. In February of this year the Council approved an incentive package for a metal working company that eliminated the wage requirement. This company plans to bring as many as 110 new jobs to Gastonia.

City Council members made these changes with jobs in mind. “The bottom line is we want to make sure our people get jobs, someway, somehow,” said Councilwoman Brenda Craig, during a previous discussion on the issue.

The city’s changes have also removed requirements that dealt with specific job creation, as well as a benefit tied to construction that met Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

These recent changes represent only a few of the many advantages offered by Gastonia to businesses located in the area. To learn more about Gastonia’s economic development incentives click here.

(c) Picture:  Gaston County

*Author:  Lindsey Ogden - a North Carolina native from Campbell Law School who currently interns at BridgehouseLaw Charlotte.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ATTENTION: New BridgehouseLaw Atlanta Address / Neue BridgehouseLaw Atlanta Adresse

The Proscenium
Please note that BridgehouseLaw Atlanta has moved its office from the 17th floor of The Proscenium to the 18th floor. The new address is

Atlanta Rueckel & Bolthausen, LLC 
1170 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 1800 The Proscenium 
Atlanta, Georgia 30309 • U.S.A. 

Bitte beachten Sie, dass sich das Büro von BridgehouseLaw Atlanta Büro nicht mehr im 17. Stock des Proscenium Gebäudes befindet, sondern im 18. Stock. Die neue Adresse lautet

Atlanta Rueckel & Bolthausen, LLC 
1170 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 1800 The Proscenium 
Atlanta, Georgia 30309 • U.S.A.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

US-German Internship Program - Bulletin May 2012

Alabama’s Immigration Law Jeopardizes School Kids

As reported on our Blog in February 2009 Alabama has ongoing problems with his immigration law (HB 56). In September of last year, the state started to enforce the toughest immigration law of the nation. 

It caused several unwanted side effects. Among other things it requires schools to verify the citizenship of students and allows students to be questioned on their immigration status.

Now the U.S. Department of Justice is concerned that Alabama’s immigration law has made schools “less safe and welcoming” for Hispanic students and may have led 13.4% of those students to withdraw from school in the course of several months.That is according to a four-page letter dated May 1 from U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to Alabama school Superintendent Tommy Bice. The letter was made public last week and was first reported by CNN.

Furthermore, according to research conducted by the Department of Justice, Hispanic students absence rates tripled while absence rates of other groups of students remained virtually flat. Additionally, many students reported of being singled out to receive notices or attend assemblies about HB 56, as well as increased anxiety and diminished concentration in school, deteriorating grades and increased hostility, bullying and intimidation.

The problem has bothered the U.S. Department of Justice for a while as it is the department's duty to enforce laws that bar "discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin," and requires that "affirmative measures" be taken to assist students for whom English is not their native language. The withdrawal of many students means that they do not receive the educational services (English as a second language) to which they are legally entitled.

In October 2011, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals already blocked the section of Alabama's immigration requiring schools to track immigration information about new students. The court ruled such measures were not needed.

Whether more sections of Alabama's immigration law will be struck down because of unintended consequences, remains to be seen.

(c) Picture:  Alabama Great Seal

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Visa Interview Waiver Pilot Program

In Zukunft könnte es wieder möglich sein, ein Visum ohne vorausgehendes Interview zu erhalten. Im Januar diesen Jahres wurde ein Pilotprogramm angekündigt, das die US Konsulate und Botschaften gerade umsetzen. Das Programm sieht vor, dass Personen, die ein Nichteinwanderungsvisum beantragen, nicht mehr durch Konsulats-/Botschaftsangestellte interviewt werden, wenn sie bestimmte Voraussetzungen erfüllen.

Diese Massnahme ist eine Rückkehr zu den Standards der Zeit vor dem 11.September 2001. Präsident Obama hofft so, die Tourismus Branche zu stärken und Einreisebarrieren abzubauen.

Ob das Interview entfällt ist jedoch von einer Vielzahl von Kriterien abhängig. Voraussetzung ist, das bereits zuvor ein Visum der selben Kategorie erteilt worden ist. Das heisst das Interview entfällt nur dann, wenn man bereits ein Visum einer bestimmten Kategorie hatte und nun ein zweites Mal eines der selben Kategorie beantragen möchte. Zudem darf das zuvor erteilte Visum nicht abgelaufen, oder älter als 4 Jahre sein (48 Monate).

Wurde ein Visum vorher verweigert, findet die neuen Vorschrift keine Anwendung. Erfüllt man alle Kriterien, steht es im Ermessen des Konsulats-/Botschaftsangestellten ob er ein Interview durchführt oder nicht. Es gibt keine Garantie, das das Interview tatsächlich entfällt.

Zudem ist die Vorschrift bis jetzt auf bestimmte Länder wie Russland, China, Brasilien und Indien beschränkt. Der Anwendungsbereich der neuen Vorschrift ist somit eng begrenzt.


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

North Carolina Voters Decide: No Gay Marriage / North Carolina Wähler haben entschieden: keine Ehe unter Gleichgeschlechtlichen

Amendment One was approved yesterday by a majority of 61,08% of the North Carolina voters.

The Amendment adds a new section to the North Carolina Constitution. Art 14 now reads "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State."

This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.

The Amendment strengthens North Carolinas Conservative view. Gay marriage had already been illegal, now it is unconstitutional.

More information on this hot button issue can be found here.

North Carolinas Wähler haben gestern Stellung gegen die Ehe unter Gleichgeschlechtlichen bezogen.

Obwohl die Ehe unter Partner gleichen Geschlechts bereits illegal war, wird nun in North Carolina festgeschrieben, dass sie auch gegen die Verfassung von North Carolina verstößt. 61,08 % der Wähler stimmten für das Amendment One, den Paragrafen der das Verbot in die Verfassung inkorporiert.

North Carolina bleibt damit ein konservativer Staat. Damit stehen nun 8 Staaten die die Ehe unter Partner gleichen Geschlechts erlauben 31 Staaten gegenüber, die die Ehe unter Gleichgeschlechtlichen als verfassungswidrig erklären.

Klicken Sie hier für weitere Informationen zu dem stark umstrittenen Thema. 


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

UPDATE: FY 2013 H-1B Cap Count

FY 2013 H-1B Cap Count

Cap Type Cap Amount Cap Eligible Petitions  Date of Last Count
H-1B Regular Cap 65,000 32,50005/04/2012
H-1B Master’s Degree Exemption 20,00013,70005/04/2012

(c) PictureUSCIS

Monday, May 07, 2012

Übernahmeverhandlungen bei Coca Cola?*

Ende April waren Gerüchte aufgekommen, dass der weltweit grösste Getränkehersteller, Coca Cola aus Atlanta (Georgia), in Übernahmeverhandlungen mit Monster Beverages, dem Hersteller von Energydrinks wie Red Bull, steht. Dies wäre die grösste Übernahme in der Geschichte von Coca Cola geworden.

Coca Cola und Monster Beverages hatten, wie aus gut informierten Kreisen zu hören war, über eine Akquisition gesprochen. Daraufhin war die Aktie von Monster Beverages in die Höhe geschossen. Letzten Montag dann war Coca Cola aus den Verhandlungen ausgestiegen, wobei seitens Coca Cola dementiert wurde, das es am steigenden Kurswert lag.

Coca Cola arbeitet bereits mit Monster Beverages zusammen und vertreibt für das Unternehmen einige Getränke, so dass das Interesse an einer Übernahme am Ende gefehlt haben könnte. Trotzdem versucht Coca Cola seit einiger Zeit sein Portfolio im Bereich Energydrinks zu stärken. Zwar produziert das Unternehmen einen eigenen Energydrink, der ist jedoch längst nicht so erfolgreich wie das Konkurrenzprodukt Red Bull. Coca Colas CEO Muthar Kent erklärte erst vor kurzem, das man deshalb nach ergänzenden Zukäufen Ausschau halte.

Monster Beverages war in der Vergangenheit immer wieder als lukratives Übernahmeobjekt gehandelt worden. So hatten bereits Pepsi und asiatische Getränkehersteller eine Übernahme geprüft.

Doch Monster Beverages bleibt zu teuer. Mit einem Aktienkurs im Jahreshoch, einem Jahresumsatz von 1,7 Milliarden Dollar und einem Gewinn von 286 Millionen Dollar bleibt das Unternehmen unerschwinglich.


*Autorin:  Carolin Wagner von der Bucerius Law School in Hamburg - Legal Intern bei BridgehouseLaw Charlotte

Friday, May 04, 2012

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)*


1. Was ist FATCA?
Der Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, kurz „FATCA”, ist in 2010 als Teil des US-Gesetzes HIRE Act in Kraft getreten.Die stufenweise Umsetzung durch US-Behörden und Finanzinstitute ist bis Anfang 2013 abzuschließen.

2. Ziel
Ziel ist die Erfassung von Vermögenswerten US-steuerpflichtiger Personen und Gesellschaften auf Konten im (US-)Ausland.

3. Inhalt
Alle Finanzinstitute außerhalb der USA („Foreign Financial Institutions /FFIs“) sollen im Rahmen einer vertraglichen Regelung mit der US-Steuerbehörde (IRS) die Konten ihrer Geschäftspartner hinsichtlich einer möglichen Steuerpflicht in den USA überprüfen und die Daten (nach vorherigener Zustimmung) melden. Die Nichtteilnahme einer FFI ahndet die IRS mit einem Einbehalt in Höhe von 30% auf alle Zahl­ungen an das FFI, die auf einen US-Vermögenswert zurück­zuführen sind („withholdable payments“).

4. Was ist zu beachten:
a) Falle ich persönlich oder als FFI unter die Regelung?
b) Welchen Rat brauche ich in rechtlicher und steuerlicher Hinsicht?
c) Welche Schritte muss ich einleiten (z. B. Registrierung bei der IRS)?


Am 18. März 2010 trat der „Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” (FATCA) im Rahmen des „Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act“ (Hire Act) in Kraft. Mit FATCA soll die Erfassung von US-steuerpflichtigen Personen und Gesellschaften ermöglicht werden, die im Ausland investieren. Im Rahmen von FATCA wird eine Quellensteuer in Höhe von 30 % auf Zahlungen aus den USA an ausländische Finanzunternehmen und an Unternehmen außerhalb des Finanzbereichs fällig. Die von der Quellensteuer erfassten Zahlungen werden als „withholdable payments“ bezeichnet. Dazu zählen aus US-Quellen stammende Zinsen, Dividenden, Mieten, Gehälter, Renten, Vergütungen und sonstiges Einkommen und Gewinne. Einkünfte aus einer Geschäftstätigkeit in den USA werden nicht erfasst.

Am 18. März 2010 trat der „Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” (FATCA) im Rahmen des „Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act“ (Hire Act) in Kraft. Mit FATCA soll die Erfassung von US-steuerpflichtigen Personen und Gesellschaften ermöglicht werden, die im Ausland investieren. Im Rahmen von FATCA wird eine Quellensteuer in Höhe von 30 % auf Zahlungen aus den USA an ausländische Finanzunternehmen und an Unternehmen außerhalb des Finanzbereichs fällig. Die von der Quellensteuer erfassten Zahlungen werden als „withholdable payments“ bezeichnet. Dazu zählen aus US-Quellen stammende Zinsen,Dividenden, Mieten, Gehälter, Renten, Vergütungen und sonstiges Einkommen und Gewinne. Einkünfte aus einer Geschäftstätigkeit in den USA werden nicht erfasst.

1. Wen betrifft FATCA?
FATCA betrifft „Foreign Financial Institutions“ (FFIs), d.h. nichtamerikanische Unternehmen, die das Einlagengeschäft betreiben (Banken), die in erheblichen Umfang Finanzvermögen für Dritte halten (ebenfalls Banken) oder die im Investmentgeschäft tätig sind oder mit Wertpapieren, Anteilen an Personengesellschaften, Commodities oder deren Derivaten handeln (vor allem Investmentgesellschaften und Wertpapierhäuser).

2. Vermeidung der Quellensteuer

Die FFIs können die Quellensteuer vermeiden, wenn sie Informationen über US-amerikanische Personen, die hinter ihnen stehen, offenlegen. Die FFI müssen dazu Verträge mit der US-Steuerbehörde abschließen, in denen der FFI Pflichten bezüglich US-Accounts auferlegt werden. Als US-Accounts gelten reguläre Bankkonten, von Banken eingerichtete Depots und Sammelstellen sowie nicht börsengehandelte Eigenkapital- und Schuldtitel an einer FFI. Der Vertrag mit der US-Steuerbehörde verpflichtet die FFI unter anderem die Information über die Inhaber von Konten zu beschaffen, um US-Accounts zu identifizieren. Zudem muss die FFI jährlich den Namen, die Adresse und Steuernummer jeder US-Person (Green Card Inhaber oder US Staatsbürger) und jedes US-Inhabers einer ausländischen Gesellschaft melden, dessen US-Account sie führt.

3. Umsetzung von FATCA
FATCA wird stufenweise umgesetzt. Verträge zwischen den FFIs und der US-Steuerbehörde sind bis zum 30.06.2013 zu schließen. Die Quellensteuer setzt dann am 01.01.2014 ein. Die Pflicht der FFIs, die zuvor beschriebenen Informationen offenzulegen, um US-Accounts zu identifizieren, beginnt 2013 (bei privaten Konten mit einem Saldo von unter 500.000 US-Dollar beginnt die Pflicht erst später).

4. Bilaterales Abkommen zur Umsetzung von FATCA
Derzeit wird bilateral zwischen Deutschland und den USA die Einführung von FATCA diskutiert. Am 8. Februar 2012 hat die USA mit der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und anderen Staaten eine Gemeinsame Erklärung über eine zwischenstaatliche Vorgehensweise zur Verbesserung der Steuerehrlichkeit im grenzüberschreitenden Bereich und zur Umsetzung des „Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act“ (FATCA) herausgegeben. 


BridgehouseLaw Atlanta
1170 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 1750 - The Proscenium
Atlanta, Georgia 30309

T: +1 404 885 5320
F: +1 404 885 5329

Dr. Christoph Rückel                                              Sebastian Meis, LL.M.            


*Autor:  Rechtsanwalt Sebastian Meis, LL.M. von BridgehouseLaw Atlanta.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Facebook Opens New Data Center in North Carolina

The world largest social network Facebook, with 845 million active users around the world and roughly 200 million in the U.S., opened a new data center in Forest City, North Carolina on April, 19.

Two months ahead of schedule, it took Facebook only 16 months to finally put the new data center online and serve live traffic. Nearly 2000 people had spent more than 1.2 million hours of working on the site to built this new data center. Still an average of 600 construction personnel continue to be on-site every day to complete the second neighboring data center, slated to open later this year.

It is Facebook's second custom built facility that the company has designed and built solely for its own use. The first facility is located in Prineville, Oregon,

The web giant started building its own data centers in 2011 in an effort to keep up with the exponential growth of its web services and in order to reduce the costs associated with running these massive computing facilities. To master the cost reduction Facebook formed a foundation for the Open Compute Project (OCP) to drive more innovation and a greater focus on energy efficiency in the data center industry. The company is sharing its hardware with the rest of the world through OCP, believing that if it shares its designs with the rest of the world, it can improve them and drive down the costs.

As a result of these efforts the new data center hosts a second generation of custom made web servers and is the first in testing the OCP's outdoor-air cooling system in an environment where the temperature and humidity conditions are considered outside the range of typical data center operations.

Besides the technical advances the new data center also supports the county. 60 full time workers are employed in the data center and with the completion of the neighboring center more will follow.

Area leaders say their connection with the community has already gone beyond financial investment and jobs. As state Sen. Wes Westmoreland, R-Cleveland, noted during Thursday’s event, the company has helped donate school supplies to students in need in return for the skilled work force it’s received.

“They’re a full community partner,” added N.C. Secretary of Commerce Dale Carroll, noting that Facebook has partnered with local businesses and nonprofit organizations.


Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Uptown Law Firm seeks part-time or full-time bilingual Administrative Assistant

Great opportunity to work in a multi-lingual environment with an international law firm in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Position is part-time or full-time. The position requires assisting a Managing Partner and other lawyers with day-to-day needs such as writing in German and English, translations, billing, filing, answering phones, updating spreadsheets, working on ad hoc projects and managing databases.

Ideal Candidates will have 1-5 years office experience at a law or accounting firm or other client-based service industry, strong Excel and Apple OS/PC skills and the ability to effectively multi-task.

Candidates must be fluent in both German and English – must be able to type in both languages (via recorded transcriptions), must have the ability to speak both languages comfortably and maintain a professional demeanor with clients (in-person and over the phone).


  • Writing letters and emails in German and English
  • Prepare translations (often from German to English, but also reverse) 
  • Billing and WIP/AR review 
  • Office support and management of office supplies, mail, etc.
  • Arranging overseas travel and accommodation
  • Drafting of administrative letters, memoranda and general administrative documents
  • Research/drafting of firm’s newsletter and website articles, upload and edit articles (in German and/or English), update subscriber contacts for firm‘s newsletter
  • Customer care/client management 
  • Assisting in all other ad hoc office duties 
Ideal Candidates:
  • Fluent in English AND German (Candidates must demonstrate either native or fluent German language ability, as this is a core component of the position)
  • Strong secretarial/administrative experience
  • Fully computer literate with very good knowledge of Open Office, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
  • Knowledge of billing and attorney software (for example Rocket Matter, Quicken, TimeMatters, TimeSlips, Amicus) as well as web-design/blog-design software (Joombla, WordPress, Constant Contact etc.) is a plus
  • Good management, organizational and numerical skills
  • Hardworking team player 
  • Excellent communication skills

Please send your application and resume to BridgehouseLaw, Attn: Nicole Dickey via email

About the Company:
BridgehouseLaw is an international law firm focusing on business law with offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Cologne and Munich. We mainly provide legal advice to clients on international transactions, particularly in trade and corporate law, property and banking law as well as in investment and tax law. We also assist our clients with transnational lawsuits and give legal advice in immigration and citizenship matters.

We recognize our business clients are often dealing with more than just a legal issue, therefore we strive to provide our clients with advice to make sound business decisions; to maximize the value of our clients’ assets while minimizing costs, including legal fees; and to document transactions in order to reduce the likelihood of unplanned adversities in the future.

The firm’s principals have strong general and legal educations; solid experience in excellent larger firms; and recognized expertise in particular fields. They bring to the firm a wide range of contacts in the business and legal communities, international experience, as well as personal and professional contracts in many countries, loyal clients, and good business sense.

BridgehouseLaw Philosophy:

With entrepreneurial creativity, efficient problem solving and individual counseling, we build bridges for you and your business between
- business, law and tax
- cultures, and
- most importantly, people

We take pride in our global team of consultants as a “one-stop-shop” for our clients, together with a network of local contacts, with expertise to go beyond mere legal and tax consulting.