How to move overseas and keep working?
May 5, 2011 5:54 AM   Subscribe

Help my wife substitute new income for old across an international relocation.

My wife (an MFA with a full-length poetry collection to her name) earns money teaching online for two institutions - one is a brick & mortar university with an nascent online-mediated program, and the other is an all-online university. The latter has said that after we move from the US to the UK this summer, she'll no longer be able to teach for them, and while we're still waiting on the final word from the first school, we anticipate similar bad news. So, we're in the search for ways to replace what in recent years has comprised more than a third of our family's annual income. It's probably worth mentioning that we have 3 kids (two under 5) and she can't reasonably swing a full on-site teaching load.

We're ignorant of the British system in all but the most superficial ways, and while online universities that operate internationally (and would presumably therefore have the taxation issues ironed out) aren't rare, they're doubtless of wildly varying quality. So (finally), where in the greater Cambs/Northants might she look for part-time brick & mortar instructional gigs, and what online schools do you know are decent employers and don't blink an eye when their faculty happen to live all over the place?
posted by Emperor SnooKloze to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could see if there are any opportunities at the Open University:
posted by Jehan at 6:44 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Dumb question/maybe too late: Is there any reason why you couldn't use a friend/family member as a physical address in the US and continue teaching at the current universities?
posted by Oktober at 6:48 AM on May 5, 2011

Response by poster: Jehan: Good suggestion, thank you. I'd forgotten about OU.

Oktober: I suspect the complexities arise - and I'll admit readily that I don't understand the ins & outs completely - when we file our tax returns. I'm not much interested in claiming I lived in a US state and being subject to their income taxation (especially as I'm a US Govt employee and do not benefit from the nonresident income exclusion). We are, it seems, in a position where we're either paying taxes we do not owe or knowingly falsifying her W-4s in hopes of keeping the income, which seems to me a manifestly poor idea.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 7:36 AM on May 5, 2011

Best answer: I'm an American living in France who, when I was a freelancer, was occasionally paid by US translation agencies in US dollars sent to my US bank account... I'm not quite understanding the complexities in question? First and foremost, you'll be filing your US federal taxes no matter where your income comes from, and no matter where you live. (And no matter how much/little you earn.) Second, it would actually cost the US-based employers less to pay your wife while she's working overseas:
Compensation and Payroll: Issues for U.S. Citizens Employed Overseas: "Although subject to U.S. tax, it may be possible to eliminate U.S. income and social taxes from wage withholding."

You would need to work out the details, but I honestly don't understand the rationale of the all-online university letting her go. Did they explain why? Is it perhaps something as simple as the time difference? (She's required to be available during hours they assume will be more difficult, or something?) Because as long as you keep a US bank account open, there really shouldn't be a problem. And even the US bank account is to simplify things – it's increasingly easier and less expensive to make int'l bank transfers. You'd mainly need to discuss the possibility with your bank. I have a little Oregon credit union that's been a real gem, and have been able to keep my US account open despite living overseas the last 14 years.
posted by fraula at 7:54 AM on May 5, 2011

Response by poster: You're quite right, fraula - their rationale was incomprehensible, something about taxation and protecting the school and the employee. I don't understand it either and they're clearly not interested in pursuing better explanations or a fix. The simultaneity thing isn't a factor - her work is all done asynchronously - but the institution is not budging on this, even when she said that we'd have US banking and a US postal address.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 8:18 AM on May 5, 2011

what online schools do you know are decent employers and don't blink an eye when their faculty happen to live all over the place?

I know that UMUC has locations in the UK and offers a lot of online classes. I took a computer class online through UMUC stateside, and my teacher was in Romania.
posted by amarynth at 8:32 AM on May 5, 2011

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