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Working in Seattle?

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Jose Carreira

Living in the USA, from Portugal

"InterNations provided me with all the necessary information about Seattle: Business Contacts, a City Guide and offline events. Wow!"

Barbara Sciera

Living in the USA, from Australia

"Even before moving to Seattle I made great contacts to other expats. The expat world has been waiting for such a plattform."

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Seattle at a Glance

Working in Seattle

Seattle has a booming economy with lots of employment opportunities for expatriates considering starting a business or looking for work in existing firms. If you’re looking for a job in Seattle or would simply like to know more about the economy and taxation, this article is for you!

Local Economy

The city’s economy was traditionally based on industry. The Port of Seattle is a major gateway for trade with Asia and the starting point for many Alaskan cruises. The city also has a long history of aerospace industry, with the original headquarters of Boeing based in Seattle.

The economy has diversified hugely over the years, particularly in the technology and software fields. Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are today some of the top employers in the city, with many jobs available in the fields of software engineering, computer analysis, and web development. Also, Forbes recently ranked Seattle as the ninth best city for business in the United States.

Seattle is known as a hot-bed for start-up businesses, and for its environmentally friendly innovation. The city was ranked America’s number one ‘smartest city’, determined by its environmentally friendly economy and government policies. In 2010, the city government committed Seattle to becoming the country’s first ‘climate neutral city’ by reaching zero net rate per capita of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Jobs in Seattle

If you don’t already have work lined up for you, there are many opportunities available in Seattle. While the job market is competitive, and Seattleites are known to be very hardworking and productive, there are jobs available for skilled expats that stand out from the crowd.

Having a good, diverse resume with international work experience is one attractive feature that will put you ahead of competitors. In fact, Seattle is known as the ‘brain gain’ of the United States, because of its reputation for attracting skilled workers from around the country and internationally.

Most employers in Seattle are looking for talented individuals who are keen to progress and develop their skills. Therefore it’s important to show that you are keen to take on opportunities to broaden your skills, including further education and training.

Most expatriates working in Seattle are employed in the technological, healthcare, and engineering sectors, so if you have experience in these areas, they are good places to start your job search.

Before you begin your work in Seattle, make sure your paperwork is in order, with all necessary visas and work permits so you are legally able to work in the United States. For many visa categories, you will need an US employer to sponsor you, anyway.

Income Taxation

If you count as a fiscal resident of Seattle, you will have to pay income tax on your earnings just like all American citizens. If you are categorized as a foreign tax payer, on the other hand, tax rates will differ. Washington is one of the few American states that do not collect a state income tax. Instead, sales tax is quite high, and there are also taxes on businesses and profits made.

This means that the only income tax due is federal income tax, which is set nationally. Federal income tax is paid only on taxable income, which is what’s left of your salary after deductions are made. Deductions are calculated based on the number of dependents you have, retirement plan contributions, and various other factors.

After you work out your deductions, you can use the figures below to estimate the federal income tax that you will have to pay. These are based on a single person. If you are married, you may choose to file a joint tax return. Note that the following tax rates are for fiscal residents.

The above should be used only as a guide and will vary according to how and in what year you file your tax return.

InterNations Expat Magazine