The United States has the most advanced software and information technology (IT) services industry in the world.
More than a quarter of the $3.8 trillion global IT market is in the United States. The industry accounts for 7.1 percent of U.S. GDP and 11.6 percent of U.S. private-sector employment. There are more than 100,000 software and IT services companies in the United States, and more than 99 percent are small and medium-sized firms (under 500 employees). This total includes software publishers, suppliers of custom computer programming services, computer systems design firms, and facilities management companies. The industry draws on a highly educated and skilled U.S. workforce of nearly two million people, a number which has continued to grow during the past decade.
The US H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows US companies to employ graduate level workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc. Any professional level job that usually requires you to have a bachelor’s degree or higher can come under the H-1B visa for specialty occupations. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree or greater you may be able to show level equivalence through work experience and other qualifications.
H-1B visas are subject to an annual visa cap each financial year. US employers can begin applying for the H-1B visa six months before the actual start date of the visa. Companies can apply as soon as April 2, 2017, for the 2018 cap, but the beneficiary cannot start work until October 1, 2017.
Current immigration law allows for a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas to be made available each government fiscal year. This number includes 65,000 new H-1B visas available for overseas workers in specialty (professional) level occupations with at least a bachelor’s degree, with an additional 20,000 visas available for those specialty workers with an advanced degree from a US academic institution. In recent years the H-1B visa cap has been heavily oversubscribed near the beginning of April each year. USCIS then holds a lottery for the available H-1B visas available.
The United States of America is a federal republic with separate state and local governments. Taxes are imposed in the United States at each of these levels. These include taxes on income, payroll, property, sales, capital gains, dividends, imports, estates, and gifts, as well as various fees.
Taxes are imposed on net income of individuals and corporations by the federal, most state, and some local governments. Citizens and residents are taxed on worldwide income and allowed a credit for foreign taxes. Income subject to tax is determined under tax accounting rules, not financial accounting principles, and includes almost all income from whatever source.
Payroll taxes are imposed by the federal and all state governments. These include Social Security and Medicare taxes imposed on both employers and employees, at a combined rate of 15.3% (13.3% for 2011 and 2012). Social Security tax applies only to the first $106,800 of wages in 2009 through 2011 However, benefits are only accrued on the first $106,800 of wages. Employers must withhold income taxes on wages.
Taxable income is gross income fewer adjustments and allowable tax deductions. Gross income for federal and most states is receipts and gains from all sources less cost of goods sold. Gross income includes “all income from whatever source,” and is not limited to cash received.
Foreign non-resident persons are taxed only on income from U.S. sources or a U.S. business. Tax on foreign non-resident individuals on non-business income is at 30% of the gross income but reduced under many tax treaties.
Cost of living
The cost of living in the United States will vary depending on which region of the United States that you live in and whether you live in an urban, rural, or suburban area. Many of the numbers that we will explore in this article are based on averages throughout the United States, and you may notice drastic differences in some instances. For example, the Midwest region of the United States (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, etc.) will have lower values than those shared in this article; whereas New England’s numbers will be much higher.
The cost of living in a major city can be 50 percent more than that of the national average. To compensate, wages in the towns do tend to be higher, but they are often not in proportion to the cost of city living.
On average, expenses are less than in Western European countries. However, some expenses that expats may be unaccustomed to will also need to be considered.
A significant portion of the high cost of living is due to high property prices, a cost that can be somewhat alleviated by living outside city centers. In rural communities, property prices are much lower. In many parts of the USA, heating and air conditioning are also widely used throughout the year, and costs can quickly become relatively expensive.