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I have the possibility of a contract assignment with The Nuclear Regulatory Commission which is located in Rockville, Maryland on the northwest corner of the DC metro (on the northwest-most Metro line). In fact, the street address is

11555 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852-2738

This is near something called "White Flint Mall".

This assignment would be tricky because it is in a high cost of housing area and also I have no idea about Maryland state taxes (usually non-residents ARE taxed by states in which you do more than nominal amounts of work). I have been burned badly on some assignments where the costs were higher than anticipated (like Atlanta!), and where I didn't know in advance things like traffic issues to avoid, etc.

If any of you guys are anywhere near that Rockville area, could you possibly provide some guidance on:

- Best places to look for an extended stay type hotel, keeping in mind cost of the hotels in that area, safety of the area for both me and the SSR, distance & access to the above agency address, traffic conditions

- Particular locations to avoid for whatever reasons

- Maryland state income taxes - high? low?

- Any OTHER tax issues (for example, discovered on a prior near miss that VA insists on local auto registration after a elatively short period of time in state, and the fee is HIGH because based on value of the vehicle)

I've visited the DC area before a few times, and turned down a job in VA a couple of years ago, but have never actually worked in the DC area, so feel like a novice in even looking at this possible situation. I remember that the reason I turned down the permanent job offer in VA was the incredibly high cost of housing I saw there when I went out for a day with a local realtor. I kept thinking "What would I do if the job disappeared and I was stuck with a mortgage on a $450,000 home!!

Any helpful guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Jim G
 

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Jim,

I've been living in Montgomery county here now for 13 years. It's a nice place for the most part, but it does have its flaws. Personally, I don't like the western side of the county. I lived over in Potomac for about 2 1/2 years (rented a room from a friend that had just bought a house there - he's still there too), but I ended up buying a house on the eastern front. Feels a lot less crowded over here. At night, even though I'm not far from New Hampshire ave (MD 655), it's pretty quiet too. The critters outside actually make more noise than anything else.

Another great thing about the area is that you can litterally get away from the urbanity in just a few miles travelling north. Unlike say the Philly area, we don't have 50-70 miles of total developed sprawl (yet) outside of the city borders.

Also, the access to just about anything. 3 major air ports, the coast is only a few hours away, monuments and museums galore.

But, to answer your questions:

Traffic:
The MD rt 355 corridor ( Rockville pike) can be horrible for traffic congestion. In fact, it's one of the few places that I've ever seen more crowded on the weekend from shopping traffic (not counting holidays) than from daily commuter traffic.

Parking, watch out for that around here. The county loves to "bend" the codes and permit 8' parking spaces instead of the mandated 8.5' minimums. It's damn near impossible to park around here and not feel like you're squeezed into compact car spaces. As far as NRC goes, they do have their own parking, but I don't know how much capacity they have. Parking at a metro station is an invitation for disaster too.

Taxes:
MD taxes are high. I don't know how high they rate on the nationwide scale, but state income tax here is roughly 4.7%. The county has a 60% piggy-back tax on top of that. However, it's 60% of the original state income tax of 5%, so it's 3% on top of that 4.7%. Non-property owners are really getting hammered without any type of tax shelters here.

Housing:
Housing can be frightfully expensive too, but it does depend on the location. There are parts of the county that have skyrocketed way up, but others that are more reasonable. My neighbor just sold her house (under contract anyway). A local realtor stuffs our mailbox with flyers every few weeks, and she posts all of the local listings on what's available and what's sold. The list price my neighbor had asked was $449k, but I don't know if that's what they got. Honestly, I don't see how because the house does need work.

You didn't say how long your contract could be, but you might want to consider renting just to save yourself from the potential mortgage nightmare.

Hotels:
As far as extended stay locations, I do know of some, but they're not immediately close by, but I can research that a bit further. If anybody else pipes in first, all the better.

DMV:
Anybody moving into the state does have to re-register their vehicle within 60 days. Realistically speaking though, if you're on a contract assignment and retain your residence back in your home state, then you do have a legitemate excuse (and also to help out on taxes). There's so much of that going on around here that's it's darn near impossible to prove otherwise anyway.

However, on the positive side, we don't have that nasty annual property tax on our cars! :)

If you are still considering and plan to come for some recon, let us know and we locals can all get together and take you on a tour of the higlights.

PS: Remember, gotta say it the way dubbya does - Nuke-You-Lar!
 

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JimGnitecki said:
... I kept thinking "What would I do if the job disappeared and I was stuck with a mortgage on a $450,000 home!!

Any helpful guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Jim G
In this area, for that price, you would put the wheels back on that single-wide and tow it to your next job location!!! :jester

Jim, I'm in Northern Virginia (Dale City/Woodbridge) and unfortunately, do not have any specific info on the Rockville, MD area.

Diggs
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
ssr71: You are touching some of the important items!

I was suspecting that there might be a piggyback income tax. I will research the exemptions and also the treatment of non-residents.

I very much prefer a less dense area, and ideally "country" setting if the commute is still sensible, so your comments about east versus west are very relevant.

If I get that contract, there are no guarantees whatsover as to duration, so some form of extended stay lodgings is critical so that there is no lease obligation.

I THINK I would get a permit as part of the assignment to park at the NRC parking facility, but am not positive, but as you point out, it's often "dinged door city" when you have to do that in a crowded parking scenario.

Then there's that salt they put on the roads to fight the ice in the winter . . .

More research . . .

Jim G
 

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Jim,

This is where I used to put all of my out of state employees when we were HQ'd in Montgomery County.

Extended Stay America
12450 Milestone Center Dr
Germantown, MD

(301) 540-9369

My Best,

Rob

P.S. MD does charge you a state tax on every dollar that you earn while working in the state.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Raveschi: This possibility is still along ways from being a firm offer, but it's the highest potential right at the moment!

And, because it involves working in a Federal agency, it requires renewal of my security clearance (which gets immediately lost whenever an asignment ends) and that takes time, even to get the initial "limited rights" temp clearance while the real one is being processed. It's not like a private sector contract assignment where the start date is often "How soon can you get here?"

But, at least that gives me lots of time to learn more about the local costs and environment before being myself committed.

Jim G
 

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JimGnitecki said:
Raveschi: This possibility is still along ways from being a firm offer, but it's the highest potential right at the moment!

And, because it involves working in a Federal agency, it requires renewal of my security clearance (which gets immediately lost whenever an asignment ends) and that takes time, even to get the initial "limited rights" temp clearance while the real one is being processed. It's not like a private sector contract assignment where the start date is often "How soon can you get here?"

But, at least that gives me lots of time to learn more about the local costs and environment before being myself committed.

Jim G
I'm surprised that you say that your clearance gets "lost" when you other assignment ends. I think that your clearance (if we are talking DoD) goes inactive for up to 2 years. If you get another job within 2 years, it should take a very short time to get you up and running.

About taxes...I'm kind of surprised that that is a concern for you. I did contract work in NJ while residing in VA. I had to pay NJ non-resident tax and I paid VA tax, but I got ALL of my virginia taxes refunded because I paid more in NJ taxes than I owed for VA taxes. I'm not sure that this applies to all states, but I think that in most cases you won't pay "double" taxes.

Good luck
 

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Jim,

I sent you a e-mail with my numbers so you can give me a call and we can talk about the area. I can tell you all you need to know.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Looking for an ssr: It has been over 2 years since my assignment at the last federal agency (IRS).

As for the taxes:

The problem is that Texas has a different tax model than most states. In Texas, there is no state income tax. The tax burden is split instead between a high sales tax and high property taxes.

Maryland, and all other states I know of with an income tax, will only credit you for INCOME taxes paid to another state, NOT sales or property taxes.

Likewise, Texas has no mechanism to allow you a credit for income tax paid to another state.

Furthermore, at Federal level, the IRS only allows you to deduct EITHER the state income tax you paid to ONE state, or the state sales tax you paid to ONE state. It specifically precludes deducting both, whether they were paid to one state or multiple states. This was probably because the writers of the Federal provision that enables the sales tax deduction for a trial 2 year period only (2005 and 2006) for states without an income tax, simply did not consider the possibility of a migrant worker like myself being subjected to a mix of BOTH state income and state sales tax states in 2 or more states.

So, while in Atlanta earlier this year, I paid Georgia income tax that cannot be deducted on the Federal return, unless I choose to deduct it if it turns out to be bigger than the sales tax I paid in Texas for the year INSTEAD of the Texas sales tax!

Same thing will happen in Maryland.

Jim G
 

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Next Mod??

Jim G.,

Any chance the new position could result on a nuclear reactor mod in the near future? :lol

Best of luck if you choose to take it. I lived in Rockville (about a half mile from White Flint Mall) from 1986-87 and thought it was expensive then (town houses were 80-100,000K! ) Yikes!

Hope the taxes and cost of living work out. Best of Luck!
 

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Rockville, MD ????

Are you sure you want to come to Rockville, MD.?
Guess what.... that's only a hop, skip, and a jump from me!!!!!
Make sure you bring that rhino with you, so I can't get near your hood!!!! :lol
We would love to have you here!!!!
Heck, I will even bake you a cake!!!
But, you have to promise to get together with us local fanatics.
( Me , david, Big Jim, MidnightRider, ssr71, brownhornet, 53wanab, thatrhinoguy, looking4anssr, Royce, skippyssr, and Michael Errico )
But, watch out that rhinoguy might get jealous of your hood ornament... so you might want to switch back to the elephant! :)
Hope all goes well for you, we are looking foward to meeting with you!
We can show you how to be a metro area FANATIC !!!!!
 

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JimGnitecki said:
Looking for an ssr: It has been over 2 years since my assignment at the last federal agency (IRS).

As for the taxes:

The problem is that Texas has a different tax model than most states. In Texas, there is no state income tax. The tax burden is split instead between a high sales tax and high property taxes.

Maryland, and all other states I know of with an income tax, will only credit you for INCOME taxes paid to another state, NOT sales or property taxes.

Likewise, Texas has no mechanism to allow you a credit for income tax paid to another state.

Furthermore, at Federal level, the IRS only allows you to deduct EITHER the state income tax you paid to ONE state, or the state sales tax you paid to ONE state. It specifically precludes deducting both, whether they were paid to one state or multiple states. This was probably because the writers of the Federal provision that enables the sales tax deduction for a trial 2 year period only (2005 and 2006) for states without an income tax, simply did not consider the possibility of a migrant worker like myself being subjected to a mix of BOTH state income and state sales tax states in 2 or more states.

So, while in Atlanta earlier this year, I paid Georgia income tax that cannot be deducted on the Federal return, unless I choose to deduct it if it turns out to be bigger than the sales tax I paid in Texas for the year INSTEAD of the Texas sales tax!

Same thing will happen in Maryland.

Jim G

Got ya.....
 
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