I used to work and live in NYC.

I got a verbal job offer in Shanghai, China and doing salary negotiation.

They asked my latest monthly net salary (after tax), and said they will set my salary based on that. But I think that's unfair because living in NYC (high city tax) as a single I paid tax more than other people who live in New jersey or married/or have kids. We all pay different amount of tax depends on the situation and area, so even though the annual salary amount is same, each one will get different amount of monthly salary since tax differences.

Since I pay a lot of tax so my net salary is low. I think net salary would not be the standard for set my new salary ranges.

It's so hard to explain this complicated US TAX system to people in China where does not have the same tax system.

Is there any way I can explain well and convince them?

  • 11
    I'm not sure why you are focusing on the issue of explaining the US tax system. You should be focused on why a company has a rule of only paying you based on your income from a previous job.
    – dfundako
    Jan 19, 2017 at 18:16
  • Thank you for the comment @dfundako. The company said :they have a rule that they can only increase 10% of the current monthly net salary. I think Consider the net salary as a standard is unfair to me .Before tax salary should be the standard so that's why I am trying to explain the US tax system to them.
    – Dion
    Jan 19, 2017 at 18:25
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    @Dion I think you should take this as a sign that you should look for other opportunities. They should be paying you based upon your value to them, not what someone was paying you in another country (which may or may not correlate to the value you brought to your previous employer). I agree that their position is unfair - do you want to start a business relationship with an arrangement that you believe is unfair to you?
    – alroc
    Jan 19, 2017 at 18:28
  • 3
    This seems crazy to base your salary in Shanghai on your salary in NYC. Tax issues aside, what if you lived in the midwest, where salaries are considerably lower? None of this changes your value to the company, or what a comparable salary for your position would be in the city you'll actually be living in. If the person came from a country with a salary of $10/month, would they really only be able to offer $11/month? Jan 19, 2017 at 18:51
  • 1
    Yo. Are they actually going to demand that you turn over pay stubs as verification? Make up a number. Play the game!
    – Xavier J
    Jan 20, 2017 at 18:21

4 Answers 4


Is there any way I can explain well and convince them?

If your employer has never hired anyone who worked in the US then you could go over the details of the impact on your take home salary. Calculate your expected after-tax salary if you were to stay in the US and compare it to your after-tax salary you would get in Shanghai.

But I'm not sure why you feel compelled to do all of this.

Instead, if you feel that their offer is too low just tell them that you cannot accept their offer and ask for more.


Send them information from your government: US Government on citizens working for foreign company

If they have no one in their company who can figure this out, there's not much you can do.

What is really happening to you, is they're just coming up with arbitrary reasons to limit what they're offering. Things like "company policy, this is the way we've always done it, salary averages, ..." are just ways for the individual negotiating your salary to leverage their institution. They'll tell you it is out of their control. This is what negotiating is all about.

All you have to say is, "I'm not going to leave my job and take a pay cut." Remind them you have to pay taxes. If they still don't get it, decline the job or take a pay cut.

As always, there are ways around their rules. What if you start at only a 10% increase to your monthly salary, but get reevaluated for an increase after 3 months? Are there are perks you want? Other countries often give more time for holidays than others. This could be an advantage. You have to think a little more divergently and not let them control the conversation.

You must be willing to decline an offer.

  • A key factor the OP needs to consider is cost and standard of living in the new location. Jan 20, 2017 at 15:09
  • @PatriciaShanahan - That's a good point. Would a cost of living index factor income taxes? In the US, not everyone gets taxed at the same rate because of size of salary, deductions, etc.
    – user8365
    Jan 25, 2017 at 13:56

Why are taxes and deductions a concern at all? If they are asking for your net salary, then they probably are trying to make sure that whatever they offer you, your net salary in Shanghai will not be lower than your net salary in NYC. So your gross salary is not really an issue, and neither is the proportion of taxes and other withdrawals.

I would suggest to provide them your net salary, and ask for a N% increase to your net salary in Shanghai. It's up to them to figure out what gross salary they need to pay you to provide you the net salary you are requesting. The N% increase (say, 10%) is the premium for getting someone like you which obviously they are not able to easily find locally (plus any cost of living adjustment, if in your favor). Good luck!


Why not give them the full details and provide a rough calculation of how much your Gross would have to be for your net to increase by 10%.

SO say something like my gross salary is 100K, but after taxes and required other deductions I net 60K. Then detail how much you pay in taxes and other required deductions like Medicare, health insurance. Enclose your leave and earnings statement if you want.

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