Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Feel Like Dancin’

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Thanks for all your good thoughts as I – well, I didn’t prepare our taxes, I prepared the worksheet for our taxes. I used to do taxes, but taxes have gotten so complicated, now we have to pay someone else a bucket of money to do them for us. In the meantime, it takes a whole day just to fill out the sheets of preparation. It takes a year of saving receipts and records.

I discovered that in an increasingly paperless world, it is not so easy to document as it used to be. I used to dread filing, but I also knew where things were. A lot of my day yesterday was spent looking up accounts online, and printing off things. When we went more paperless, we also sacrificed easy access to good record keeping. AArrgh!

I remember my Dad always did the family taxes, and he would do them late in January, as soon as all the financial statements had arrived. We would give him hints about better ways of shielding his money from taxation, and he would say “I don’t mind paying taxes. I worked for the government, and the government put you kids through university by paying me a generous salary and health benefits and retirement.” We would shake our heads in wonderment – have you ever met someone who didn’t mind paying taxes? It must be generational.

We had a complicated year, financially, and in gathering all the records I noticed in my zeal to keep everything paid off and up to date, I actually OVERPAID our taxes. . . how often does that happen? AdventureMan and I have something to celebrate!

Those penguins are from a website called CafePress and they sell all kinds of adorable things, unique.

(At nine in the morning, it is still only 73°F / 23°C – wooo hoooooo! Gonna be a great Thursday!

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April 3, 2008 Posted by | Biography, Cultural, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Generational, Social Issues, Technical Issue | , , | 13 Comments

Fresh Start

I always get a burst of energy between Christmas and New Year’s. Truly, for me, new hope has come into the world. It doesn’t have to be rational, it’s just the way it is for me. I get all kinds of old messes cleaned up, I sort, I organize, I throw out or I hem/mend/ cut down to make something useful once again.

It made the dark months of winter pass more quickly in Seattle and in Germany, where many days go from black to dark grey and then back to black again. Here in Kuwait, with all the sunshine, it is just so much easier. Every day dawns in blues and pinks – how can life be bad when a day starts so beautifully?

There is one sharp sword hanging over me – taxes. *gnashing of teeth* I am pretty good about keeping receipts all in one place all year, but taxes for xpats can be complicated, and our tax guy sends a worksheet – like 14 pages – for us to fill out every year. It really isn’t that hard, but I dread it.

Over a year ago, the US government changed the way expats are taxed. Even worse, they snuck it in as an amendment, I think to a military appropriations or budget bill, and no one was aware of the implications until it was a done-deal. It is a nightmare. In one year, we went from qualifying for refunds to owing a burdensome debt of taxes. Aaarrgh.

I have a list of projects I want to do this year, some challenging, some just fun. Some projects left over from previous years I want to get done once and for all. I see 2008 as a great luxury, all those days, an entire year, stretching out before me in which I can get these things done. Woooo Hooooooo!

December 29, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Cultural, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Political Issues | , , , | 10 Comments