Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Tax Day Tea Party in Pensacola

We don’t really understand the Tea Party. It is clearly against Obama, but then again, it is clearly the party of “against” and it is hard to find anything it is for. This is a problem; it is easy to tear down, and it is a lot more difficult to create – to formulate solutions which will provide benefits for the majority of participants.

As we were approaching our hotel, we saw this huge crowd of ‘protesters’ who appeared to be partying. But every sign was different! As 15 April is Tax Day, the day our income taxes are due, maybe about 10% were carrying signs that had to do with taxes, preferably NO taxes. The rest of the signs protested other things – constitutional amendments (what – women voting? black people being counted as full people? the repeal of prohibition?), no abortion, putting God first – it was a total potluck of causes.

The weather was mild, the sun was shining, there was a breeze – great day for an incoherent protest, LOL. I took pictures from the safety of our car, although everyone seemed very friendly:

Here is what cracks us up. Pensacola is a highly military reliant community. There is a huge military presence here, from Eglin Air Force Base to the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Pensacola is glad to have the military business. So where do they think the money comes from that pays the military salaries, and thus, gets spent in their economy, at their businesses? Few Americans have saved enough to comfortably retire, who do they think is contributing to their Social Security support, and Medicare, and Medigap? Tax dollars! Who do they think supports public education, and guarantees law and order? Who do they think runs the justice system? Who do they think provides emergency fire and medical services? Tax dollars! Who builds and maintains the roads and bridges, insures safety in our food supplies, construction and medicines? Our government, supported by our tax dollars!

Do I like paying taxes? No! Not one bit! But in the interest of the greater good, we pay our taxes honestly, and thank God to live in a society with order, thanks to our tax dollars.

April 17, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Character, Civility, Community, Cultural, Education, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Florida, Generational, Health Issues, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Safety, Social Issues | | 3 Comments

Internal Revenue Service Scam

This was in my mailbox this morning:

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity
we have determined that you are eligible to receive
a tax refund under section 501(c) (3) of the
Internal Revenue Code. Tax refund value is $189.60.
Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days
in order to IWP the data received.
If u don’t receive your refund within 9 business
days from the original IRS mailing date shown,
you can start a refund trace online.

If you distribute funds to other organization, your records must show wether
they are exempt under section 497 (c) (15). In cases where the recipient org.
is not exempt under section 497 (c) (15), you must have evidence the funds will
be used for section 497 (c) (15) purposes.

If you distribute fund to individuals, you should keep case histories showing
the recipient’s name and address; the purpose of the award; the maner of
section; and the realtionship of the recipient to any of your officers, directors,
trustees, members, or major contributors.

To access the form for your tax refund, please click here

This notification has been sent by the Internal Revenue Service,
a bureau of the Department of the Treasury.
Sincerely Yours,

John Stewart
Director, Exempt. Organization
Rulings and Agreements Letter
Internal Revenue Service

The IRS uses “u” for “you?”

An IRS e-mail signed by a real person?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Just another scam.

November 2, 2008 Posted by | Crime, Cultural, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Social Issues | | 6 Comments

Warning for American Expat Taxpayers

Many American expats working in the Gulf put off filing taxes because they are working so hard they don’t have the time or energy to pull it all together.

We received a bulletin from our tax preparer today saying the following:

IRS CRACKS DOWN ON LATE FILING EXPATS – To receive the FEI exclusion, the IRS requires that you file within 1 year from the original due date of the return (determined without regard to any extensions). The IRS has recently issued guidance to begin enforcing this long overlooked tax rule. If you have not filed your Expat tax returns for 2006 and earlier years, please contact us ASAP to discuss your options. Worse case scenario – if you owe taxes the IRS can disallow your FEI exclusion, even if you have earned it, thus making 100% of all of your earnings taxable without any benefit of the FEI exclusion. Working in a combat zone does not guarantee Expats any relief from the IRS.

Our tax preparer specializes in expat taxes. He has a thriving business, and really knows our unique situation.

Steven Palazzo, CPA
Palazzo & Co, CPA
PO Box 4634
Biloxi, MS 39535
228-396-8800 – Office
866-272-9224 – Toll Free
305-768-0483 – Fax
WWW.PALAZZOCPA.COM
spalazzo@palazzocpa.com

I publish this because the earned income exclusion is probably the best tax deduction most of us will ever have. You don’t want to lose the exclusion, and your hard earned money, by failing to file in a timely manner.

October 10, 2008 Posted by | Bureaucracy, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Living Conditions | , | 1 Comment

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!

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