miðvikudagur, maí 24, 2006

form 1040-IS

One way that the good ole US of A keeps itself in the hearts and minds of its citizens living abroad is with the annual ritual of filing taxes. For us the date is June 15th, not April 15th, but the forms have that same heartwarming block-print 8.5 x 11 Paperwork Reduction Act IRS cachet. It kind of makes a guy miss the old place. Or not.

I just got my packet of paperwork in the mail from the Tax Guy. My return this year runs to 14 pages. And, in lieu of a W-2 form, I have to staple onto that return copies of each of my 12 monthly paycheck stubs. That will bring the whole return to almost 30 pages. To prepare the materials on this end (including converting each monthly salary and tax payment into dollars) took me 2-3 hours. Then the (excellent and mildly insane) Tax Guy and I exchanged a string of emails and phone calls. Then he spent a while working everything up. Now I owe him $150.

Keep in mind that I made absolutely zero income in the United States in all of tax year 2005. And that I had to file the same information under the (thankfully beautifully simple) Icelandic tax process (wherein the forms are already filled out for you and government-paid accountants hold office hours at the tax bureau to help you with any questions). And that I paid a tidy sum in taxes to Iceland already.

At least I don't owe the war machine any money this year. But that could change after a couple more years here, according to the Tax Guy. The long road to Icelandic citizenship seems more and more worth the trip these days.

3 Comments:

Blogger Angry Cock said...

1. Bring back anonymous posting!!!

2. It's like class dues (something else we should bring back) for alumni - you got a free ride as a child citizen and we expect you to pay back into the govm't coffers during your working years.

3. What was your effective tax rate when all is said and done over there in the land?

4. God love ya fellas - you vote with your feet. I wonder if Nacy Pellosi wants to move to Iceland?

24.5.06  
Blogger JB said...

1. I gotta say, I really like the improvement of quality in comments recently. So I'm sticking with anonymous posting switched off for a while longer.

2. Thing is, I didn't actually *pay* a dime into government coffers there. Just did lots of mandatory paperwork.

3. Not sure yet, because the final numbers here don't come out until August. My estimate is about 31%. Compare that to your total Fed/State/Medicare/SS burden to be fair. Actual mileage may vary.

4. Thanks. We'll see how much I still like it if they fire up a Nationalist party here and start shipping us immigrants out.

24.5.06  
Blogger cK said...

Filing taxes four times per year is hideous, but not nearly as hideous as 30 pages of paperwork just to prove you live in another country and owe nothing.

I'll say it again: Kafka was right.

Bureaucracy, it seems, is the opiate of the people. Marx! Pay attention!
-cK

24.5.06  

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