Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tax Man


As if to compensate for our day of fun on Tuesday, yesterday was the opposite -- Income Tax Day.

As I've mentioned before, as American citizens, we're required to file income taxes each year with the IRS, even though we no longer live in the country. We are not, however, required to pay the IRS, because I pay taxes here and our income falls below the amount of foreign income we're allowed to exclude. Nor do we get any kind of refund. So it's really just an exercise in paperwork.

Every year I find myself wrestling with the same issues -- how to show my earnings on one line and then fill out the Form 2555 or whatever it's called and show those earnings as excludable foreign income. I have to document all the days I spent in the United States (keeping a blog helps in this regard!), and then this year, I had to turn around and do the same for Dave. (We filed jointly -- a first!)

It took me all morning but I did finally get everything settled.  H & R Block, whose online tax prep software I was using, passed the return with flying colors. And then, weirdly, the IRS wouldn't allow us to e-file because the number of days stated on one line (for our housing exclusion) didn't match the number of days stated on another line (for income exclusion). I'm getting into the weeds here, but I thought I was supposed to deduct the days we spent in the states from our income exclusion, but not from our housing exclusion -- because, after all, we pay rent every day of the year, whether we're here or not. And perhaps that's incorrect. Anyway, in the end, I just changed both figures so they match. From all I could tell, it didn't make a difference.

I e-filed. Boom. Finished.

I know I say this every year, but taxes are ridiculously complicated. I mean, if I have this much trouble with them -- a college-educated (but admittedly mathematically inept) professional with no bipedal dependents -- imagine  how daunting they must seem to anyone with less education and more kids. It's absurd.

Anyway, thank God that's over. Off to Liverpool!

(Photo: Pedestrian barriers stacked in West Hampstead.)

10 comments:

e said...

After all of that, you deserve a day out. Enjoy!

alphabet soup said...

Oh you lucky ducks!! Income Tax Day.

- I'm getting into the weeds here - I just love that expression.

Ms Soup

utahDOG! said...

Careful talking taxes on the interwebs. Idiots come out of the woodwork when you do and soon we'll be talking about crap like Trump again.

Ms. Moon said...

Oh Lord. Decompress. Have fun.

Sharon Anck said...

I agree. It's way more complicated than it should be. I had better get busy.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

"Filing Income Tax Returns" sounds like the basis for a great new computer game. It would be loads of fun as the player attempts to negotiate all the obstacles and surprising rules placed in his or her way. Look after your wallet in Liverpool!

The Bug said...

We have to file an amended return because we got a late 1099. We always owe so I have no idea why we file so early, but we always do. Maybe so we don't spend the tax money :)

ellen abbott said...

we file late every year because the husband who is in charge of the finances procrastinates. I keep telling him to take one day at the end of every month and sort the expenses and income but will he do it? no. now he has a great excuse to put it off til summer...this job we are finally starting on.

Red said...

Agreed that consideration is not given for those people who are unable to follow complex regulations. There's too much legalise.

jenny_o said...

Yes, it shouldn't be so complicated! Good for you for getting it done.