Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tax Exhaustion

All around me in Cuenca, the city is quieting down as the residents start to embrace Carnaval exhaustion. I should have joined them a bit more, but I thought that with the city all shut down and water balloon lobbing terrorists on the rooftops (it's tradition) that now would be a good time to do my taxes.

My brains are kind of mush.

Last year, I wrote about tax tips for writers, and I really did try to take my own advice. There were only a few receipts this year that were a mystery. I even found some receipts it would have been great to have last year, with no idea how they managed to not only get overlooked last April but also stow away to Ecuador with me this year. Little buggers are crafty.

The bigger challenge on this go-round was the international forms. I had no idea Turbo Tax had so many screens. Last time I filed my taxes as an international resident, I just remember one little form online. It was a magic form - I filled it out and *poof* I didn't owe any more taxes.

Things have definitely gotten a bit more complex since the early & mid 2000's on the international tax front. Turbo Tax hooped me through all the physical presence test requirements before somehow on the second run shifting me to the much shorter bona fide foreign residency test screen. Guess which one makes you look up every day you were anywhere and which asks yes or no questions?

Still, I feel pretty good about the final forms. I *think* I understand where all the numbers came from - I'm a little geeky and read over all the forms before I let Turbo Tax do its thing. I think I'm all good. I hit send anyway, so there's no going back now!

I'm using my brain numbed state to prep for next years taxes. We have master spreadsheets and file folders. It's like I'm related to certified accountants or something the way I suddenly feel better if I have month-by-month receipt folders and labels. Creepy. Very creepy.

Yet I'm done - after only 2 days - and I'm done early. Here's wishing the rest of you the best of luck with your own taxes ... and I think I might go have a drink.

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