So, this is another practical side of living overseas edition of this blog. I don’t know about you, but tax season is definitely NOT my favorite season in the world. I am all for paying taxes– give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, etc. etc. but I’d rather not go to all the trouble of filling out paperwork and keeping records (but I do).
Unfortunately, just because we live overseas does not mean that we get a free-pass on filing US taxes. All US citizens are required to pay taxes no matter where they live.
But, bonus points for us: We get to fill out taxes here in Japan too! In Japanese!! Doesn’t that just make you excited? Do you know where to begin? You would probably have the same feelings I have looking at these forms, knowing that you are expected to fill them in: utter confusion, a bit of amusement, and a bit of stress. And you get exactly one month to do your taxes in Japan– February 15-March 15.
FACT: When I lived here in Japan before, I only had to file my taxes once. Suffice it to say that I was confused, the tax people were confused, I had loads of paperwork and well… we hope I did it correctly. The day I filed my Japanese taxes: March 11, 2011. The day of the huge earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Maybe I’ll post on that later.
Anyway, this last Saturday I had an opportunity to sit in on a tax class, which I would have loved to have been a part of those years ago. This copy that you see above (2 sides; and yes– it’s an actual paper file… e-filing isn’t that big here it seems) is just the deduction sheet… it’s not even the paper(s) for filing. We don’t have to file Japanese taxes this year, but we will next. I was surprised to find a lot of the female-halves of the marriages represented. We all sat around a table, harassed the AWESOME girl who helped organize the “party” with lots of specific questions (what about…you fill in the blank). And there was chocolate in the middle. It was just what we all needed.
Being a missionary living overseas requires a lot of paperwork and record keeping. Technically, we’re a self-employed people, and our expenses and records-keeping are similar to those who own their own business, so to speak. Just tonight, I sat down with Vicente to work through how you do this kind of record keeping with receipts in a foreign language and exchange rates and converting the TONS of receipts we have. I’ll keep doing it, I don’t mind and it’s easier for me to figure out what the receipts are for, but we both need to know how to do it.
This is fun stuff guys.
Well, not at all. But it’s a necessary part of life, only more complicated living overseas.
So, now you know another facet of what I spend significant time doing.