Yup. Another IRS rant.
Once again for those of you who may not know, the IRS is the US’s Internal Revenue Service. They’re the ones you get your tax forms from at the end of the year.
Now the IRS has never been one for simple systems. The more complex, the better. And I don’t know which part of the federal government mandated this, but for citizens who’ve moved overseas, they still have to file their taxes for 10 years after the move, provided they made over x amount in US dollars (this year it’s $3200).
So I converted my income to US dollars and guess what…yep. It’s over $3200. Since Australia’s fiscal year runs from July to June, I decided to file my taxes for that period rather than all of 2005, because all my paperwork from my employers would already be showing the full amounts I needed for the forms. And so my taxes must be mailed by October 15 at midnight, just three days away.
And as I said above, the IRS doesn’t make things easy AT ALL. They did send me this half-inch-thick book full of forms and instructions for overseas filers, but they don’t have a table of contents at the front, and each different set of instructions has its own numbering system. So you look up “line 34” on Form 1040 (the main tax return form) and you might come up with line 34 on some OTHER form and think “What the?! Line 34 doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with claiming chickens on your head as dependents…oh.” And off you go to find the line 34 that you WERE looking for.
Now here comes the fun bit. Yes, I’m a US citizen and will be till I die. Yes, I moved overseas about two and a half years ago, so by law, I have another six or seven years of filing my taxes if I earn enough. However. All the taxes I paid in to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) were refunded to me. I owe the IRS nothing, and they owe me nothing, except the following:
I’d like the IRS to give me an explanation of WHY ON EARTH I EVEN HAVE TO REPORT MY INCOME TO THEM, WHEN I DON’T OWE THEM ONE RED CENT?!?!?!? It’s none of their business.
And if I absolutely HAVE to file my US taxes for another few years, the least they could do is make it easy for me. Like let me file them online somewhere. But nooooo. The online filing sites won’t cope with a) foreign income, or b) foreign addresses.
And there’s not just one standard one that everyone gets to use, either. Each accountancy firm that provides the service (which isn’t always free, by the way, depending on how much your income is) has their own version of it. Which may or may not be in a sensible format that everyone’s web browser can display.
Seriously, even though the money is nice, the IRS is really a good incentive for me NOT to be earning money overseas until I get to 2014 and don’t have to file taxes anymore…