Tax time

Today we’re going to talk about taxes. But first something else.

I have gotten some complaints recently that I haven’t blogged very much lately. Since the move is sort of over and I’ve been a while both at Google and in my apartment there is not so much new happening in that area. So I’m going to reach out to you who is reading this. What would you want me to write about? Go to this Google Moderator page and suggest something. There you can also give thumbs up/down to suggestions other people have made. In a while I might just write something about the most popular suggestions. (I reserve the right to not take up on any suggestion at all though 😛 )

So, back to taxes. In Sweden if you are just a regular employee and haven’t traded any stock, sold any houses or anything like that doing your taxes follows these simple steps.

  1. Receive your tax papers in the mail.
  2. Check that the numbers in it are right (they usually are).
  3. Send a text message saying that it’s all ok.

That’s it.

In the US it seems like the tax preparer professions is something that is protected by the government. The whole thing seems so complicated that most people just can’t do it without help.

First of all, you don’t get any papers in the mail from IRS saying that you are expected to send in a tax return. You’re just supposed to know that. Then, as I understand it, you need to send in separate tax returns for the federal level and the state level. (I’m just in the beginning of the process so I don’t know everything yet.)

It seems as most people are actually paying too much tax during the year when it’s deducted from the salary. Then it’s up to each and every one to get as much money as possible back when filing the tax return. So a lot of people hire a tax preparer that knows about all the strange deductions that can be made. It could actually pay off. Another popular way is to use an online service like TurboTax that will ask you a billion questions and then tell you exactly what forms to use and what to fill in.

I’m in the happy situation that I have to make full tax returns both in Sweden and USA. And I have income in two countries that both countries may want to tax. There is an agreement between Sweden and USA to avoid double taxation. But there is no such agreement between Sweden and California.

I’m going to handle the Swedish tax return myself but for the US one I have found myself a tax preparer that has experience with Swedes. The first thing he did was to file for an extension and that is all that has happened so far. This will take a looong time.

To be continued…

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