Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Note to the IRS

Dear IRS,

As you well (and gleefully) know, Americans expats are the only expats in the developed world that are taxed by two countries. It is now 2008 and we are still being haunted by the state of Virginia for 2006 taxes as you claim that we underreported income by one hundred dollars. And because of that you are charging us an additional 580 dollars in late fees and interest. Even though we already paid you over 600 dollars in late fees and interest in December.

Ok. So maybe we messed up a little. But give us a break. We have two countries to contend with. And we can’t file US taxes until the Swiss ones are done. So therefore, we will always have to file late and pay penalties. Plus, we only lived in Virginia for 6 months is 2006. So maybe you could give us a break.

But my main problem is that if you expect your expats to pay taxes from overseas, then you should send all tax related items to our overseas address. Instead, you send them to my mother in Illinois. Who then has to forward them to us at great cost, but most importantly, at great time.

So by the time we receive for instance, a letter telling us we owe and additional 580 dollars in late fees, we are already too late for the late fee payment because it has past the 30 days from when the letter was written.

So we pay the late free, spend 30 USD to mail it, only to receive another letter, via my mother, that you are after us again for more fees and interest because we were late with the late fee.

There must be a better way. Please. If you’re going to tax me, at least have the courtesy to send my mail to me so I get it on time. Then if I’m late, it’s completely my fault. Or better yet, give expats the benefit of the doubt and let us file up to a year late penalty-free. Don’t we deserve a little credit? After all, we’re supporting two countries.

And please. Be sure to tell the election officials to count our votes. And that we’d probably vote for any candidate who would actually send us some mail. Because it seems we’re mostly ignored over here by any U.S. government official. Except of course, at tax time.


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