Daily Archives: May 17, 2012


Today, I am reflecting on the miracle that is calm stability. Of being able to look at confusing things without having a complete meltdown on the spot, of being able to push past boundaries that were once like brick walls. Today’s victory is over trying to understand tax code. One of my fellow ex-pat friends mentioned the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (wiki//IRS), and I’ve managed to look at tax stuff both late night and today without ending up a puddle of jelly. You see, as an American citizen, I’m supposed to file taxes every year. I have been lax because:

A.  I do not make enough money to owe the US, and
B.  I couldn’t figure out what category I needed to file as without bursting into tears

Now, I’m not a stupid girl, but American tax code is needlessly complicated as compared to UK tax code (where everybody files individually!). When Googling last night to find the right category, I found a lot of hits because nobody knew how to file correctly (for those of us living abroad married to non-American citizens, it’s ‘Married filing singly’, NRA). Add in the fact I’ve not seen a useful e-file for filing from abroad until this year, and is it any wonder my poor head was caving in? And to prove that I don’t make enough to owe two countries taxes (!!!) requires extra forms and… well. Yes, explosions in the mental sky. How dumb is it that one has to file taxes on non-American income to prove America that they don’t deserve a slice? Pretty dumb, but this is also a country that (per wiki) is willing to spend upwards of 10 billion to get 800 million in taxes. And people wonder why the government never seems to have money to take care of its citizenry…

So yeah, I’ve got some back tax stuff to figure out, because I do believe in doing my duty as an American (and y’know, wanting to hold on to both of my citizenships). But I can celebrate that I am stable enough, calm enough that this isn’t rendering me catatonic. Once again, I’m not stupid, but when my default state was fight or flight, it doesn’t really leave a lot of room for taking a deep breath. The fact I CAN take that deep breath and make myself slooowly read through things is such an amazing thing to me, and that’s why I take this moment to celebrate and revere that faculty while it is available. Oh sure, I won’t be able to hack through this without my amazing husband and calling the American Embassy for advice, but I wouldn’t be able to do either of these things if I weren’t feeling stable and calm. I won’t berate ‘normal’ people for taking this ability for granted, but I can hope that (if they read this), they can take a moment to reflect on the wonder of such a little thing, and how it makes their life that much better and happier. :)

Back to the grind!