Tag Archives: tax

Tax service for expats

For my entire “adult” life I have done my own taxes.  I have dealt with marriages, a divorce, buying and selling homes, sole proprietorship and partnership business taxes, moving expenses, dependents, college expenses, owning rental properties, foreign earned income… I feel like I have become pretty adept at dealing with the IRS codes and figuring things out.  I’m sure I have made mistakes along the way, but all I have ever paid for is the $10-$30 for tax filing software.

This year I used the services of H&R Block.

hrblock1

I used their portal for expats in India to upload my tax documents and pay records and to answer some pretty basic questions about our circumstances.  I had a number of followup emails with the staff member that was working on my account — our situation with Jacob’s adoption is a little tricky since we do not yet have a Social Security Number for him.

taxes2

After everything was uploaded (it was a long wait for my forms from my mortgage) I pretty much just had to wait, answer some questions, and then print, sign and send back to H&R Block the second page of my return.

Was it easier than doing my taxes on my own?  Definitely.

I can make it a little easier on myself in the future by naming our payslips better and storing them in the same place… since they are emailed to us I had to search through plenty of old mail and then download the slips only to then upload them all individually.  Next time I will store them all in a spot and then combine them to make one payslip file for me and one for my wife.  I’ll also keep better track of any expenses for the rentals we have because trying to find them amid our credit card statements is tough.  I might use a feature in Mint to label them all.

I would definitely recommend H&R Block for expat tax services.

Sarah Palin is a good Republican

Sarah PalinI mean that most sincerely and not at all condescending. Really. Sarah is the governor of Alaska and has an extremely high approval rating. Why? She’s ethical. She is sticking to her party’s platform and yet also obeying the law.

A look at Wikipedia informed me that she signed into law state benefits to same sex couples per a state supreme court ruling. Even though she opposes gay marriage. Instead of ranting about rogue judges and trying to shove changes to the Constitution down the publics throat she’s following the law (as currently interpreted by the relevant court) and still able to stick to her ethics.

I’m only bringing this up because I received an email…

Dear Fellow Alaskan,
With just a few days left in the 25th Alaska Legislature, the final
actions taken by lawmakers will have a major impact on Alaska and
Alaskans. HB 111, a critical bill which would lower the Business License
Fee, is currently stalled.
The Alaska economy is blessed by people with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Business leaders provide new ideas and develop innovative products and
services. By investing in their businesses, small firm owners make a
major contribution to our economy.
The original version of HB111 that I proposed would have returned the
business license fee, which was increased to $100 under the former
administration, to $25. The fee increase has caused a hardship for those
who are helping grow our economy, especially people who operate
home-based and part-time businesses.
The House Finance Committee amended the bill to set the fee at $50 and
it sailed through the House because it makes good business sense. HB 111
is currently stalled in the Senate Finance Committee. I urge you to
contact your senator TODAY and let him or her know that HB111 is good
for Alaskans, who should not be penalized for stimulating economic
growth.

Until next time,
Governor Sarah Palin

I sure am one of those entrepreneurs.  With the web stuff, djing, and bike shop stuff i’m kicking in sales tax to the city.  And the Feds enjoy my increased income in taxes also.

It honestly stung a bit when the business license fee went from $50 to $200 for two years under the previous governor (who was also a Republican).

I’m not a member of any political party but she’s one more Conservative that will have my vote next time around.

Photo via Wikimedia but by me!

Try TaxAct for your taxes

For quite a few years I have used TurboTax to electronically file my federal taxes.  Unfortunately i have too much income to qualify for the free electronic filing so i have had to pay to file for the past few years.  TaxAct has no ceiling on the amount you make to qualify to file for free.  Their business partnership software is one third the price of TurboTax’s.  I’m trying it out right now for Zoom Bikes.

Personal taxes done

Earlier this evening i had my taxes almost done.  I was reviewing them and wasn’t happy with the way some of my personal business expenses seemed to be duplicated and some of the home improvement (energy efficiency) items were turning out.  So i started them over.  I did my best to give a completely honest account of my income by reporting the rental income from the apartment and even the large web design projects that i worked on.  I also honestly reported my expenses.  I was surprised that the apartment actually saved me a considerable sum of money (the utilities, taxes, and mortgage interest along with the improvements to it really helped offset the income from it).  I’ll be getting a decent return this year.  I remembered to change the amount withheld from my paychecks early last year.  Also, the home purchase really helped.  Next year i will be able to write off many fun things – because i’m professionally blogging about do-it-yourself stuff!  Now as long as i document it a portion of the project expenses should be deductible.