Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Filing Taxes from China

"Just e-file, it's so easy!"

This may be true for many, but it is not in my case. Granted, it is the best option I have for filing my taxes from here if I ever want my information to reach the IRS; however, I will not call it easy. Or rather, I will not call it simple. It's still pretty easy, but it's kind of time-consuming the way I have to do this.

I'm getting a refund this year, so I would like it to be directly deposited into my bank account. I live on different business hours than people in the states, so when I didn't know my routing number and didn't have any checks to reference, I thought I'd look at my bank's website and get the answers. I was quickly reminded of how useless my bank's website is, and couldn't find the routing number anywhere. Then I tried my other bank's website. Nothing. So I wrote my mother an email and waited the couple of hours it took for her to wake up for the day and write me back. Then I returned to filing my taxes.

I was almost done and ready to e-file, but then there was something about an electronic signature that was being mentioned for the first time. It's very easy, you know. You just have to get last year's tax documents, find your adjusted gross income, or AGI as the tax people call it, and put that information in with the electronic signature. Oh yeah. No problem. Let me just pull out last year's tax documents that I brought with me to China...

...oh wait. I didn't bring them. What was I thinking! Of course I need to bring last year's tax documents with me while studying abroad. After a similar sarcastic outburst in my room, I looked into the other options for getting the signature taken care of and my taxed filed. The other option was to sign a piece of paper and mail it in. However, with that option, I'm right back where I started with not being sure if it will ever get to the IRS because I'm dealing with China Post here. Also, I don't have the luxury of a convenient printer here.

I read some more fine print about the electronic signature, and I found that I can call the IRS to get my AGI. Ah, now there's some thinking. I was happy to see that TurboTax Online wasn't comprised of a bunch of hacks, and that they actually knew what they were doing. So I set up Skype, put my headphones on, and called the IRS.

"We're sorry. Due to current technical difficulties, we are unable to answer your call at this time."

At what time? Tax time? I called within your business hours, Mr. IRS. Pick up your phone.


At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Public Key Infrastructure said...

Amazing ! This is great to know that you are filing your taxes from here if you ever want my information to reach the IRS. I don't have any idea like this..this is really good thing for everyone.


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