A taxing endeavor

US Returns

Monday 8PM-10PM

  • After four months of building dread, finally drag myself in front of the computer and fire up TurboTax
  • Run through 50 screens of income, deductions, foreign residency tests, “making work pay” credits, and more fun stuff
  • Run it again because I’m paranoid
  • Cookie break
  • Google “US tax returns 2010 expatriate Spain” for a while before figuring I’ve done the best I could
  • Get set to e-file, then discover that I can’t (no clear reason given)
  • Save a PDF of my return and log out
  • Watch Stewart and Colbert to detox

Tuesday 7PM-8PM

  • Print out PDF, write check, address envelope
  • Have sudden paranoid feeling, begin Googling “US tax returns 2010 expatriate Spain”
  • Stare at tax treaties until cross-eyed
  • Throw hands in the air
  • Stuff return into envelope, seal, to be mailed certified sometime later this week
  • Cookie reward

Total Time: 3 hours (plus 4 months of procrastinating/dreading, plus 20 minutes of standing in line at the post office)
Total Cost: TurboTax fees

Spanish Returns

Tuesday 8PM-8:15PM

  • Go to government website
  • Receive access key by text message on my phone
  • Download a draft of my return in PDF format and review the figures that have been entered there by the agency
  • Approve the proposed tax amount
  • Provide bank account number for payment
  • Log out

Total Time: 15 minutes
Total Cost: zero