Tax Time, by Emily Winslow

Living a dual-country life sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? It’s delightful–except for dueling taxes.

See, the UK and the US have very similar tax structures, if by “similar” one means “absolute opposite.” For example:

The US “tax year” is measured from January 1 to December 31, reported on April 15th. The UK tax year is measured from April 6th to April 5th, and reported in January. If I’d written that two weeks ago you would have thought it was an April Fool, wouldn’t you? But it’s TRUE. I live this. Taxes happen TWICE a year for us.

But that’s not all: the two tax years require us to keep track of all our financial activity in two ways. Anything financial that happens between January 1 and April 5th belongs to one tax year for the US, and a different tax year for the UK. So, everything you would sum up on a tax return (salary, interest, property tax paid, etc.) is a completely different amount depending on which country we’re telling.

Oh, and everything has to be translated into all pounds or all dollars for their respective returns.

We are LUCKY to have jobs. We are LUCKY to have income on which to pay taxes. We are LUCKY to be part of two countries, two cultures, two histories. But, man, when you’re filling out your 1040 this week, remember: it could be WORSE. You could be doing this again in eight months, with a completely rearranged version of most (but not all!) of the same numbers. Next January, think of me! While you’re cleaning up after whatever holiday you’ve vigorously celebrated and compiling hopeful resolutions, we’ll be resolving and cleaning up alongside you–AND doing our British taxes.

7 Replies to “Tax Time, by Emily Winslow”

  1. That, for me, would be absolutely miserable! I’m going to try to not complain about organizing my taxes any more….

  2. By “we” do you mean you? Because when I say, “We add up all our receipts, etc.” there’s only ME in that “we.” 🙂

    Good luck! I feel for you!

  3. For years and years a writing buddy of mine would say, “I don’t even bother with taxes and nothing’s happened yet.” Well, the IRS caught up with him. He’s the same guy who got paid 50k for a book he didn’t write! Somehow he always lands on his feet though.

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