Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tax Time and Global Taxes

With the change in weather in the northern hemisphere from winter to spring comes another season: tax season. This sends most of us scrambling for documentation, tax forms and software or to accountants

As the April 16th deadline for filing taxes approaches people scramble to find the required forms, software and/or tax practitioners. In case you are wondering, Uncle Sam’s reach extends to everyone living and making money in the US, including NRIs and those on H1 Visas. And there are the quirks: For example, few immigrants and temporary workers realize that Non-resident Spouse can be Treated as a Resident (and one can get a credit for this too!).

For me, Tax filing for last year (2009) was a bit more complex (when is it not?) since I had spent the first quarter working and living in Switzerland and then in the US for the rest of the year. The US Government, like most governments around the world, levies a tax on income earned by most people living and earning here. For residents like self, one has to account for the ‘global income’ while filing taxes. Regular tax practitioners are overwhelmed by intricacies of tax filing when it comes to credits, accounting for global income etc, so while working with tax cunsultants, and researching on the net and tax software, I guess I have ‘learnt’ some of the nuances of filing taxes in multiple countries by virtue of my job: in the years past I had to file in Canada and the US, India and the US etc.

ps: Before you ask, I am not an accountant or Tax consultant. I am not in a position to consult with You on your tax situation: you are better off learning on your own or finding a good consultant. However, I will be glad to ping back with my experiences or other pointers though.
Link to an older article of mine on the topic of Taxes