Tuesday, April 13, 2010

taxes -- no death

I decided to spend my Monday performing a patriotic duty: my taxes.

Anyone who knows me very well will be surprised at that statement.

No.  Not the part of the sentence that places the words "patriotic" and taxes" so close to one another.  Even though it is shocking.

The fact that I have waited until April to complete and file my taxes.  I usually have them completed somewhere around the third week in January.

And this year was not an exception for the form preparation.  I had everything ready to file when I returned to Mexico in January.

But when I finished the forms, I had a shock.  I usually receive a nice refund.  Not this year. 

I owed Uncle Sam and Uncle Ted a sizable sum.  The total does not matter.  But I could take a couple of very nice cruises with the amounts I needed to pay this year.

So, today, I sat down to complete the process.  I always file electronically.  And I get my refunds electronically.

I was naive to think people, who need to pay, have it that easy.

For Federal tax payments, it is that easy.  Just set up the account you would like the Department of Treasury to dip its greedy little hands into, and you are done.

Not so the vaunted-progressive state of Oregon. 

If you owe state taxes, you either have to mail your check in or you can pay by credit card (along with what we used to call a "substantial penalty" for the convenience of paying what you would prefer not to pay).

Mailing the check is out of the question for me.  If I dropped the envelope at Mailboxes, Etc. today, I could almost guarantee that it would not be post-marked by Thursday.  (At some point, I will need to put together a post about my experience with Mailboxes, Etc. this past year.)

I took the only choice I had.  I used the credit card and paid the surcharge.

Of course, I could have avoided that step if I had simply written out the check in January when I knew what I had to pay.

But you can list the reasons yourself why I chose not to do that.

I considered simply carrying the check to the reception desk at the Oregon Department of Revenue when I am in Salem on Monday.  I suspect the penalty and interest for late payment would not be as much as the credit card surcharge.  But I hate paying anything late.  Even taxes.

My taxes are paid, though.  I trust that I will be receiving my good citizenship medal in the mail real soon.


Calypso said...

I don't file until October (living out of the country) Of course you do have to be fully paid-up by April 15th. Also my last U.S. address was in Nevada so NO state income tax (YES!).

We set-up an account in the U.S. with my wife's sister as a signer. I can email pdf files (like extension and tax forms)- she prints them and writes and sends a check from Nevada.

My point is set your mom or brother up as a signer on a good sized bank account -

Having lived in Oregon when I was earning a substantial living - the remembrance of their State income tax bills makes me shutter! Of course if you live there you 'enjoy' NO sales tax. They all get their pound of flesh one way or the other ;-(

In any case it sounds as if you need to do a little work on 'systems' to be living in Mexico.

Congrats on the taxes being filed - My sister-in-law mailed our extension and check last week.

Felipe said...

I use the Mexican postal system´s express service that´s called Mexpost. Never have had a lick of trouble. Costs a little under 200 pesos for a regular envelope. Send the paperwork via Mexpost, pay via the internet if a payment is required. Usually isn´t. Piece of cake. I just deal with the Feds since I am not a resident of any U.S. state.

Not keeping one´s feet in both countries any more than necessary is recommended for a relaxed lifestyle.

Gloria said...

Hi Steve. Just popped in to say hi and it looks like you are doing a lot better. That's good to hear. We owed as well because we sold a rental. They got big money from us. I despise them. Tee Hee! Take care.

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso and Felipe -- As soon as I finish the project up north, I will be moving my residency to another state. I get a little annoyed at Oregon siphoning off 10% of my income for its own nefarious purposes. Then I can deal only with the DC uncles.

Gloria -- And you must shudder when you look around and see what is -- and is not -- happening with your money. There was a time when I raved about California's freeway. I now just rant about them.

Howard said...

Mmm. Now what does that mean - postmarked? You are a lawyer so perhaps you can tell us. It is very common for contracts or laws to require a ¨postmark¨ to indicate when you did something. Seems to me if I hand a letter to the Mexican post office in Manzanillo, and send it double registered, it is postmarked the day I hand it in. Does not satisfy law?

Steve Cotton said...

Howard -- It very well may be adequate. I did not look at the regulations. But I was very interested in not raising any additional flags on this filing. Next year, I hope I will not need to worry with the Oregon filing.

Laurie said...

Going to the US in May to satisfy my Uncle Sam.

Steve Cotton said...

Laurie -- He is one of those uncles who will never be satisfied.