Friday, April 08, 2011

are your papers in order?

I seem to have misplaced my common sense.

I had a series of small chores to accomplish today.  And they all went well.  By noon, I was done with my list.

But I knew I had two more things to do.  Two things I have been putting off for almost a month.

The first left me no choice.  My FM3 expires in the middle of this month. 

Last year, I applauded Mexico for jumping into the twenty-first century with internet forms for visa renewals.  And I still feel that way.

For some reason, I was simply not in a mood this month for government forms -- the reason will soon be apparent.  With the expiration date coming up almost as fast as my departure date for Rome, I needed to get moving.

I had agreed to accompany my land lady to Manzanillo in the morning to take care of a few chores -- like changing the telephone bill to my name.  And getting a faster internet package (I hope).  I am a bit tired of having each of my photographs take at least fifteen minutes to load.

And it seemed to be a good time to renew my FM3.

With that deadline in mind, I grabbed my Spanish dictionary, dug out my passport, and opened up the required internet site.  It took me less than 20 minutes to get the ball rolling.

In theory, when I show up in Manzanillo tomorrow, the process will have begun.  I will take along my passport (and a copy), my old FM3 booklet, a utility bill and my constancia de domicilio to prove my address, a copy of my lease, and the original and copies of my last three bank statements to prove I have adequate income for an FM3.  And, the item I did not have last year, a copy of my land lady's voter card.

Oh, and one additional item: mug shots.  Because I will get one of the new identity cards, I need front and right portrait photographs to accompany the application.  The photograph that will undoubtedly be used on CNN when I am kidnapped by leftist separtists.

Several people have told me proof of income is no longer required for renewals.  But I am taking mine along.  There are rules -- and then there are practices.

After pulling all of that together, I am looking forward to tomorrow's process.  I hope.

My second task is what has put me off of government forms -- perhaps for the year.

It is tax time.  And no one likes filling out income tax forms.  Even with software packages that streamline the process.

This was an odd income year for me.  I started the year retired.  Then I returned to my old job for six months to train my successor.

I had been an employee for the prior twenty years.  And for each of those years, I received an income tax refund from both the federal and state governments.

But not for 2009 -- my first year of retirement.  I ended up paying a rather hefty pile of Franklins to both governments.

To avoid that result for the 2010 tax year, I upped my withholding amounts from my retirement checks and asked my former employer to take out the maximum in taxes for the six months I was there.

Due to my great planning, I whipped right through the tax preparation software.  Only to discover that I owed almost three times as much in non-withheld taxes than last year.  I ran and re-ran the figures.  They were correct.

That was in early March.  I kept waiting to file my taxes.  I suppose because I was reluctant to part with savings that were the equivalent of buying a late model used car.  As opposed to buying a share in two badly-used governments.

But, today I decided to bite the bullet and slash a financial artery.  And it is done.

It is on days like this that we realize the road from serfdom is a two way street.

But that task is done until next year.

Now I just need to get my visa in order.  Getting deported is not my idea of a great Mexican adventure.

But, who am I to judge?

Note -- I am aware the photograph runs afoul of Godwin's law.  But some things are not to be helped.


Felipe Zapata said...

It's kinda nice being so poor that you never have to pay so much tax that you could have purchased a late-model used car. I rarely owe the Gringo government any tax money at all.

And to be a Mexican so you never have to mess with visas.

Steve Cotton said...

The first I hope to remedy this year. As for visa renewals, I see a long line of them in my future.

Don Cuevas said...

Tight one, Steve; renewing your FM3 just before you leave for Rome. But you'll make it.

Some of us like to live on the edge.

You'll let us know how it turns out, won't you?

Don Cuevas

sparks said...

In Feb. they wanted a copy of the first Passport page, constancia de domicilio and my old FM3. Nothing more except ... new pictures and money. I stopped by Farmacia Guadalajara in Cihuatlan for fotos for about 50-60 pesos. Fotos size infantil

John said...

We renewed FM3 in January - they wanted the financials as usual. Photos are 60 pesos and smaller this time around ;-) They are very persnickety in Puerto.

NWexican said...

Retirement bliss..

Tancho said...

Hopefully, maybe, perhaps at some time filing immigration papers will even be more streamlined, without having to do multiple copies and the same letters each can hope.

I am surprised that a professional as yourself, would not simply allow one of the myriad of accounting firms in your community to whom I am sure you have built a buddy relationship, would do you forms and you supporting your professional brethren would simply sign on the x along with providing distasteful bank drafts and be done with it?

Irene said...

You're going to Rome? Is it appropriate to say have a great time?

ANM said...

Lord Bothell, I think you circumvent, technically, Godwin's Law, by making Nazi reference at the start of your blog -- the snappy German NRA poster shot. Godwin's Law states that the certainty of a Hitlerian reference in any on-line discussion increases in direct ratio to the duration of the on-line discussion.

You simply by-passed that observation by starting out with the reference.

But, then, that is your reductionistic nature which always takes on a hyperbolic tint at tax time.


Karl Mannheim said...

ANM, I could not have put it better myself.

Karl Mannheim

Anna Freud said...

Oh, Karl, get a grip. Your thinking was never as clear as ANM's.

Anna Freud

Milton Friedman said...

Enough already! Such fractiousness is pointless. The market will take care of it.

M. Friedman

John K. Galbraith said...

Oh yeah?

John K. Galbraith

F. Hegel said...

Not the market, but Geist.

F. Hegel

NWexican said...

Or maybe buy the "current" videos that they sell at their tables.

NWex said...

Godwin's law?? Heee, I though that the guy was an angry boyfriend outside a bar on Polk St. SF.. Go figure..

tancho said...

not the same kind of leather.....

Steve Cotton said...

First update. All went well in Manzanillo. They wanted me to return on 9 May for my new card. But the very kind clerk had pity on me. I go back to Manzanillo on the day before I fly to Florida to start my cruise. Adventure at every step.

Steve Cotton said...

I took about the same pile as I did when you went with me two years ago. But you are correct. With my money, photos, passport (with copy of first page), old FM3, and constancia (one of the best suggestions I have had in Mexico -- from you), I was ready to go. It is a nice new system.

Steve Cotton said...

I overpaid for my photos. About 100 pesos too much. But it was an acquaintance who owns a business in town. So, I don't feel taken.

Steve Cotton said...

It is, indeed. And it will better when I have a tax year with no employment to worry about.

Steve Cotton said...

I was thinking of tapping a vein and letting my blood flow directly to both governments.

Steve Cotton said...

.Good one that.

Steve Cotton said...

It is. But more on this later.

Steve Cotton said...

"Hyperbolic?" I thought you would have pulled out "hysterical."

As for Godwin's Law, I thought I would skip to the chase.

Steve Cotton said...

It appears someone has been spiking the internet punch this afternoon.