Friday, February 07, 2014

No more tax abuse

For the first five years in Switzerland with a Permis B my employer withheld my income taxes. When I graduated to a Permis C and later became Swiss it was and is my responsibility to save for my taxes.

Although the Swiss forms are fairly easy (about one page each for country, canton, commune) I'm numbered challenged and preferred to have a professional do them. My boss recommended a man, who is more than competent.

Our first appointment we spent most of the time talking about Bill and Monica. We dealt only in French and he quickly dubbed me his  cauchmar, nightmare. Each year he would rail that my accent was still terrible and that by now I should know which forms to give him. Even when I did everything right, he acted as if I were still mentally challenged.

At one time when I didn't get the right form from my bank, he took me to the bank, stood in the middle of the lobby and hollered "Can anyone help this poor, dumb American get the (name of form)?"

His one saving grace was along with his bills I got olive oil fresh from his grove but only some years.

Each year I vowed to change rather than put up with his general ugliness of disposition. I'm not a person who usually takes abuse from anyone. But laziness would prevail until it was too late.

Then when I renounced I definitely needed a US tax specialist to provide the multi-inch final declaration required by the IRS. My housemate gave me her accountant's name. What a delight to work with.

His partner does Swiss taxes and I met with him this morning. Equally delightful. I arrived drenched from waiting for three buses in the pouring rain and was immediately offered a cup of tea. He had prepped from the information he already had.

When I told him I thought things might not be complete, he said he'd email me a list of what I might need and where to get them. He answered several questions and accepted my warning of my numbers problems. We dealt in English, although we could have worked in French or Franglais.

We both agreed that paying taxes is the price we pay to live in a civilized society with good roads, bridges, education through university, etc.

It'll cost a little more but it is worth it.

Anyone in Geneva who reads this and wants a new accountancy who can do both Swiss and American taxes let me know, and I'll give you their contacts.

Meanwhile, no more abuse while preparing my taxes.

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