IRS individuality

Tax. I do not mind paying taxes. But I hate the yearly paper shuffling and reporting.

One usually doesn’t have to. Not as an employee in Germany. Your employer does that for you, data are automatically transmitted every month to the IRS and your due taxes and social dues are deducted from your wage – also automatically. So unless you run your own business, have two or more jobs, maybe pay tax in a different country, too, or have other income from properties or savings exceeding a certain amount (all of the above does not apply to me), you won’t have to do anything at all. Apart from accepting, that from every Euro you earn, a third to a half doesn’t belong to you – depending on your income.

However, ever since I separated from my husband end of 1998, I also had to declare, that the two of us want to be taxed individually. In Germany, there is this weird system of family taxing, summing up the income of couples, allowing for a much lower tax rate for families. But if you decide for any reason, to be taxed individually, while still being married (which I am), you have to file your income taxes individually each year.

Luckily, since many years, the IRS have set up a computer programm, with which one can do that online. Great stuff. As long as I was a proper Berlin resident, that is. Reporting to the IRS office in Berlin Charlottenburg. Never any hassle. No copies of anything ever asked for. No matter, when I filed – deadlines notwithstanding. Most of times, I got a slight cash back from the monies withheld every month from my paycheck. I just typed in my income and cost for getting to and from work, any additional business expenditure I might have had, any donation for charities or other accepted organisations, insurance dues accepted to go against my tax and alas! – everything ready. Shortly after, I get an official tax ruling for the past year, most of the times followed by some money (20 – 100 Euros) transferred to my account. Case closed for another year.

But not so in suburbia. Whereas it took the local branch of IRS three years to appoint me with a new IRS number and all, they are not slow with demands. As long as I was in transit with IRS numbers beetween branches, everything went as usual.

But now, that I am a figure on their screen here in suburbia, they show their individuality. They keep writing me letters. You have missed the deadline (May, 31st). for your tax report. Last reminder: the report is due August 31st, at the latest. Ok, ok, if you can’t wait to pay me some money back, you’ll get it (Sept. 5th, if I remember correctly – pretty close to their deadline, don’t you agree?). Then proceedings went again as I knew of: Shortly after I got the official tax ruling for 2015, my account received the incredible sum of € 15,27 and I was happy. Assuming, they were too.

But no, they weren’t. All of a sudden I receive this letter, demanding me to send in appendixes to my income report (receipts, prove of business travel and so forth). Oh my, they really want me to dig out all that paper? Just to prove, that from the grand total of 8.143,35 Euros of tax and social dues of another 9.005,81 Euros, they received of me in 2015,  I am due back the grand sum of  15,27 Euro. Mind you, this is after they have just accepted whatever figure I have punched in online for the last – what? – ten or so years? With pretty much the same figures turning up every year? The same old trips, I have to make, with nothing significantly changing at all? They must be kidding me!

But another deadline has been set: Feb. 06th they want it. So I will have a boring day today, won’t I?

4 thoughts on “IRS individuality

  1. I get audited like this every year. I go to the “Finanzamt” in person. I take out my thick binder of financial paperage and thump it on someone’s desk. They are always very friendly. Things get cleared up quickly.
    Is this an option for you?


    1. You do not, do you? That is hillarious….
      But wait, on the other hand, you might get away with it, playing with your accent. I have been doing it for so long now, I don’t mind anymore, as long as I can do it online. And on my own sweet speed.


  2. We gather papers, tally up numbers, etc, every year here in the USA. The tax code and deductions have gotten so complicated that almost everyone uses TurboTax or similar computer program to compute them. Anyway, good luck. We’ll be starting ours soon, in prep for the 15 April deadline. 🙂


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