9 Mar 2012

Your government at work

I make a point of preparing my own taxes every year, to understand experience government at its most basic level.

I am filing them electronically, but there are still reams of instructions to read (I need to fill in at least 8 schedules).

This example (from D-11 [pdf]) is not so rare:
Enter as a positive number the amount of any section 1202 exclusion you reported in column (g) of Form 8949, line 3, with code "S" in column (b), for which you excluded 50% of the gain, plus 2/3 of any section 1202 exclusion you reported in column (g) of Form 8949, line 3, with code "S" in column (b), for which you excluded 60% of the gain.
Seriously? Is it any wonder that the US tax code is held to be one of the most-convoluted in the world?

In the Netherlands (as I currently understand it) you do not need to file taxes at all if you only work a salaried job. Investments, deductions, etc. are all handled automatically. I will report back on how difficult that process is -- even when I have to submit forms in Dutch!

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