Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Jeremy was in Chicago for almost a week, presenting at a conference. He came home in the wee hours of this morning, bearing gifts mailed to his hotel from grandparents, and lots of American treasures purchased at Costco. Ask me how excited I am about the two bricks of Tillamook cheese sitting in my fridge, or the bottle of pure vanilla extract in my pantry. The answer is: SO EXCITED. More than any other foreign country I've lived in, you can really find almost anything you need in Dubai. But there are a few exceptions, and now they're safely tucked into my kitchen.

Jeremy also brought home a stack of tax documents. About these, I am slightly less excited. I've personally prepared our tax returns for every year we've been married except TY 2001. More often than not, it hasn't been pretty. We've had overseas jobs paid by foreign companies, overseas jobs paid by American companies, part-time jobs, student grants, scholarships, contractor jobs, income from three different states in one year (AZ, UT, and NY in TY 2009), etc. I've seen it all.

TY 2010 is shaping up to be a big old mess. We've got Cornell income, which is as straightforward as it gets. But then there's the Cornell 403(b) that we rolled (partially, due to paperwork hiccups) over into a Roth IRA. We've got Jeremy's Egypt income. I have my income to deal with, and nothing was withheld all year. I also worked for a different company in addition to my regular job for a few months in 2010, so there's that. Then comes the American University of Sharjah income, which should be straightforward because it's tax-free, but there's a bona fide residency test to pass (and a form to fill out) first. Oh, and then there's the small matter of our foreign bank account, which - fun fact - is highly scrutinized to make sure we're not laundering money for terrorists...or something.

It is possible that I will spontaneously combust before figuring all this out.

The good news is that AUS has people around to help. I've been preliminarily advised to fill out Form 2350, which will allow me to delay filing for TY 2011 until we've met the bona fide residency test (i.e., January 2012). That is really tempting...but first I have to make sure we don't owe anything, because if we do, we still have to pay that before April 18. Since 2010 was the first year in a long time that either of us had a real job that paid us (relatively) good money, I don't have a sense for what our obligation will be. We could owe $2000. We could get $2000. I have no idea how it will shape up.

It's time to fire up my free web-based tax preparation program of choice and plug in some numbers. And then get some help from people who actually know what they're doing before I explode.


Crys said...

Ouch! I have these sneaking feeling that your "free web-based tax preparation program" is what is going to explode. So Jeremy did a Costco trip? See I told Jason living without a Costco for eight years has been a true sacrifice :)

Bridget said...

Hahahahaha - they really are legitimate programs, though, Crys. You should check it out. There is almost no reason to buy Turbo Tax or Tax Cut or whatever. You can do it for free via free file at

Liz Johnson said...

I'm so sorry... that sounds like a nightmare. Also, how sad is it that we've been eligible for the Federal Free Turbo Tax/E-file for like eight years running? Very sad.

Kathy Haynie said...

Congratulations on scoring some Tillamook cheese. Best wishes with the taxes.

Merkley Jiating said...

Wow. I thought our taxes were complex just for living in three or four states each year! Yours sound ridiculous!

Jill said...

Reading this made me hyperventilate a little


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