But never mind all that because it’s beside the point. The taxes I filed today were for my home of the past year, Taiwan, known officially as the Republic of China. To do so, I simply walked around the corner from my apartment to my district tax office. I walked in, was handed a number from an attendant, and took a seat. A few minutes later, my number flashed across a screen directing me to counter 9. The tax bureau representative couldn’t speak English, but there was no need for her to. All she needed was the ID number from my alien registration card (ARC), which enabled her to pull up my tax documents from a digital database on her computer, print them out, and then direct me to a computer station to file them.
Today, I went to file my taxes. Not my U.S. federal taxes, mind you, because I’ve never done that before. I’m actually still trying to fill out the various IRS forms I’m required to file so I can submit them for the past three years. You see, it was only in the past year that learned I still have to file U.S. taxes despite my living and working abroad. As a matter of fact, the United States is one of only two countries in the world that taxes its expatriate citizens; the other is the tiny dictatorship of Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. Strange bedfellows.