Images by John 'K'

Life as seen through my lens…

When I grow up I want to be a tax consultant!

Random rant number 3: Why is the tax system so damned confusing?

Being a UK citizen who as of December has been living and working in the US, I have the dubious distinction of being a victim of the tax systems of both countries. This has opened my eyes somewhat to the way both systems work, and I’ve come to the conclusion that they are both overly complicated and less than ideal.

To start with, in the UK the tax year runs April to April, whereas in the US it follows the calendar year. This makes coordinating a clean split between the two systems is impossible. Then there’s the fact that both systems have interesting criteria to define residency and liability such that it is possible to be double-taxed on certain parts of your income, even though you can only physically be in one or other country at once.

Then heaven help you if you have stock options granted in one country that you want to exercise in the other, and as for doing things like selling a house in one country to invest that money in the other, the regulations and restrictions around that need to be looked at very closely if you don’t want to loose out!

I could rant for ages on all of this and more in some detail, but suffice as to say that if you’re in this position, you should either be very good at accounting and reading tax regulations, or be prepared to spend some money and engage the services of a tax advisor who is aware of the extra stuff involved as a result of working with the tax systems of more than one country!

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