Apr 17, 2010

April 15 marked the deadline for 142 million Americans and expats to file tax returns.  I find it difficult enough to grasp the Australian taxation system but now I have to keep up and keep track of the American system as well........this is definitely not a perk of being an expat.

Since Big Roo is not a diplomat or part of a huge multinational corporation, we are on our own when it comes to sorting through our taxation obligations in both countries. Our first tax filing experience in the U.S was not pleasant. We grossly underestimated the amount of tax we had to pay and were meet with a hefty IRS bill plus a late fee for good measure. This year we learned from our past tax mistake and fared a lot better. It was all thanks to the help and advice of our H&R Block expat expert, who in retrospect we really should have spoken to as soon as we arrived in the country.  You live in a foreign country and learn!

Yesterday was also the day the First Couple posted their tax information online. The Obama's declared a total income of more than $US5.5 million. His official Presidential salary is $US400,000 a year, excluding expenses. But the big bucks are coming from royalties of his two books, "The Audacity of Hope" and "Dreams from my Father". So when it comes to book sales, it's good to be the president!

I wonder if Australian Prime Minister (and children's book author) Kevin Rudd is going to be filing an Obama sized $5.5 million dollar tax return his year bad on his book sales. He has recently co-authored a children's book titled "Jasper and Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle". The book follows dog Abby and cat Jasper in an adventure in the grounds of Kirribilli House (official Sydney residence of the Australian Prime Minister). I will have to wait until June 30th, which is the end of the Australian tax year to find out. Who says public office isn't lucrative?