Another year, another fast and painless….

tax time!

Just like last year, I took the tax forms mailed to me (and those generated by the company I work for) to the Ximen Finance Ministry office. (It was beastly hot and the tax office is a 15-minute walk from the MRT station.) The section for foreigners is well-marked, with English-speaking helpers at each station. They help fill out a paper form, do a series of calculations, and voila! The total (refund or amount owed) pops up. Next, you wait your turn to speak with a professional tax preparer who checks the helpers work and does the final calculations.

Last year I got a refund. This year, I made 32,000 NT (~1000USD) too much to qualify for the 12% tax bracket, darn it. When the helper told me I was in the 20% tax bracket, I said “good for Taiwan” and she smiled. Of course, that “extra” pay was eaten up by what I owed. Oh well…

To pay what I owed, I walked 10 steps to a payment counter. They took my ATM card and within minutes, I had paid my taxes owing. Back to the tax preparer who printed a lovely blue “certificate of taxes paid” to be used when I file my US taxes next year.

Despite the fact that today was the last day to file taxes, I was in and out in less than 45 minutes!

Drag Queens

Taiwan Drag Queens

I was invited to a birthday party/fundraiser (for the Taiwan equivalent of the Humane Society) for a friend of a friend of a co-worker. In lieu of gifts everyone was asked to donate 1000NT ($20) to the animal charity. The party was held in an open air cafe/bar in an area of Taipei known for its colorful stores and even more colorful characters, appropriately named Ximen (pronounced she-men)! The birthday “girl” and some of “her” friends dressed in drag and lip synched their way (in English) through some torchy ballads I’d never heard before. By midnight, you can imagine that the crowd had had plenty to drink so it was VERY entertaining, to say the least.

New lipstick and haircut

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…