When I signed the contract to move to Denmark, I was told that my employer would provide income tax assistance with my foreign return for the first 2 years.
Since the Danish system calculates our taxes automatically and I am living in Denmark, I thought that the “foreign return” was the US return. Except, I was wrong.
This morning, I received the following reply to my request for assistance:
I’m sorry to disappoint you but you are only entitled to assistance with your Danish tax return and not the US one. You have the appendix valid for local hires from abroad and they will only be assisted with their Danish Tax return. If you have no other agreement than this appendix, I’m not able to help you. Sorry!
I hope you will find a way to solve the US tax return yourself.
How nice of them to help me with the “return” that isn’t even a return!
I am beyond angry that I’ve been dumped in the middle of a new country without any help finding a place to live, setting up a bank account, getting a CPR number, navigating the healthcare system, etc. etc. But this one takes the cake!!!
How the hell am I supposed to pull a rabbit out of a hat this time??? It’s hard enough finding an electrician, how am I supposed to find a US tax accountant in this freaking place?
I am angry. I feel defeated. I don’t know where to turn and I’m tired of everything being so difficult. I’m ready to cry “uncle” or just cry because just when I think I’ve finally reached cruising altitude, someone cuts the engine, again.
If I were a weaker person, I’d list my apartment and go home. But I’m not going to quit that easily. My Danish might suck and I might perpetually feel like I’ve been alternately kicked in the teeth and punched in the stomach, but it’s going to take a lot more than that to run me out of town.
But, sometimes it feels like too much. Just too much for one person to handle alone. I keep telling myself it gets easier. But when? It’s been almost a year. When does it get easier?
OK, this is probably the last thing you feel like doing, but: have they definitely given you the right ‘appendix’ (is that contract?). Even if they have, can you email them back and say: you took the job *on the understanding that* you’d be provided with help with your return (since the Danish one is automatic, you knew it didn’t refer to that), and you’ve made plans accordingly. Can they let you know what you need to do to access this help, because it’s part of your implied contract that they will provide it. I don’t know how big your company is but can you (politely) go over the head of the person who sent you the email?
Also hugs. I don’t know when it gets easier, but, you’ve achieved huge amounts!
Miss. S says
I found a little information. I dont know if its helpful or not but I wanted to send it along
I would also contact the US embessy and ask for a referral. Everyone working there has to do there taxes as well someone should have a name for you.
This is frustrating and I just wanted wanted you to know I’m rooting for you.
Sage, you’re smart – would it be so impossible for you to try and do it yourself? If you give it an honest attempt, when the IRS goes over it, if they see you’ve made a mistake, they’ll correct it, right?
If Shannon’s idea doesn’t help, I’d give it a go. You’re a bright person!
I am amazed that your company did not provide you with an assistant, at least for the first few months, to help you set up accounts, find a place to live, etc. You have been through so added stress trying to learn a new language, etc.
Wishing you an early spring :)
Traci / IntlMom says
I am continually amazed at your “stubborness” ((IN A GOOD WAY)) :) LOL!!!!! You WILL pull a rabbit out of this hat too…. just like all the other times.
Thanks sooooo much for letting this “little ole housewife” live vicariously thru your adventures!
There’s already lots of good advice here, but if none of it works, maybe you can communicate with a tax person in the States via Skype?
Mads and Kelli says
I am so sorry!!!! There must be someone in the home office of your company that can FIX this??? Is it an American company??If so, SHAME on them!!
I hate that you are struggling with this all by yourself! DK is tough enough to navigate when you have a Danish husband like I do. I cannot imagine how frustrated you must be!
Not sure if my previous comment is in a moderation queue or got ate by computer…
If there is ANYTHING I can help you with, let me know.
I really think your company should give you support with your taxes… or at the very least find you an accountant who can help you even if they won’t pay for it (the cheeky sods)
It does get easier but it takes about another six months and then it comes and goes in cycles.
Thank you!!! I feel so supported by your comments and emails :)
I’ll be sorting this out on my own, at my own expense, but I’ve gotten some great advice here. This is a stressful situation, but it’s not impossible. I’ll feel much better when it’s all settled.
This has been one hell of a learning experience in so many ways.
I am going to appear really ignorant here. Why, if you are living in Denmark and paying Danish taxes, are you also having to pay US taxes? It’s certainly not something that would happen if I moved to Denmark from the UK and seems very unfair to me x
Hey, Sage! If you download TurboTax, it will walk you through all of the steps for filing. Two years in Denmark and I still ask myself the same question :) Let me know if you would like me to send you my contact info. More than happy to help!
I asked my mom if she might be able to help you out. She does taxes for my grandmother, who has lived 40 years in the US and receives retirement-something from the US state, even though she moved back to Denmark a couple of years ago…
Government! I meant the US government. Sorry.
Den fede dame på elcyklen says
Contact the US Embassy in Copenhagen- they don’t answer the phone on Wednesdays. Get hold of one of the consuls there. Around tax-time after April 15th – they usually have tax help available. You have until June 15th to file yours, as an expat, as far as I recall. Denmark has a double taxation agreement with the US. Actually the most difficult part is the Danish tax with the deductions for US income. I have always filled in the US forms for my folks, but for the Danish form, we use a Danish accountant.
Pia (Sidse’s mother)
Den fede dame på elcyklen says
I see via the above link that you also can call US Embassy, London.
Den fede dame på elcyklen said… is my mom! :-)
A Belle says
OK, deep breath. We’ve lived abroad for 5 years now in various countries and this is how we handle tax time:
Look at Form 4868 on the irs.gov website, which is an application for an extension to file your US tax return.
In terms of actually calculating your return, we use TurboTax and we recommend this if your situation is not incredibly complicated.
We’ve recently moved to Denmark ourselves and I all I can say is, I totally feel your frustration.
Sidse & Pia, my Danish friends… thank you! The part I thought was complicating things isn’t as big of a deal as I feared, so I think I’ve got it under control now!
A Belle, welcome to Denmark and thanks for your comment. I think I might file the extension just to be safe. Better to have and not need than to need and not have :)
Oh, Fran, there are all kinds of awful things one has to deal with when we decide to move here from outside the EU. They do not make it easy :(
Thank you to everyone. I think I have the best blog readers! Together through your comments here and private emails, you helped me get a handle on this mess and it’s not nearly as awful as I’d first feared. Thanks for saving me from an ulcer and/or a total meltdown :)