Pouring Over Tax Forms

Click to enlarge: Tax Clearance Certificate, India 1982

Tax Clearance Certificate, India 1982

Dedicated to all my friends in the U.S. of A., (especially Tyler Monson of O.R.A. and Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer, the latter even half-heartedly interrupting blogging for this occasion), sweating now filling out their tax forms.

1981, after having finished my service in the German army, I started for a lengthy trip through Nepal and India. Extending the visa in both countries was no problem, leaving Nepal was easy as well, just India took it more seriously: Administration was functioning well (and I was warned beforehand), so before being allowed to leave the country after a trip exceeding the simple tourist 3 month period, I had to go to the tax office in Tiruchirapally and meet the officer in charge. My memories are already somewhat faint, but the office was in a semi-high-riser concrete building, dusty and hot even in India winter, and after some benevolent conversation and filing of forms, I received that tax clearance certificate. The original forms were put in a folder, wrapped with official two-color thread and put into the filing room, where I grasped just a glimps of the piles of files in there – I did’t dare to ask to take a picture at that time.

Anyhow, in comparison to the tax form work I have to do now every year, this really was the most pain free one.


  1. Nice, Markus. The easiest one that we have here is called a 1040 EZ. It is a single page tax form and can be filled out in a few minutes. Once you go beyond that, it gets a bit more complicated. 🙂 This tax form looks like a breeze! Ah, if they all could be so simple.

    Hmmm. That reminds me. I need to write a check to the state of North Carolina. Seems that they think that I owe them more than they took out of my check. Curses!

    1. Paul, we don’t have such simple forms in Germany either 🙁 . Minimum for a single working person is 7 pages with roughly 30 lines to fill in, and for every person add 3 other pages. But whilst I hate doing my taxes most of the times the outcome is positive, i.e. getting back some money.

  2. Thank you for your kind thought, Markus.
    Since I began paying taxes (1961?) I have always done them myself—like taking pride in driving a vehicle with manual transmission. While it has gotten more complex over time, I gained the help of computer software on my Mac.
    Thanks to technology, this year I was done the same day I started—although the stack of forms and supporting documents was over 2.5 cm thick!

    1. Taxes for me seemed complicated at first, but with some software to avoid typing the same thing again and again, it usually is done faster as expected. But with 3 copies of all the receipts, one for the IRS, one for the tax assistant and one for my files, I think I printed/copied 150 pages last year! But then, our society runs reasonably well and I do appreciate this, so I see no need to turn to those ‘lean state’ advocates – most of them anyhow only want to maximise individual profit.

  3. Thanks for reminding me what I _should_ do instead of what I am doing these days (i.e. rummaging in the garden and going for photo-walks.) But hey, no demand note so far ;-).

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