While you can get away from civilization, or your manager, or your country for that matter you can’t escape the Tax Man. There is an old American saying the only two things you can’t avoid are death and taxes.
Since I was travelling for over four months I missed the season when my mailbox actually became important – tax document season. In fact, I was no longer sure where my tax documents had gone since I was unsuccessful in changing my address before I left. (I thought you could just do it on-line, but no, things had to be signed and mailed and I ran out of time, and in fairness to the Post Office that would be unsafe and how identity thieves could start having big screen TVs delivered to their house instead of mine).
So, my postal address remained unchanged and my tax documents were in postal limbo somewhere. I did change my address for all my online accounts to my new home in Texas which I am sharing with my cousin who only goes there during hunting season. Turns out hunting season wasn’t very good this year so he hadn’t been there either.
That left me scrambling to put together the tax documents that I needed to file yet another IRS 1040.
The internet came to the rescue. I emailed the few people who had paid me and got PDF versions of my 1099’s. For everything else I was able to logon and login to download tax documents.
The even better news was that my favorite tax software, TurboTax, was downloadable.
Given that my emotional terror of doing my annual taxes has me hunkering down to the task at the last-minute, waiting for a shipment of disks to Europe would have been disastrous. Not to mention there are geographic copyright issues around software and digital products that I have ignored and refused to think about.
Czech customs may have had something to say about my digital order (they are still holding our box from Nicaragua hostage because of something we plucked off a beach).
I am also grateful that unlike any website with movies or TV shows to offer, Staples.com does not care what IP address I am pinging it from. As long as I had a U.S. credit card it was happy to take my money and let me download to my heart’s content.
I know I would owe money this year thanks to a little windfall that funded my backpacking venture through South and Central America, and I worried about having to send a check from overseas. Not to worry. The IRS and the State of California were happy to take my money directly from my U.S. bank account. No stamps required.
So, even though the Tax Man Cometh, he cometh on the internet, which is where I hang out these days.