samedi, avril 04, 2009

Taxes and other demons

Well, I managed to sleep in thunderously late and feel all groggy. I didn’t fare much better when I started preparing to file my taxes.

You see, normally UofC’s office of international affairs (i.e., int’l students like me) offers an online tax application that helps you prepare your federal tax returns. However, this is only if you qualify as a non-resident alien. Somehow, I’ve managed to maintain that status for years before, but as of this year I count as a resident alien, which means I’m beholden to the same tax regulations as regular U.S. citizens. This is great in some instances (i.e., no taxation on scholarships), but it has its downsides. To wit, this online application won’t help me prepare my tax return as a resident alien, and most of the free tax-filing programs in the U.S. (for low-income folks) don’t know how to handle filing for resident aliens.

So I spent about 8 hours today scouring the web for the appropriate documents, reading pages upon pages of instructions, and hobbling my way through my own return. It was a colossal pain in the ass, I tell you, and I had a headache to show for it.

After all of it, though, I was able to get out of the apartment for a bit for some drinks. I headed to a friend’s bar, called “Ave Maria,” which was only a few blocks away from my place. The theme was Brazilian / pan-Latino apparently, with the appropriately kitschy and brightly-coloured décor. The place was packed waaaay more than I would’ve expected. I also didn’t realize that it was a restaurant as well as a bar, which became clear when I walked in and the whole place was rammed with tables that had every seat taken by diners and drinkers. Fun!

My friend was working at the bar, which made chatting with him pretty difficult, but we managed to say hello and he threw me a free mojito, so all was well. A little while later, a Franco-American friend of mine appeared in my neighborhood, so I went to pick her up from the métro station and then we headed over to On Cherche Encore to see Fantômette spin with another friend of ours. Unfortunately, everybody was apparently burnt out from the previous night (there were three big events going on), so the turnout was pretty disappointing. On the upside, though, I was able to chat with Fantô and introduce her to my Franco-American friend as well. Hooray for sociability! To my surprise, I managed to stay until the end of the night, but once they started locking up, I headed off home.

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