I need 1,250 CZK tax refund to break even

Hello again my dear reader,

I’m in the unfortunate position of having to do my tax return for 2010. On the one hand, my former employer has hired a company to do this and I don’t have to figure out too much about it. On the other hand, this is all happening in the Czech Republic and I live in Bermuda, many miles away. So, when a letter is delayed on its way to me and I have to return it today but it needs to be there by the 15th of February, it means that I have to Fed-Ex it. Sending something quickly from here to anywhere is not cheap and it’s particularly not cheap to send to Europe. So, I paid $70 for the letter to arrive before the cut-off date for the company to file my taxes without me doing anything. I guess this means that I have to get a tax refund of at least that amount in order for all this to make sense. Damn, I don’t think this is going to happen.

Interestingly, pension contributions are tax deductible in the Czech Republic. This is not something I can take advantage of because my pension is held in an Austrian bank, the contract is in German and it would need to be translated and notarised before it can be used as evidence. So, a whole year’s contributions are lost that way. The result of all this got me thinking: what if I had not done the right thing, which is to file the tax return and just not bothered? I would have saved the hassle and the $70 and what result would I have? Well, if I was planning to live in the Czech Republic again, maybe I would have some problems with the tax man. But, do I intend to, you ask? No, at least not in the immediate future though most likely never.

It’s not that I didn’t like living in Prague, it was fun while it lasted. But, my biggest concern with the Czech Republic is to do with the fact that it’s quite hard to get out of it. Wages are generally quite low so you struggle to put together enough savings to be really mobile. And, any employer will look at your last wage and offer you a 5% or thereabout increase to take you. This is OK if your wage was competitive to begin with. But, I shed almost 50% of my wage from London to move to Prague.

To make a long story short, despite all the pain and immigration worries of moving to Bermuda, it should work in my favour long term. Not just because I get to do what I enjoy at work (technical work as opposed to low-level management with recalcitrant mid-level management and clueless upper management like in my last employer) and not just because the climate suits me perfectly but because if I decide to move back to London or even try my hand in the US (East or West coast), I should not expect massive financial changes. And, all will be done in a language I at least understand.

There, a small rant, it was always going to happen. Please check back for more stories, I hope to get Jitka to write about her scootering around town and to write some more about Athena who seems to be settling in quite nicely and enjoying the climate and extra time spent with us.

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