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Do other countries have to file taxes like the US?
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Apr 15, 2013, 10:11 PM
 
Sorry for my ignorance, but I am curious.

Do other countries have to file taxes once a year like in the US, where you have to scrounge around for forms, and input data onto paper or via a computer?

And if so, is the experience more pleasant than it is in the US, where, I assume, most people dread April 15th?
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Apr 15, 2013, 10:28 PM
 
It solely depends on the country.

Germany is arguably worse than the US when it comes to the tax code and complexity.

Other countries, especially some eastern European countries, have embraced a flat tax, which should be much simpler when it comes to tax returns.

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Apr 16, 2013, 03:52 AM
 
Germany is probably worse, but our deadlines are more flexible.
     
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Apr 16, 2013, 08:12 AM
 
Sweden used to be like the US is now - I remember my father locking himself in his office for two weekends to do taxes - but some 25 years ago, we started the work to simplify the process. The tax code was simplified, closing a metric ton of loopholes while lowering the base taxes, and the local equivalent of the IRS started to give people an option of filing simplified tax returns. The simplified returns did not cover quite all cases, but they were easier for those that it did cover, and came with all the numbers filled in for approval. If you disagreed with one of the numbers, you could change that number and leave the rest as they were. Over time, the simplified version was expanded to cover more cases, and by now it is the standard version. These days taxes can be done over the web - or, if you don't want to make any changes, by text message. The last years, I've done my taxes in about 30 minutes/year.

There are attempts to introduce these pre-filled forms in the US, but obviously there are some people who don't want that.
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Apr 16, 2013, 08:37 AM
 
Oh, if only.

Here, they claim to be simplifying, but it's always the "fourth addendum to the sixth revision of the tax law of 1987 for the simplification of home owners' self-employment business tax regulations".

The first time I visited my tax accountant, he pointed at a foot-high stack of paper on his desk and told me that those were the addenda from the current year, about 80 pages were just one such case concerning the "simplification" of something-or-other.

He was only half-joking when he told me that the only way to fix the German tax system would be domestic terrorism. Blow everything up and restart at zero.
     
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Apr 16, 2013, 10:02 AM
 
During my time in the UK I never had to worry about taxes. Everything was deducted at source.

Of course, I wasn't married and had no kids, so that might be the reason for that. When we moved to Canada, the tax laws confused the hell out of me.
     
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Apr 16, 2013, 10:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Oh, if only.

Here, they claim to be simplifying, but it's always the "fourth addendum to the sixth revision of the tax law of 1987 for the simplification of home owners' self-employment business tax regulations".
Yes we tried that first, that won't work. One big reform - tear up the old code completely and start with a blank slate - is probably the only way to get anywhere. If not, you will have the special interest groups for every loophole you close fighting you every step of the way. Germany and the US will probably have it harder, though, being federal states with lots of little states that want to rule by the tax code.
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Apr 16, 2013, 01:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
During my time in the UK I never had to worry about taxes. Everything was deducted at source.

Of course, I wasn't married and had no kids, so that might be the reason for that. When we moved to Canada, the tax laws confused the hell out of me.
They're pretty much the same then. The only thing is in Canada you have to fill in the tax form even though most of it is deducted at source (you get a T4 for the things deducted from your pay (at source)). I assume in the UK, they don't fill in forms for things deducted at source?

It takes me about 1 - 1.5 hours to fill in my Canadian individual tax return on my computer; and it usually takes me that long because I double check my numbers. There aren't that many forms and it's just filling in exact copies of the tax receipts you receive (T4, T5, RRSP info, etc.) in the software. If you want to complain about forms, look at a corporate or business tax return.
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Apr 16, 2013, 01:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post
They're pretty much the same then. The only thing is in Canada you have to fill in the tax form even though most of it is deducted at source (you get a T4 for the things deducted from your pay (at source)). I assume in the UK, they don't fill in forms for things deducted at source?

It takes me about 1 - 1.5 hours to fill in my Canadian individual tax return on my computer; and it usually takes me that long because I double check my numbers. There aren't that many forms and it's just filling in exact copies of the tax receipts you receive (T4, T5, RRSP info, etc.) in the software. If you want to complain about forms, look at a corporate or business tax return.
In the UK there's no form filling at all. Tax is paid by your employer, that's the last you ever see of it.

These days my income is more complex. Part of it is straight up earnings, but other parts, the majority, are from dividends and profit shares. Figuring out the most effective way to structure all this is way beyond me. Thankfully our company accountant takes care of the personal taxes of the owners as well.
     
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Apr 16, 2013, 03:42 PM
 
If you are a contractor or self-employed in the UK, it does get a bit more complicated though.

I didn't think that income tax depends on number of kids in the UK. I've calculated that because I have 2 kids, I actually pay less tax in France than I would in the UK.

France has fairly simple tax rules, if you are just a standard employee. Like the UK, once you're self employed or have investments overseas (for example) it starts getting tricky.
     
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Apr 25, 2013, 06:45 PM
 
Many have to file taxes ... but not like we do : /
     
   
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