Thursday, January 14, 2016

The things they don't tell you

Prior to heading off for my travels I did a nauseating amount of research.

I could detail it all out for you, including pictures of notebooks and scrap paper with random names, websites, and illegible words, but I will spare you the excitement and instead tell you what I somehow managed to miss. 

Taxes. They exist everywhere. 

How this concept escaped my scope of study, the world may never know. Of course I knew taxes existed everywhere, but I had no idea how they worked or applied to me. I also figured if preparing myself to be taxed was a significant hurdle then maybe all my handy dandy research would have given me jumping lessons or something.

I am amazed that not one place in all my google searching said anything about applying for a tax ID number, opening a foreign bank account, making sure your bank is cool with sending money to a foreign bank account, making sure your foreign bank account is cool with sending money back to your home country. No website informed me that the Tax ID office in New Zealand requires you to make copies of all your important documents before coming in, and they will not supply their own application as the internet should have told you to fill it out before you arrived.

SO today, I stood in a large office, where four foreigners looked longingly at the woman who presumably goes in to the back and conjures up our magic taxation numbers. I observed the large desk, the large empty space, the large printer/copy machine sitting beyond the space and the desk, and I listened so her "regretfully" explain her inability to copy the British man's passport. And i wondered, why is this a surprise to me? After months of sitting in Coffee shops, living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, cars, restaurants, basements, and cabins, researching everything New Zealand, why did everyone make it sound like this was a magic taxless land where income flows freely into the pockets of willing and able foreigners untouched by the hands of government mandates?

People of the world, hear me loud and clear. Don't wait until you are applying to pick fruit to discover the government needs some of your income.

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