Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dutch taxes

Andrew and I filed for an extension for submission of our Dutch and American taxes. It's all very complicated, and it's pretty normal to get extensions from what we've heard.

We have a company here in the Netherlands (Amsterdam) doing our Netherlands taxes and a guy that we used last year in Los Angeles working on our U.S. taxes. We have to file The Netherlands first and then the U.S. taxes get filed with a copy of the Netherlands taxes attached.

The other day we received a letter from the person filing our Dutch income tax return. We had to file separately this year because I didn't move here full-time till last June.  Andrew receives what is called a 30% ruling:

Financial consequences

Based these conditions you may be eligible for the 30% ruling, but what does it actually mean? From a tax perspective, the salary agreed upon between the employee and employer will be reduced by 30%. In return, the employee should receive a 30% reduction as reimbursement for expenses. This is the most common way it is done since it does not influence the salary burden for the employer. 

Because I'm not working here I do not benefit from the 30% ruling. However, I'm being taxed on money I had in the bank in the U.S. as of January 1, 2013! Sooooo, I owe the Netherlands €3,197 (excluding possible interest): €1,739 tax/national insurance premiums and €1,458 income related health care insurance contributions. Needless to say, we were not prepared for thaaaaat!
Next year we will be able to file jointly so this won't apply. 


Today is Friday, June 21st.  The tax saga continues! 

Yesterday we received an email from our Dutch "tax guy". The Dutch authorities want more proof that I was still living and working in the U.S. till June 1st last year...Apparently my W2  wasn't enough. So, I'm now making copies of my passport, my plane tickets from 2012, the house sale paperwork, my paychecks, and anything else that can prove I was still living there. Oh myyyyy.....all because I got my residency card in December 2011 because we had someone there to help us at the time. If we don't send in all this information we will be taxed more than double. Plus, with more paperwork.....of course, there is another fee for that! It's going to cost us another €300!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Open Garden Days and Protestors in Amsterdam

Our friends/neighbors, Bruce and Linda, had told us about the Open Garden Days that was occurring this past weekend in Amsterdam.


We decided to go, since we're always looking for ideas for our garden!

Before leaving Haarlem I went over and took care of Bruce and Linda's kitties, then Andrew and I stopped at Gary and Louise's to take care of their cat. They live close to the Haarlem train station, so we got on the train when I was done. From Amsterdam Centraal we took Tram 24 to the Keizersgracht stop.

The first place we went was Keizersgracht 672, the Museum van Loon where we bought our tickets for the walking tour of the gardens.

 They were serving a drink mix called "Campari", which we ended up trying later in the day....It's quite bitter.....we didn't care for it. It sure looked pretty in the glass though!
There was a boat cruise included in the price of our ticket....and was a "hop on, hop off" type of thing. It was a nice way to see parts of Amsterdam we hadn't see before!

Lots of houseboats!

We ended up touring through 11 of the 29 Open Gardens.....along Keizersgracht, Herengracht, and Prinsengracht. As you can see, we walked along Leidsegracht also!

Here are a few pictures of them:

We found that many of the gardens were not maintained very well or had little to see. It was a little disappointing. Maybe we're looking at it from "American" eyes and need to change our point of view.

In between looking at some of the gardens, we stopped to have some lunch at St. Jame's Cafe, in the Rembrandtplein area.

Well, the beer (Palm....my favorite!) was good, and the fries were good.......I took a chance and ordered a hamburger-thaaaaat was a mistake!  Mystery meat, that's all I can say to describe the texture and flavor of the burger. I ate about 1/2 of it only because I was really hungry. There is only one place I've found to get a tasty burger here and that is the Jacobus Pieck Restaurant in Haarlem....now they make a goooood burger!

Later on in the day there were some protestors that passed us by:


This morning I woke up with a different kind of headache. I did a little cleaning and was so exhausted I thought I'd better lie down for a bit. I woke up 3 hours later with a slight fever. Sooooo, I'm nursing it today with fluids and some Advil and just rest!  The weather is supposed to be warm tomorrow and I don't want to miss it!!!