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Street View Cars in #India #Travel

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If you get to travel far enough away from home that you notice how different the cars are, well, then you’ve really gotten away. Used to be I hardly noticed vehicles, but whenever we moved my brother always asks about the makes and models of automobiles. So this is for you, big brother.

Certainly the most eye-catching vehicles are what locals call “electric rickshaws.” These are usually two-passengers wide narrowing to one driver in the front. Colorful and plentiful, you can catch one most anywhere. Thankfully, our hosts provided a driver for their car. The rickshaws are open to all the noise and dust of the road.

I only spotted one BMW, one Volvo, and one Audi (was that one with diplomatic plates?), but remember my son and I were visiting Bengaluru (aka Bangalore) rather than Dehli or Mumbai.

What else did we see?

  • Suzuki models such as Baleno, Swift (lots), Astor, Zen, Alto and Omni.
  • Hyundais such as the Santo
  • Toyota’s including Etios and Innova
  • Mahindra Bolero and tractor of what I assumed was a local brand
  • Micraq?
  • Renault Lodgy
  • Hondas such as Verna and Brio
  • Skodas
  • Eicher trucks as well as trucks by Tata
  • Tata cars like the Indica
  • Quails?

I’m sure you’re more familiar with all these car models than I am, or maybe you’d enjoy Googling them? Many were small. Some were surprising large. Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.27.01 AM

Moving slowly through traffic to go only part way downtown took one and half hours each way, so you’d think my car list would be longer. Okay, I’ll admit I didn’t save the first list properly on my phone, and I lost it. Sorry about that. This gives you a good idea, though, about vehicles popular in one of the fastest growing markets in the world.

More about our India trip to come…

–Kristin

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2017 in Travel

 

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#Amsterdam #WhiteRabbit Crying

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On your trip to Amsterdam you may notice a signature white rabbit in the souvenir shop among the usual Delft blue and white pottery, wooden shoes, trinkets and clothing items. Who is this most prominent Dutch bunny?

That’s Miffy, the star of Hendrik Magdalenus Bruna’s story books for children ages 4 to 8 (or 88 if young at heart). “Dick” Bruna wrote and illustrated over 200 children’s books published in small format for small hands. Miffy and his other works have been translated into over 50 languages and sold more than 85 million copies. So, yes, you might see a good bit of this “konijntje” (little white rabbit). Miffy’s can be seen on toys, stationery, clothing, glasses, household items and more. Miffy has her own museum and is an icon at the famous Keukenhoff gardens as well.

Why would Miffy cry? Well, in one book Miffy’s grandmother was sick and died. This particular book brought the Silver Slate award home to Bruna. However, now Miffy’s creator has passed on at the age of 89.

Good bye Mr. Bruna. Thank you for sharing your talents with the world through Miffy.

–Kristin (I would like to thank the Windmill Newsletter for this information. Thanks S.B.!)

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2017 in Living in Holland

 

Does the IRS Pay Interest? #Taxes #Adoption

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Unless the envelope is orange-ish, most Americans don’t like seeing the IRS return address on a piece of mail. (The orange envelope contains a paper check for a refund.) Most folks know that if you don’t pay your tax bill by a certain date (or make arrangements for quarterly payments), the interest will begin to mount on what you owe. But does the IRS pay interest if they owe you money over a certain time?

Our family had some tax complications due to adopting children and moving around for my husband’s job with the military. Adopted children are initially assigned a temporary number, the ATIN, used on tax paperwork for up to two years while the parents sort out issues with Immigration & Naturalization, re-adoptions in home states (for international adoptions), and other paperwork that continues long after you’ve brought your precious child home. screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-1-43-57-pm

Unfortunately, we received bad information from an immigration official who told us our sons would have to live in the US for two years before we could apply for their citizenship. It just so happened that we were stationed in the US when we got this erroneous info, so we waited the two years. The ATIN numbers expired, we finally got citizenship for them and passports as the US Army moved us back overseas.

Problem, we were now living overseas and filing our 1040 with the IRS, but we did not have social security numbers for our younger two sons. The Social Security Administration would not accept Citizenship documents, or US passports–they wanted birth certificates from a US state. Federal stuff was no good.screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-1-46-16-pm

We tried registering foreign birth and had issues with our state of legal record because they wanted us to prove we were legal residents of that state at the time of the adoption. The state would not accept the letter from the US Army listing my husband’s legal address as also being my legal address as well. The fact that we both have drivers licenses from there, vehicles registered there, and even vote in elections there was not good enough proof.  Eventually we had to hire a lawyer in our home state and adopt our children again (which was very confusing to them. They’d been with us for over two years. “Aren’t you already our parents?” “Are we your children or not?”).

This all took another two years during which we dutifully filed our tax returns and continued to list the expired temporary identification number. After we filed, the IRS would send a letter adjusting our return because they removed our two youngest children from their equation.

Finally, we received those social security cards in the mail. Yay! It was a day to celebrate. It was also a day to begin our amended tax returns for the past two years. The most recent year we owed money because our book sales and one investment took us over the edge to pay for the first time. That amended return only showed us owing less.

For the year before that, however, the IRS owed us $2000, as shown on the amended return. We received a white envelope with the IRS return address and opened it to good news; the letter affirmed the amount owed was $2000. There was no indication any interest would be paid.

Did the IRS pay us interest on the amount they had owed us for two years?

Yes, they did. When our orange-ish envelope came, I am pleased to report the total amount on the check included interest.

Makes me wonder about that audit from so many years ago. Turns out, years of interest only accumulate if you owe the IRS, because you’ve only got three years to file that amended return.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way a tax professional, and this blog does not constitute advice on tax issues. If you have a situation, please consult the IRS or your own personal tax professional.)

Related Posts:

How My Audit Happened

How to Amend Your Federal Tax Return

Adoption Tax Credit 2016

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Kristin King is a paranormal fiction author, military spouse, and mother to four sons. She is contracting new covers for her vampire series, after which the first novel will become a free ebook. Rather than blogging about books and writing, which would make too much sense, she blogs about travel, food, living abroad, current events and other random topics.

 

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2017 in Adoption, In The News

 

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#India Travel Tips

Quick notes along the way…

  • Food on Amsterdam to Delhi connection may already be hotter than usual
  • The exchange booth may say daily limit is 5000 rupees, but if the older gentlemen doesn’t want your bills he will only let you exchange 75 euro
  • If in doubt, use India embassy for Visa instead of e-tourist online visa. We were stuck at immigration for 2 hours. Whatever you do, don’t try “visa on arrival” where folks appeared to be camping out.
  • Person meeting you at the airport may not be allowed inside. Go on out, walk back and forth conspicuously and they’ll find you. 

More later..

–Kristin (Not used to writing on phone but giving it a go.)

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2017 in Living in Holland

 

How My Audit Happened #Taxes #IRS #Audit

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(Disclaimer: I am in no way a tax professional, and this blog does not constitute advice on tax issues. If you have a situation, please consult the IRS or your own personal tax professional.)

A number of years ago I took a job through the local military chapel that was a “contract” position. In other words, I was responsible as a self-employed person to report the income which totaled all of about $800 for the year. Things got sticky when I sub-contracted some of my days only making and then claiming the smaller amount of income I actually received. The chapel, of course, reported the total amount they paid.  I didn’t know how to keep track properly of payments to sub-contractors, and I didn’t think to ask the JAG Tax Office to work that all out.

That’s how the audit happened.

My army husband was stationed in Belgium at the time, and these were pre-skpye days (i.e. no cheap calls to US). Every phone call with the IRS trying to work through what was owed and what I had to document for the audit was painful although I have to give them kudos for gentle, professional manner. I, however, sat cringing each time the call waiting music stopped and the message informed me of approximately how much longer I had to wait. Those minutes were money going out of our family pockets for an issue that, when finally resolved, proved that the US Government actually owed us–$60.

I asked if they, the IRS, would send us the money which their own audit now showed we were owed?

Nope.

I’d have to go file a 1040-X, the amended tax return, in order to recover the money owed. By that time of summer, the JAG Tax Office was closed till the next year, and I was ready to put the whole audit ordeal behind me. I never filed and never received that $60. I like to imagine that particular amount helped a young single mother somewhere.

Will the IRS pay you money it knows the government owes you? Well, it didn’t back then, and I suspect it won’t these days either. Not without a batch of new documents, which bring me to my more recent IRS experience and my next question.

Will the IRS pay interest on money it owes the tax payer?

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Kristin King is a paranormal fiction author, military spouse, and mother to four sons. She is contracting new covers for her vampire series, after which the first novel will become a free ebook. Rather than blogging about books and writing, which would make too much sense, she blogs about travel, food, living abroad, current events and other random topics.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2017 in FAQ, Living in Holland

 

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Little by little…

A boy stood up and recited his weekly memory verse at the after-school Bible Club in The Netherlands. He got the whole thing right, even the chapter and verse. His reward was handed over, a twenty …

Source: Little by little…

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2017 in Living in Holland

 

EU Discourages Credit Card Use #Travel

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While booking travel in the EU recently, I chose the credit card option. I had to screenshot the fees I would have incurred. $24.99 for using a credit card, OR I could use a debit card (for automatic draw from bank) for free. That’s what I call discouragement.

Adjusting to a cash & pin society in the Netherlands has not been too difficult. It was a shock at first to enter stores, big stores selling loads of products, that refused to accept credit cards. The practice is wide spread here although you may not notice if you stay close to tourist areas in the summer.

Don’t be surprised though if stores, restaurants or other vendors refuse to touch your credit card in Holland.

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Kristin King is an author and co-founder of Future Hope Africa, an education and entrepreneur training center in DR Congo. She encourages you to visit Future Hope Africa on the web.

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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Living in Holland