When you’re taking up on the challenge to explore a foreign country, the last thing on your mind would probably be taxes. Taxes are definitely not the most pleasant part of your journey, but being aware of the basics might save you a headache when it’s tax time.
1. Important Things to Know
No matter where you work and what your job is, you will have to pay taxes – sometimes tax is deducted from your wages but sometimes it’s not and you’re supposed to pay this on your own. Make sure that you take a look at your pay check and find out if tax is being deducted and if anything seems suspicious – talk to the accountant/payroll or your boss.
If no tax is being deducted from your wages, you might be employed as a contractor/self-employed which puts you in a different situation – you need to take care of your taxes personally. In this situation, your company pays you the full amount you’re owed but you need to figure out how much tax you need to pay to the tax office in the country where you’re employed and you need to pay tax later on (usually at the end of their financial year). It is important to check when does the tax year start and when it ends in the country where you work.
2. Keep Records of Your Employment
Tax laws are so different in all countries that you just can’t tell what you will need to know. There are things however which will be definitely useful. Make sure you keep records of the following information:
- Where did you work?
- When did you start and when did you finish?
- Keep all the pay checks you receive (ask for these if you’re not getting them)
- Keep any receipts from expenses related to your work
3. Tax Returns
Filing a tax return is something we need to do every year. By filing a tax return you basically report how much you earned and how much tax you paid. The process has been simplified in some countries and everything can be done online, but in many other countries, you will need to do some paperwork and send it to the tax office.
In general, the form which has to be filled in requires a description of your employment as well as documents to support this information, such as pay slips/payment summaries/invoices, receipts etc.
4. Do it Yourself vs Using a Tax Agent
No matter what they offer us, we will always tend to ask ourselves “Can I do it on my own?” And the answer is yes – we can file a tax return on our own and the main advantage if doing so is that it’s for free. A quick research might do the job and depending on the tax system and the requirements to file a tax return, this could be very simple. There are also plenty of guides and forums which will tell you what to do.
On the other hand, there is an option to pay a company or an accountant to do this for you. They will prepare your tax return and tell you whether you need to report this to the tax office in your home country as well.
Using a tax agent means that a specialist will be looking after your application and will make sure that you provide all of the information required by the tax office, that this information is all correct and you won’t end up with a debt instead of getting some money. Tax consultants also have the knowledge to tell you how to boost your refund to the maximum in a legal way.
Disclosure: Taxback.com is an affiliate of Backpacker Travel. Click here for more information.