Everyday Asia

Home » Discovering difference » Will it be ‘smooth sailing’ or more vexing tax troubles?

Will it be ‘smooth sailing’ or more vexing tax troubles?

Global views


I’ve shared past tax grumblings… Now I know you are waiting with bated breath for the update (yeah right!) So… drum roll please!

1. Conundrum of a Canadian living in India working all over Asia

Solved and filed just in time for my flight to Amsterdam… I wanted to ensure it was done, dusted and forgotten (for now).

I’ve dutifully declared earnings less permitted expenses, discovered that earlier estimates of advance tax paid was actually overly generous so it seems that a refund is in order.

Think I will have 'smooth sailing' this year?

Any ‘smooth sailing’ for me this year?

Now I will simply have to trust the higher tax powers that perhaps maybe possibly this year all will go smoothly. (hope springs eternal!)

However I’ve learned that even when you THINK you have done everything right… it isn’t necessarily so simple.

‘Cus NOTHING is quite so straightforward in India folks! And if I had any doubt… just check out the next update…

2. The government REFUSES to admit it owes me money!

Alas my earlier tax filing is still causing headaches. Some may recall my tale that the government owes me money?

And another notice... more money!

And another notice… more money!

What began as an odd ‘adjustment‘ of mere pennies from other tax years refund, turned out be the government ‘losing‘ the record of my having paid hundreds?!

On figuring out the goof up, off went a rectification application clarifying that I had paid, proof provided and a request to update their records.

Did it work?

Nope! Instead of apparently owing hundreds, I received a response claiming that I now owed thousands of dollars?!

Say whaaaat?! 

You see… in accepting the proof of my payment in the initial rectification response, the tax authorities ‘lost‘ the earlier payment record of the TDS (tax deducted at source) paid by my employer?!


Which lead to another rectification application submitted with more proof and yet another request to pretty please update their records.


Don’t know yet… Still waiting for any word more than 6 months later… hmm…

All goes to show that while so many folks avoid taxes completely, apparently even when one PAYS you have to PROOVE multiple times that you have!

I wonder what will next be lost? I hope its not my refund!

Related posts:



  1. thewriteedge says:

    I’m actually a little surprised at how surprised you are by all of this. Surely you’ve been in India long enough to know this is actually the norm of how things work there…? What I’m waiting for is the bribe request. Or the “gift” request. Or the “suggestion” that by tacking on a certain amount to your “taxes” that all of this will go away. Has any of that happened yet? And do you know anyone who could help grease the system for you?

    • Quite true! I’m not actually surprised by any of it. In fact, I discussed with my CA how we simply need to EXPECT some kind of notice and file anticipating a scrutiny case.

      Which I have been through more than one. Of which all were without merit.

      The worst dragged on for three years all because I refused to give in to “gift” requests. When it was finally settled, the actual additional amount “owed” was negligible. However it was a complete nightmare!

  2. This reminds me on filling my first tax papers in Germany next month…hard times are coming

    • Hopefully you are able to sail off in the sunset laughing!

      I have misty nostalgic memories of Canada where it was a BREEZE filing!

      And even when salaried in India it has become less complicated to file even though I still seem to run into issues. 😉

      • I really wonder how it will be as before inFinland you don’t have to fill anything at all as everything is being calculated automatically by the tax office…

        • In a bizarre way, if you are salaried that kind of happens here in India already – tax is deducted at source every pay cheque based on information you provide your employer on your other earnings and deductions.

          Year end filing is a breeze as the information on your Form 16 is what you file – unless you have another source of income you missed declaring at the beginning of the year.

          Which is why all the rectification notices are so absurd as that was one year which SHOULD have been painless as I was employed with a company! Everything really SHOULD have been completely straight forward. Ugh…

          However have little doubt Finland and many other countries can and will massively simplify their taxes.

          • Oh well, the trouble starts inFinland as well when you have extra income….as we have now as we are renting out our apartment there. I wonder if they manage still to deduct everything automatically or will they come swinging with the tax documents to be filled next year? I am in fear 😀

  3. Madhu says:

    Ha, ha, I know it is no laughing matter, but I am surprised you are surprised as well 😀

    • Hehe! I really should EXPECT some error or tax scrutiny case by now!

      Since I started filing in 2004, I’ve been through so many for frivolous reasons – one took three years to resolve.

      All because my stance is “I will happily pay the government more if it is proven why it is owed but I will NOT line anyone’s pockets with cash!!”

      • Madhu says:

        Good for you! That’s possibly the reason why ‘they’ look forward to misplacing your papers 😀

        My father – in – law had to wait a whole year for his pension to be released just because he refused to grease anyone’s hands to get what was rightfully his!

        • Alas that is ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ around here.

          From the beginning my stance has been and will remain cooperatively firm in the face of bribery.

          I’ve also shamelessly played the card – ‘I’m a silly foreigner who doesn’t understand what your gesture to an open drawer with bills means!’ 😉

  4. expatlingo says:

    Yuck! What a headache.

  5. barbedwords says:

    Wow, any mention of tax and form-filling brings me out in hives but this takes it to a whole new level!

    • Hives, migraines, you name it! At some point, it just has to be treated as a massive joke… best coping mechanism is to laugh at the absurdity rather than dissolve in a puddle of tears or lose all hair tearing it out in frustration! 😉

  6. D K Powell says:

    Ah the fun of being an expat…I remember it well…you have my sympathies 🙂

  7. Sue Slaght says:

    Oh my freaking nerves would be frayed. Best of luck!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,659 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: