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taxout

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About taxout

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  1. Apply for US social security

    "NO, you do not have to apply for Medicare at 65, Medicare Part A is automatic (if you have enough credits) but you must apply for Part B or you will pay a penalty (10% per year) if you don't." This "advice" is dead wrong, and dead wrong on a very important point. You are automatically enrolled in Part A ONLY if you are already receiving Social Security benefits at age 65. Otherwise you must enroll in Part A. (Note that my comment above was specifically in the context of those not taking Social Security at age 65.) Here's the official summary: "Individuals already receiving Social Security or RRB benefits at least 4 months before being eligible for Medicare and residing in the United States (except residents of Puerto Rico) are automatically enrolled in both premium-free Part A and Part B. People living in Puerto Rico who are eligible for automatic enrollment are only enrolled in premium-free Part A. "Individuals who are not receiving a Social Security or RRB benefit are not automatically enrolled. These individuals must apply by contacting Social Security." https://www.cms.gov/medicare/eligibility-and-enrollment/origmedicarepartabeligenrol/index.html
  2. Apply for US social security

    There is an actuarial element in the calculation, but it's gender blind, though actuarially women live longer than men. So men, on average, don't come out even by waiting. (This of course is generally true of Social Security payments. Men and women receive payments on the same basis, though on average women live longer and collect more from Social Security.)
  3. US Passport Renewal- Are You Seeing Delays?

    I know you don't get your passport directly by mail from the U.S., but I somehow thought they were indeed mailed not couriered from the passport plant to the embassy/comsulate, though that may vary by country.
  4. US Passport Renewal- Are You Seeing Delays?

    I believe you can check the status online: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/after/status.html This worked for me when I applied for renewal overseas. If it shows the passport's been sent out, then assume it's the US postal service, which has been very very slow in the past year serving Asia. Four weeks from the US may be the new normal.
  5. Apply for US social security

    Even if you decide to wait to take Social Security payments, you still need to enroll in Medicare when you turn 65; it's not automatic. Part A is free. Part B you pay for and you'll have to decide based on your own situation whether to enroll in Part B, keeping in mind that enrollment later is more expensive and possible only during a limited time-frame each year.
  6. "If you are going to Shanghai or a few other major cities for a short trip ( up to 6 days) it's now visa free." Only if you are "in transit." For this purpose, you're not considered in transit if you fly, say, BKK-Shanghai-BKK nonstop, since your return flight from Shanghai goes right back to Thailand. Way around this is to structure one leg of the trip via Hong Kong or somewhere else outside the Chinese Mainland.
  7. Any U.S. embassy or consulate will provide this service. And it's free! (Ignorant of their own rules, they wanted to charge me when I had this done. If you have the same problem, just tell them to consult 7 FAM 885.)
  8. That's interesting. That's for the business account, which is brand-new. My comments above apply to the personal account, which they've been offering for about a year. I'd be curious to know how they handle the "real bank account number" issue. In the past couple of years Hong Kong banks have become exceptionally cautious about opening new business accounts.
  9. I don't know what STRIPE is and what it requires. But I do know that you do not get your own bank account number with NEAT. You get your own MasterCard number. That's different. You do get a bank account number at the Bank of China Hong Kong into which you can transfer funds for your NEAT card. But that's a general bank account associated with NEAT which all cardholders use, not your own personal bank account. Eact time you transfer funds to that bank account, you have to notify NEAT, either directly or in the transfer. Otherwise they don't know whose card the transfer applies to. So it's much much different than having your own bank account.
  10. NEAT is not a bank account! It is a prepaid MasterCard. Useful in the way a prepaid card can be useful if you don't have a credit/debit card, or want an extra card as a backup. But not to be confused with a bank account. Note that topping up the NEAT card can be awkward. Also note that only HK$ purchases are fee-free with the card.
  11. Social Security from USA.

    When I had a problem that wasn't easily solved, the person I was talking to in Manila escalated the issue and got a caseworker assigned to it, so there was one person in that office I could contact who was responsible for handling my problem. Otherwise, as you said, it's just scattershot whenever you contact them. But also as you said, they like to deal with you on the phone. Perhaps you can find someone with a phone who could contact them for you. If you can get a caseworker assigned, then you'll be able to get the caseworker's email address, which makes contact easier.
  12. SSI benefits and living in Thailand

    "In the 51st state where I live -- Canada -- border agency actually shares info with Canada revenue agency . . . "
  13. SSI benefits and living in Thailand

    Here're a couple of the instructions a Social Security agent follows after discovering you've been outside the U.S. for more than 30 days: "Explore unstated income when appropriate. For example, the recipient needed additional income for travel costs and to maintain a home while outside the U.S. "If a recipient leaves the U.S. without reporting the change and continues to receive SSI payments through a U.S. address, consider fraud development." https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0502301225
  14. As said, the turn-around can be about a week for a new passport. To do this, they must electronically transmit your photo and application to the passport factory. No other way it can be done that quickly.
  15. No, this announcement isn't about the requirement to be insured or pay a penalty. It's about the requirement to disclose whether you had insurance, or were covered by an exemption. Those living overseas aren't somehow automatically exempt from the requirement to be insured. They have to file Form 8965 to claim the exemption. Note that if you had Medicare Part A for the year, you were covered by qualifying insurance and don't need to claim an exemption, but you do have to check the "Full-year Coverage" box on line 61 of Form 1040.
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