Didn't plan on blogging today but as my sis just started blogging (blogging is just sooo 2004, Ali) I figured I'd better add her to my 'links' list.
Then I realised I didn't have a 'links' list. Silly me. And it's not like other people who read this blog don't have blogs of their own too: so Blaine, Andy and Nick also make the exciting new list. If you've got a blog and I can link to it but don't know the link (I'm looking in your direction, Becky), let me know and I'll add you. Not that it will help your Google PageRank rating much, but it'll make me feel a little less guilty about not having done it until now.
What news? Well, having left the university (notwithstanding the not unsubstantial expenses claim they have yet to pay from a month ago), I'm now full-time contracting on Stellent and Stellent-related systems, writing Java and - gulp, can you believe it - VB.NET in order to move various files around various workflows for an unnamed company. No diatribe on VB.NET today (I need to save that up for a blog in its own right I think) but overall the work is enjoyable and surprisingly creative.
Meantime in preparation for The Move, we've taken the step of leaving our house (on which the contract was up) and, with the helpful help of certain kind people, some of whom read this blog, we've moved to a nice apartment for a few weeks until the visa is granted and the US tax year ends, probably in that order...
The Visa Interview will take place on 9 October. Next week. Soon, and sooner than we'd been led to believe. Happily we have all the documentation they asked for, and more besides, so there shouldn't be a major problem with approving me a for a Spouse Visa, meaning we can move to the US and I can legally work there. If I'm approved, the visa will be granted in three to five working days, and that's that, we can up and move whenever we want (within six months).
Except for the good ol' US Internal Revenue Service - the taxman to you and I. Unsurprisingly, when we move we have to begin paying US Income Tax - in fact, Gloria almost has to do this already, being a US Citizen living abroad, although her earnings fall comfortably under the threshold where she actually would have to start paying. More of a surprise, perhaps, is that we become liable to pay income tax on all our earnings during the tax year, which in the US runs from January to December. Therefore were we to move in November or December, we'd get a whopping great tax bill come the spring on earnings on which we'd already paid a nice chunk of UK income tax. Nasty, but they're the government, who (apart from one day every four years) are an unregulated body.
It's not actually as clear cut as that, to be fair. Some portions of the IRS website, and some of the people you speak to if you call their "help" line, state that as a first-time first-year immigrant to the US, I'd only be liable to pay from the day we enter the country, although Gloria would have to pay in full. Other web pages and people you speak to say the opposite: we have to pay in full. The truth is that nobody really knows, and whether what we do is right or wrong depends entirely on who you speak to and how they interpret the rules. The simplest approach therefore: don't move until January, then there's no issue. So we're moving in January.
Meantime life continues apace - trying to find a decent shipping company (is air freight the better option given we're only shipping kitchen stuff, clothes and books?), giving away electrical equipment with UK voltage ratings and generally working hard. We have a couple of weeks vacation in Italy coming up in a few weeks, our first real break since Christmas in Texas, so I'd better try and learn some of the language.
Anyone know the Italian for 'pasty'?