Japan Japanese Saroma


It’s a new word.  But I didn’t create it.  The Japanese did.

I’ve been having problems with my taxes since I moved to Saroma.  For some reason the tax exemption that I receive as a resident foreigner didn’t transfer from the tax office I was using last year.  Apparently I had to request an entirely new $35 IRS form 6166: “Certification of US Tax Residency,” which costs $35 dollars and requires the submission of IRS form 8088 8802, Application for United States Residency Certification. Well, until that document arrives (still waiting) I am being taxed.

The tax man from down below, Mr. Kobayashi (he also changes my PC password for me) explained the situation to me in Japanese; that once the district tax office received the letter confirming my exemption, all of the previously taken taxes will be returned to me, and I will stop being taxed.  As he was concluding his explanation, he says “puramaizero ni naru wake de,” basically “it will all even out in the end.”  Well, I almost laughed at him, because of the first thing he said, “puramaizero.”  It’s basically the title: “plus minus zero” phoneticized into Japanese: “purasu mainasu zero” clipped and blended into the much shorter “pura mai zero.” I just love this because it encapsulates a fairly complex idea with just a few clipped English words.  Try using it on your friends.

5 replies on “Plumizero”

No shit. I can’t understand that at all. IRS form 8088 has been around for years. I wrote this post last week.

Hey James. I found a good reason why it was the only hit. IRS form 8088 doesn’t exist. I probably should have written 8802 instead but apparently I was too focused on formatting the post and not enough on the content. Don’t worry. I crossed out the incorrect parts with strikethrough font just like all the cool blogs do. i can always trust James when it comes to detail. You’ll make a good architekt.

Now no one will accuse you of sneakily covering your errors to make yourself look better. And not to split hairs, but can’t you download the form as a pdf and not pay to have them send a hardcopy? The IRS has a great habit of making all their text fields and checkboxes active. The forms don’t do any basic arithmetic for you but I figure that’s to keep people from being too lazy and sloppy.

Ok, you caught me on another lack of clarity in my writing. Form 8802 is the form that you have to fill out and send in to request form 6166, which is actually the form that certifies residency for tax purposes. Damn. And, as it turned out, the IRS denied my request because I had already claimed residency in Japan for purposes of US taxation since moving here and filing taxes last year. To get certification of “tie breaker” tax residency, that is, dual residency but also dual exemption, I had to provide more documentation than I did. Luckily, the copy that I had in my files all along from almost two years ago was sufficient for the tax department in the city office, so I actually didn’t need to request the form in the first place and waste $35 bucks and three months of waiting. Puramaizero indeed.

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