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emily.37643

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emily.37643 last won the day on December 9 2014

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About emily.37643

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  1. Hi sunny, thanks for the well-wishing. It's just funny how concerned I was about things that now seem very irrelevant. I hope if anyone else ever reads this thread they'll ask me questions if they have them .
  2. Just revisited Turkey Central today for residence permit questions and had to laugh at this post of mine. We're still together and probably getting married next year. I can't believe I survived 4 years on that opening note!
  3. Hahah you guys rock. And I can't believe that story, Hobbit. That's nuts! I've taken a couple of naps and I already feel fine. Hahah. I do plan to return to the US, but in like...a million years. Thanks for the advice, again... xx
  4. Hey HobbitTR, I get the whole "they will find you" thing. I guess my point is that when they do, they won't find much. I've filed every year and I never owe tax. My concern is whether or not saying I'm an employee is enough, when my contracts say "independent contractor." The IRS very clearly states that employees living abroad, making less than $95,000, do not owe tax. I've read and re-read the definition of employee, and I fit it. But will the IRS somehow deduce that I should be filing as self-employed? (I don't even know if I should be!) If that's the case, I will be in trouble. My whole point with the original post was basically "has the IRS ever approached you while living in Turkey." Because if none of you have been questioned, and no one you know of has been "found out," my guess is that this is not one of the countries they are worried about. And I am definitely not trying to evade anything. I'm just trying to figure out how careful I have to be. Is this a walking on eggshells situation, or is the risk relatively light for not being 100% sure I'm doing it right. If you don't mind my asking (and assuming you're a citizen who files every year), how do you file? As an employee or a self-employed?
  5. Thanks guys, this was super informative and helpful. Yeah, I'm not sure what would happen if the IRS checked out my case. I'm sure they would just be really confused. The fact is that even if I'm supposed to be paying some tax back home, it's a really small amount. Don't they have bigger fish to fry? I was kind of hoping someone else doing freelance/independent work here in Turkey had experience with this. It would be so much easier to just say I'm an employee abroad. Obviously that means no W-2s or any other paperwork. Hell, even when I had a work visa teaching English I didn't get a pay stub. I'll let you know what happens and whether or not the IRS ever finds me. Thanks again, guys.
  6. Hi all, I'm sorry if this topic has been beaten to death, but I recently realized that I was very mistaken about filing taxes. I was under the impression that if you made less than a certain amount abroad, you weren't obligated to file taxes and would not meet any problems with the IRS. The truth is that the best thing to do is file a tax return every year to keep records, even if you owe no tax. In this way the IRS can only ever investigate up to 3 years back. So, if one day you have to pay fines or penalties, you've prevented a very serious situation by at least having filed a tax report every year. So, about my situation: I was contracted as an employee of a company based in the tax-free zone of Dubai Media City (the company has an office in Istanbul). I didn't pay taxes anywhere and I was considered an employee. Then, the company changed our contracts so that we would be considered "independent contractors." This happened mid-way through 2012. I filed a tax report in 2013 (for 2012) as an "employee," making approximately $20,000 per year. However, I now realize that if I'm ever asked to prove that by the IRS, they will undoubtedly find that I was actually working as an "independent contractor" and should have filed as "self-employed" (which, by the way, would require me to pay upwards of $3,000 in taxes...money that I definitely do/did not have)! Now I'm working for a new company under a similar premise. This means I do not pay taxes in Turkey, do not have a work visa, and should most likely be filing as a "self-employed" person abroad for 2013. I am exempt from normal taxes since I make under $95,000, but I still have to pay self-employment tax for earning a profit of over $400. Every month, I send most of the money I make in Turkey to a US account in order to pay my college loan, which runs me about $1000/month. The remainder I use for everyday expenses in Turkey, leaving me with nothing at the end of each month. I have no savings in Turkey and have barely ever saved any money since I moved here: it all goes to my loan (which I also claim on my tax return). I wouldn't really consider this tax evasion, since my loans are owned by the government, anyway!! So, the question is: am I going to wind up in serious trouble? What are the chances that I get flagged by the IRS? What do you guys do?
  7. Hi all, Just thought I'd fill you in about another of my experiences living and traveling with Turkey as home base. If you have a residence permit in Turkey, you are eligible to apply for a Chinese visa here even if you are not a citizen, but you do have to file a supplementary form. In fact, you can apply as a tourist, businessperson, official, or journalist quite easily. Fill out the documents, secure an invitation letter (as is required by China for almost all countries), gather your passport and blue residence book, and you're ready to apply. Here's the site for all that + a host of other possible requirements : http://tr.chineseembassy.org/eng/lsfw/ in English & Turkish. However, and quite sadly, what the Ankara embassy doesn't say in English is that for the Istanbul consulate you MUST APPLY THROUGH AN AGENT. Do not go to the consulate for any reason, really. No one there is even Chinese! I discovered this unexpectedly this morning, and in fact there are less than 10 agents that will help you get a visa in Istanbul. They are listed here (only in Turkish): http://istanbul.china-consulate.org/tur/lsfw/t321497.htm So now I'm back to square one...at least I have all the documentation ready! I just wanted to let you and the internet know this because the consulate is not easy to find and their hours are very strange, and it was a huge waste of time for me to go there this morning. If you have any other questions, feel free to send a message. By the way, this info does not apply to people with certain connections to China, apparently, because there were a bunch of Chinese-looking Turkish speakers there this morning, who I assume were either half turkish or Turkish-born Chinese nationals. Anyway, best of luck to all! As an American this was the first time I ever had to apply for a visa, and it has been quite complicated so far. Now I understand how some of you feel when you're trying to go to the US!
  8. Hi all, Does anyone know of a public library in Istanbul? I have a residence permit, so I'd like to check out some books. BUT I guess I would be satisfied by just having a place to hang out and read, too. As a note, I'm not a student.
  9. Hi All, I recently had to apply for a monthly pass (aylık mavi kart), because it turns out that you cannot simply purchase them over the counter at any kiosk anymore (apparently, this has been the case for a few months). A picture and ID number is now required on each monthly pass. If you use your current IstanbulKart or Akbil more than three times per day, you may want to consider the monthly version. The rate is 140TL. If you are enrolled at a school in Turkey, you can apply for a student card, which runs at 70TL. I won't explain how to do that because your school should help you. To apply, you must bring a photo (any wallet-sized photo, and they give it back to you), your kimlik number or passport, and 10TL (the price of the card). This office will not load the card, you have to go to an Akbil site to get the monthly credits loaded. The location where you can receive this valuable item is In Mecidiyekoy, near the Metrobus stop. Exit Metrobus, walk down the stairs and under the bridge, then take a right. Walk right until you see the small building, which will certainly have a line of people at it. The process is short -- give the man your stuff, and in 2 minutes you'll have your card -- but there are many people applying. You do not need any Turkish whatsoever to complete this process. I would set aside 20 minutes to be safe. The office opens at 8.30, so even if you work full time, you should be able to get one of these time-saving and money-saving items. Good luck! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! Emily
  10. Hi all, my adventurous self got up to no good again during Bayram, I took a 5 day trip to Romania! I decided to take the train there and the bus back, so I'll try to explain with as much detail how the travel experiences were (it's not an extrememly popular route). Train route: Pros (Leaves Sirkeci station EVERY night at 10pm, but buy your ticket a day in advance. Arrives Bucharest around 7pm the next day.) -The train is extremely FUN. If you're young like me and you like to make friends and get some alcohol in you, the train is definitely the best option. Although there were a few boring people, I met 10+ fun people within five minutes of boarding, and I was offered a beer in even less time. The conductors are also lenient and will even buy you food/drinks if you ask politely in Turkish at stations. You are not allowed to get off the train (except for the duty-free at the Bulgarian border), but as I said the workers on the train will accommodate you. -It's COMFY. They give you a pillow and a blanket and I fell asleep almost instantly. This was shocking for me, because in all of history I have never fallen asleep on bus. -The scenery is really fun, and the best parts of the country pass by in the daytime. -I can't be 100% sure but I'm gonna guess it's never very crowded. I left on the Friday of the biggest holiday for travel and I only shared my compartment with one other woman. That said, there may be busy times. But the train leaves every night all the same. Train route: Cons -First, the price of the train will surprise you. Everything on the internet, from Turkish websites to tourists guides, say that the train travel is 40 euros, one way, in second class. For a couchette, it's 50 euros. HOWEVER, as I came to find out while purchasing my ticket, there is no second-class option from Istanbul to Bucharest by train. The price, with this week's exchange rate, was 115 lira. Which is like...too much money for that. Even being bayram, I found cheaper flights, (around 100 lira one-way), but opted for the train thinking it would be the cheaper option. -Length of travel. Almost 22 hours on a train is not painful necessarily, but I had a short vacation and I had a friend waiting for me in the station -- it felt too long by the time we arrived. -Hospitality-- yeah, there isn't really any. It can be viciously cold at night and hot during the day (or vice versa??), and you should bring tons of food and water, unless you're friendly and cute and speak Turkish and can negotiate for it. -Extremely painful customs/border patrols. They take too long and they wake you up screaming TICKET! BAGGAGE! PASSPORT! at every opportunity. In short, the train was fun and I would take it again, but maybe for a longer trip so I didn't feel so stressed about the time and money. Bus route: Pros -So many choices! There are at least 5 bus companies doing the route, amongst which I can remember Vardar, Star, Ortadoglu, and Marina. I took Murat, and I was able to ask around for the cheapest ticket -- in the end it was 100 lei, which is about 25 dollars. CHEAP!!!!!!! -FAST! We lest at 4.30pm on Sunday and arrived in Istanbul at 3am! I was shocked, because they told me 13 hours...10.5 is much nicer! -Easy border crossings. You only have to get off the bus once if you're an EU citizen. I had to get off a lot because I'm "gadna amerikanka" in the balkans...which basically means stupid american. Bus route: Cons -CONFUSING. No one knows whats going on at any of the bus stations, and I was told to arrive at 3 for the departure point, but my bus didn't leave until 4.30, and they almost didn't let me on because the Romanian ticket person did not assigned me a "car"-- turned out there were 3 busses leaving from Murat at the same time, and we had to do some detective work to figure out which was mine. These guys do not speak English or Romanian, and I'm certain if I didn't speaking basic Turkish I would still be in Romania...hahahah. Also, YOU NEED A ROMANIAN TO HELP YOU BOOK THIS TICKET. IF YOU DON'T KNOW ONE, MEET ONE. First because all the offices are hidden in random locations in Bucharest, and secondly the pick-up point was even harder to find!! And my friend has lived in Bucharest all his life! -Random times/dropoff location. Although it was fast, getting to Aksaray at 3am in the morning when you live in Sirinevler can only be followed by a taxi ride, and Aksaray is not pleasant at that hour, either. Haha. There are some busses that leave in the evening from Romania, like 11pm or so. I'd reccommend that. -Scary freaking driver. I know bus drivers are crazy but I actually felt scared at times. And nothing scares me, haha. He was just passing like crazy down mountains/uphills and then would spontaneously scream at someone or himself inexplicably. Like, what!? In general, the bus is easier, but less comfortable and convenient. It's really up to you! If you can't decide if you want to make this trip though, I have to urge you to go for it! Both routes are fun and Romanians, Bulgarians, and Turkish are all my favorite kinds of people -- friendly and helpful. If you're an American girl traveling alone, it's even more fun, because people want to take care of you (i.e. give you food) or get your drunk (i.e. buy you beer). Just don't bring all your valuables and you'll be safe from gypsies, don't worry!! This was my 4th time traveling balkan style and I love it more and more!! Good luck. Emily
  11. Hi guys, you all have been so great with answering questions/offering advice, so I trust you, and I'm gonna recap a few of my problems with my boyfriend of 1 year. First off, I'd like to say that I've wanted nothing else but to move out of the country and teach English for a while to feed my addiction to travel/living abroad. Primarily I've hoped to have friends or a boyfriend somewhere so that this would be less hard. That said, it happened. I met the guy last year and he loves me enough to say hey, yeah, come here and live with me. Independently I networked and got a job offer and made seriously plans for moving to his city in Turkey. It's Denizli--he's been working there for 3 months and while he doesn't love it, he's said he'll stay at least a couple of years. But the problems lie within his family. Since he finished his military service in January, they have been relentless about getting him married. His dad has even said, I don't care who--just sign some papers. They were meeting families of interested girls while he was in the army hoping to find a plausible match. yeah, they are actually threatening to arrange one for him. On Sunday, his mom said he had to find a wife by the start of 2012. Or else. The crazy part is that they have met me and I *think* they have at least a small idea of how serious we are. So what I'm getting from such persistence is that they do NOT want him marrying me. Ok, I understand. I'm American (worldwide: promiscuous), I'm not very domesticated, I probably don't know what I'm getting into--put simply, I'm not worth the thought. Today we talked a little about it: he was like, hahah, isn't it funny that my mom thinks I have to get married before 2012? not happening!! he found it so funny. I didn't. For me, it's like some kind of death sentence. It pretty much dooms our relationship. The thing is, I feel like if he was planning me into his future like I do him, he would be like, "yeah well mom I have this american girlfriend, and I'll probably marry her--" even if not true, just to keep her quiet for a while. But instead I just feel like he's using me to procrastinate the impending marriage he has. Like, as soon as he finds someone wife-qulaity (obviously not me), he'll just drop me. Am I reading to far into this? Should I really be worried? I mean, if he's insisting that I move in with him (and even starting to set me up with students (his colleagues) for private classes, and testing my turkish, (and teaching be how to be more Turkish...) I just...he's investing in something. Right? Why do I feel so depressed about it! Anyway the decision is made: I'm moving to Turkey on 18 June. If he doesn't want me...well, there are other fish in the sea. Not the end of the world. But at this point I'm afraid I'm investing way more than he is...thoughts? (sorry this is so long!!)
  12. Just got an ivitiation to the oral assesment for the Foreign Service! :D

  13. my turkish boyfriend's sister just arrived in boston! so excited to see her and show her my village!! :D

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