Our post on how you can Never Pay Taxes Again has been quite popular. It has been linked to, shared, cited, viewed, searched for, and commented upon more than any other post. Many people love it, and are excited about the possibilities. Others wonder, “Is it real?” After all, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Let’s see what happens when the rubber meets the road. And what better example than to review our very own 2013 Taxes?
Stairs to the Xiangde Temple
The eastern coast of Taiwan is beautiful, with mountains rising straight out of the sea to enormous heights. Over centuries, the Liwu river has carved through the marble and granite to create the stunning Taroko Gorge.
The engineering feats required to build roadways, tunnels, and bridges along the gorge are nothing short of miraculous, and are rivaled only by the incredible natural beauty of the sheer cliff faces, raging river, and abundant waterfalls. And yet access to the gorge is only a few hours outside of Taipei.
Following one hiking trail might lead to a hidden temple in the mist, straight out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Another trail might bring you to a remote waterfall, and yet another to a cascade of water inside a dark cave.
Home sweet home for the next few months is a great 1-bedroom apartment in the Song Shan neighborhood in Taipei, Taiwan. Tree-lined pedestrian-only streets allow us to wander through the neighborhood, and we are only a block away from major bus lines and a couple blocks from the subway. Restaurants, food stands, and convenience stores are liberally sprinkled about, and right next door is a large traditional produce market.
Rent is 30,000 TWD a month, which roughly converts to $990. I think all Taiwan building complexes have a management fee, and this holds a special place in the minds of landlords. “Hey, can you include electricity in the rent?” No problem. “How about water and sewer and garbage?” OK. “Internet? Can you include Wifi in the rent?” Of course, that is included.
“How about the building management fee?”
“Oh, No, No, No, No, NO! You have to pay that yourself!” And so we pay an additional 1,500 TWD monthly (~$50), which as far as I can tell pays the salary of the guy that sits in the basement and receives any packages you may have ordered.
Taipei 101 and the Xinyi neighborhood from Elephant Mountain
Early in February we left the Western Hemisphere behind and flew East. After a 2 year absence, it was time to visit friends and family in Taiwan
Although a large part of the month was spent getting settled into a new place and catching up with people over lunches and dinners, we did manage to have some mini-adventures; mostly hiking and biking around Taipei, and an overnight trip to Taroko Gorge in eastern Taiwan.
We also made some commitments that begin in March. Winnie will expand her artistic medium options by taking an oil painting class, and I will be force fed the Chinese language for 4 hours a day each weekday. This should keep us busy
Due to moving costs and wardrobe refreshes, overall spending was above average this month.
All of the details of our expenses are shared below in various formats and depth. Questions? Please use the comments section to add to the conversation