The FBAR – One of the Joys of Keeping US Citizenship

I got an email reminder from my accountant this morning…. oh joy of joys, it is FBAR time. Just to remind everyone what this is it is a report required of all US citizens living abroad (commonly known as tax evading criminals). I reproduce his email below just so you can see what all is involved in that invasion of my privacy by the US Government…. The bolding is mine…

The Foreign Bank Account Report, or TDF 90-22.1 is due to be received by the Department of the Treasury no later than the 30th of June, 2013. Please remember that the FBAR requires you to present information about all non-US bank accounts, brokerage accounts or life insurance/pension insurance securities accounts in which you have a > 50% financial interest, or over which you have signature authority. This includes: own bank accounts, joint accounts with spouse (regardless of whether you file your spouse on the US return), accounts owned by companies you own > 50% of (including companies you own with your spouse), accounts in the name of your children or relatives where you have signature authority.

Furthermore, if you have signature authority over accounts owned by your employer, you will need to provide the Department of the Treasury the full name, address and US tax ID number, if any of your employer (no other information is required.)

I remind you that though the IRS currently has a policy of amnesty for late filing, they are permitted by law to assess penalties of $10.000-$50.000 for late or noncompliant submissions. The IRS has intensified its interest in foreign financial accounts over the last year with the rollout of FATCA legislation … you can find more information on the FBAR here: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/FAQs-Regarding-Report-of-Foreign-Bank-and-Financial-Accounts-(FBAR).

The problem is that there aren’t enough US citizens living overseas to influence anyone to change this but it really rankles me that my privacy is invaded and I am treated as a criminal… so much for my rights!!

irs_criminal_fence_need_240275

My Best Selling Book

I think people outside of the book publishing and writing business have little clue as to how it really works. I am going to tell you all what my best selling book is…. (drum roll)…..

Here it is….

book

Yes – it’s one of my business books. It has sold to date some 905 copies. Patrick and I are very pleased with its sales and the fact that it continues to sell every month.

My second best selling book is it’s companion – Trends in ETRM Software: A Primer with 670 sales and still selling.

Not far behind is Inner Journeys: Explorations of the Soul from Thoth.

I have a target for my new book – The Last Observer. It’s a real stretch. I’d like it to sell 3000 copies.

The fact is that very few books sell more than a few hundred copies. Those that do belong to a select group of writers who make all the money – Stephen King, Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling. The rest of us do it for love and maybe some remote dream that we make a break through into the big time (but that’s not likely to happen writing about software or the esoteric – so I do it for love).

If I took any of my books and thought about the hours of work and toil and then my revenues from that book I dread to think what the hourly rate would look like. Well below minimum wage! Writers are poorly paid in general and that’s a fact.

Weird Tales

Many moons ago I published my second book – Weird Tales: Otherworld Poetry. I self-published via the Amazon publisher Booksurge. Its a small book and it has barely sold more than 30 copies I reckon but then it is a poetry book! You see, everyone writes poetry and many of us also think our poems are the bees knees – me included! I have learned since 2006, when it was published, that poetry doesn’t sell very well. I think its because the poems that we write are personal. They have real meaning to us but perhaps not to others. Poems are our way to resolve pain, say what we truly feel and get our emotions on paper.

There are words
I could use to tell you
Exactly how I feel
But they have no meaning
For they are just words
Awkward sounds juxtaposed
Lacking translation
Losing their meaning.

(Just Words – p.28)

I find myself writing poetry when there is no other way to express myself. It can be love or pain (sometimes both at once), fear or rage at an injustice. Sometimes, they can express pure hatred.

I watched her face with interest
As she twisted the knife one last time
I don’t think you believed it even then
Pride was your wound
Infidelity her knife
She took you like a lamb to the slaughter

(Infidelity p.11)

I also used to write song lyrics (in fact, I wrote songs and even recorded one or two as a teenager – those are best left gathering dust methinks). Weird Tales was made up of lyrics and poems written from age 16 to 46. It was a collection of what I thought were my best efforts over a 30-year period.

I must be getting better at writing poetry because I published my second collection in 2012 via Lulu as Poems for the Little Room. It too has hardly been a best seller but then at Lulu’s prices I would be surprised if it was! This one is a full color effort with some photos by me and Gabriela thrown in for the sitting personage of your ‘little room’.

It’s funny but knowing that these collections barely sell I am a glutton for punishment because I feel like a third collection is on the horizon. Am I insane? Maybe but I do love to write…..

Buy Weird Tales: Otherworld poetry

(Don’t buy the Kindle version as it has formatting issues imo)

Buy – Poems for the Little Room:

Paperback
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

PDF or eBook (Great value at $4 or $0.99)
Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Back in Sales Mode!

I recently swapped the security of a quite fat monthly paycheck for the lifestyle of a business owner and entrepreneur. I partnered up with my long time buddy and business associate, Patrick Reames, who is based in Houston, TX in Commodity Technology Advisory. For the time being, I am working out of the spare room at home after all, all I need is a PC, phone and internet connection. I could, in fact, be located anywhere……..(there’s a thought!).

Working for yourself is great fun. You can be creative, pick your own hours, choose who to work with and what to do. The problem is that you have to generate cash too. That’s the tricky part. I have always been quite good at sales. If anything, I tend to oversell. Given time, we will do fine. The problem is that, when you first start out, you don’t have so much time. There are bills to be paid and so that reserve of cash gets frittered away surprisingly fast. Crunch time is coming and guess what, there is no back up plan! Sink or swim. It’s usually when I realize this that I get that sinking feeling in my stomach and start meditating on business success. I replaced one type of stress for another.

biz

On the other hand, there is an element of fun in taking on this risk. It’s a challenge. Can I be successful? My track record here is 100% and 100% yes so let’s hope it stays that way. Meanwhile, I need to go back to dialing for dollars…..

See ya later!

Tripping Down Memory Lane

The last few work days have seen me visiting innumerable websites of software vendors and service providers in the commodity trading and risk management space. Here I am sat in my apartment in Prague visiting the sites of all of the companies dotted all over the world and for 90% of these companies I have done some sort of business with them. Each site conjures up a whole bunch of memories going back 20+ years of people and places. It makes me feel somehow sad that so much time has passed and yet glad that I was lucky enough to visit these places and interact with many of these people.

I was just visiting the website of a company in Calgary, Alberta. I used to visit Calgary and Vancouver perhaps once per month at one point in my life. I enjoyed both cities sat out on the edge of the mountains with modern high rise city centers. Calgary’s climate was brutal in the winter but they have glass corridors connecting most of the buildings downtown so that you can walk indoors everywhere. It is called the plus15 and you can see the layout here. I was also always struck by the rather odd mixture of quaint British culture mixed with a very aggressive US culture. There really were department stores there that reminded me of Grace Brothers from ‘Are You Being Served?’. I also recall visiting a number of excellent new age stores in Calgary and that is where I bought one of my favorite books called The Zelator. I won’t mention the companies involved but their staff were always welcoming and personal and I really enjoyed visiting Calgary.

Calgary skyline 2012

Then there was Denver. The mile high city again on the edge of the mountains. I liked Denver too. I had a good business contact there who lived up in the mountains and he would invite me to his family home. Simply amazing place. Denver was also the site of my worst experience of being drunk but that’s another story I think. Suffice to say, altitude and alcohol don’t mix so good.

Other places I have fond memories of visiting include New York where I would also stay with a friend and his wife in their apartment overlooking the river – such a glorious view. Only place I ever had 9 meetings in one day starting with breakfast and ending with dinner!. Boise, Idaho too. I had a small client there at one time and visited a couple of times. Small town in the midst of amazing scenery and great fishing. Emeryville, California where I used to go once a month when with Sybase, Inc. occasionally staying the weekend for a trip to Nappa Valley! I didn’t much care for LA to be honest but I did make it to San Diego and that climate cannot be beaten. I sometimes really really miss Houston and the USA. I really do. So many friends there and my boys too.

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho

Denver

Denver

Emeryville, CA

Emeryville, CA

Of course, in Europe I have been lucky too to spend time in places like Barcelona, Nice, Geneva, Zurich, Paris, Amsterdam and other such places. At one time, I used to spend a week once per quarter at a chateau on the outskirts of Paris to give training courses in energy to other consultants. That place was luxury without a doubt with gold plated faucets…… Take a look at the place – Behoust it is called and back then, it was owned by Cap Gemini Sogeti.

Yep, its been a trip down memory lane and some darn good memories they were too….

A final thought. It’s funny but at the time I didn’t have a bloody clue how lucky I was to be visiting all these places and meeting all these amazing people that filled my life. And here I am sat in Prague taking it all for granted again…. though I do keep records of visits to places here at this blog.

Top of The Pops and Santa

When I was a boy TV’s had curtains and a strange silver dot that lasted for ages after you switched off. The only phone I was familiar with was a big black hard plastic thing in the hall with a rotary dialer in metal. Once, I picked it up and dialed a number at random marveling at that slow click, click, click sound it made as that rotary moved slowly back. Santa Claus answered and we had a great chat until my Mother found me and took the phone off me. Shame, I was just telling Santa what I wanted for Christmas too, My Mother told me I shouldn’t talk to strangers – I didn’t think Santa was a stranger!

gary

I remember the radio. It was a big black thing with a display that had a needle move across it. Periodically, it was marked with some kind of dot to show you the major stations. I recall that I liked the music then. Marianne Faithful, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Animals…. There really wasn’t that much technology to clutter the house with instead my Mother seemed to like having plants. Not sure why.

When I got a bit older, I was allowed to get out of bed on a Thursday night and sneak down the stairs to watch Top of the Pops. See, I had to go to bed with my younger brother and fool him into thinking I was sleeping before I was allowed back down. I fell in love with Sandy Shaw I remember and her bare feet. I wasn’t keen on the lass from Liverpool because I thought she had big front teeth. Poor Cilla! TOTPs always seemed to feature a creepy guy with white hair and a cigar. I didn’t like him. Now I know why.

Sandie SHAW

I recall reading the Beazer comic book too and that Christmas annual I got with Rupert the Bear. Santa was in that book and Rupert went to visit him. I told my Mother I could have done that too if she hadn’t of stopped our conversation. Oh well…

Press Announcement – The Last Observer: A Magical Battle for Reality by Dr. G. Michael Vasey now Available for Pre-Order

Prague, May 23rd, 2013, The Last Observer: A Magical Battle for Reality is Dr. Vasey’s ninth book and first fantasy thriller novel. Due to be published by Roundfire Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing on August 30th, 2013, it is now available to pre-order at amazon.com and other online booksellers. It features a foreword by Anthony Peake, an author of several best-selling books that focus on near-death experience, deja vu and the nature of reality.

The Last Observer is a compelling tale of magic, alternative realities, murder and conflict. An ordinary man is abruptly dragged into the middle of a violent struggle between black and white magicians who both desireto use his extraordinary powers of imagination and observation. He soon learns that reality is not at all what it seems to be before being called upon to play a decisive role in determining whose reality will prevail.

“Dennis Wheatley brought up to date with a liberal spicing of speculation about the nature of reality, quantum physics and parallel worlds. This thriller novel is written by a practising occultist and it shows in the authenticity of every page. Highly recommended,” said Mr. Herbie Brennan, the New York Times best-selling author of Whisperers: The Secret History of the Spirit World.

“Gary tells a classic tale of mystery and suspense but weaves within it a series of themes that would be at home in any modern physics text book. He masterfully uses his own extensive knowledge of modern magical rituals to create a tale that is both mysterious and intriguing. However the mystery soon gives way to something far more sinister and terrifying, a terror that explodes into a finale of epic proportions in which the fate of the universe itself is at stake. Once started this book cannot be put down and once finished you may just find yourself checking the shadows to catch a glimpse of the Lord of the Elements,” said Mr. Anthony Peake, Author of Is There Life After Death? The Extraordinary Science of What Happens When We Die and many other books

“The Last Observer is like the Devil Rides Out but on steroids. Magic and Science collide, dragging bookworm Stanley into a fast-paced adventure full of intriguing twists and turns and culminating in a battle over reality. Vasey combines ancient magic and quantum physics in a seamless picture of what reality might be and uses it as a theme to weave the devil of a story. It’s a gripping and thought provoking ride,” said Mr. Alan Richardson, Author of Magical Kabbalah and many other books.

“We all perceive reality differently, yet the evil Zeltan plans to control the universal consciousness. Because Stanley possesses a unique imagination, he is marked as another victim for the satanic tyrant. While fleeing from this threat, our innocent discovers his soul while Alison, dabbling in the occult, nearly loses hers. The author has created a convincing world of magic, quantum and mind-blowing ideas in which to set an endlessly surprising adventure. Along the way, enormous questions are being asked about how power should be used, whether it is scientific or magical,” said Mr. Gordon Strong, Author of Merlin: Master of Magic and many other books.

About Dr. G. Michael Vasey
Dr. Gary (G.) Michael Vasey writes extensively across a number of disparate areas in which he has a passionate interest. He is the author of over 200 articles and several books in the energy & Commodities industry, two books of poetry, and several books about magic and our ability to shape our reality. He now lives in Prague in the Czech Republic, but is British by birth.
His website (http://www.garymvasey.com) showcases his entire portfolio of writings across energy and commodities, poetry, the occult and esoteric, as well as articles about the Czech Republic.
He tweets at #GMVasey and can be contacted at gary@garymvasey.com

http://www.garymvasey.com

About Roundfire Books and John Hunt Publishing
Put simply, we publish great stories. Whether it’s literary or popular, a gentle tale or a pulsating thriller, the connecting theme in all Roundfire fiction titles is that once you pick them up you won’t want to put them down.
Over 1,000 authors from around the world have already published their books with John Hunt Publishing because we efficiently work with authors to discover, publish, and successfully market their new books.
http://www.roundfire-books.com