It’s amazing how terrifying it is to get an envelope with a return address “United States Internal Revenue Service.” Especially when you live in another country. My gut reaction: “Oh no, they know where to find me! I’m no longer safe!” The ironic thing is that I err on the side of being overly conscientious about such things, mostly to my own detriment since I sometimes stress and worry. That adage, “don’t sweat the small stuff” is the best advice I never take.
I was sure I had not done anything wrong (I hadn’t) and that the lovely company I had hired–based on their claims to specialize in expat and global tax issues–had done their job (they had). In fact, the envelope was simply confirmation of receipt of, and acceptance of, a piece of paper that had been filed on my behalf. But I still walked in a state of alert for six blocks, after picking up my mail, before my heart rate had returned to normal. That’s the amazing effect of the US government… even from this distance, capable of literally taking my breath away. And that’s without getting into politics, the presidential race, or anything even remotely inflammatory.